How to Choose a Freelance Writer for Your Online Business

By: Grace Chen

With content reigning king over the internet, choosing the right freelance writer is important to building your online business throne. Akin to the HR decisions you make for your in-house employees, not all freelance writers are created equal. Finding the freelance writer that has synergies with your business is important to ensure that your content fully maximizes your company's revenue, branding, and exposure potential.

Evaluate your specific content needs

You should first consider two elements pertaining to your content before you begin your search for a freelance writer:

&bull Content Goals: What is the ultimate goal of the content you would like the writer to develop? Would you like sales copy that will convert each visitor into a paying customer? Or, would you like informative articles that will build your reputation of expertise? Are you seeking link-bait articles that will generate buzz in the social networks? Each type of content goal will require a different style and focus of writing, and it is important that you firmly establish your goals in order to find the best content writer for your project.

&bull Branding Tone: The value of branding cannot be underestimated, especially online where information flows with full transparency. If your branding portrays a fresh, hip style, then you want to ensure that your content is in line with that strategy. On the other hand, if your positioning is based upon conservative professionalism, it requires a different type of style and voice for branding congruency.

Important freelance writer elements to consider

Once you have your content goals and branding tone in mind, then you are ready to begin selecting an appropriate freelance writer. As in most industries, freelance writers have specialties. Some may focus on editorial or travel writing, while others are specialized in SEO web content. There are a myriad of freelance writers from whom to choose, and the key is narrowing down which ones have writing expertise that fit your customized needs.

&bull Writing Niche: If the purpose of your content is to promote and enhance your website, then it is important to select an article writer who understands the fine line between SEO and great writing. Although you can always hire a "SEO expert" to go into the content to make the necessary revisions, choosing a freelance writer who is versed in SEO will ensure that the content is not only great for the search bots, but also eloquent for the humans from the very beginning.

&bull Copyright Considerations: Keep in mind that not all writers will release the copyright of the content to you. For many freelance writers, they keep the rights of the content, and you are limited in the avenues and number of times you can publish the article. If you would like to keep the copyright of your content (which is a smart business move), then you should find an article writer who will automatically give you the rights to the content written on your behalf.

&bull Non-Disclosure Agreements: A large portion of freelance writers will require that their name is credited with the development of their articles, as this is standard practice in the journalism and editorial fields. However, if you would like to publish the articles under your name - which is an intelligent strategy when you are building expertise and credibility in your industry - then it is important to find a content writer who is happy to give you the "credit." In addition, the freelance writer should be comfortable with a non-disclosure understanding; the fact that you hired a ghost-writer should not be divulged to the public.

&bull Portfolios and Duplicate Content: In the writing world, it is common for article writers to publish the writing samples they crafted for clients. However, if your media outlet is online, this could be detrimental to your website. Keep in mind that the search engines will penalize your website's rankings for duplicate content. Therefore, even if a freelance writer publishes your articles as "samples," the search engines will not be able to discern the difference, and instead, reprimand your SERPs.

&bull Writing Style: Choosing a freelance writer with the right style and tone for your content is important for your brand identity. Whereas some content writers may have a casual, off-the-cuff style, while others have an esoteric tone, finding the right balance between friendly and professional bodes best for engaging most target audiences.

Grow your online presence with content

Capitalizing upon powerful content is the key to unleashing the potential of your online business. After you ascertain your content needs, choosing a synergistic freelance writer gives your company a competitive edge against the rest.

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