Practical Tips to Finding Freelance Content Writers
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Practical Tips to Finding Freelance Content Writers

Tips to finding freelance writers in an ocean of candidates

Content strategists reach out to freelancers when they’re juggling too many important projects and their full-time writer or writers are drowning.

Yet it’s not always easy to find a freelance content writer that best fits the job.

Why? There must be millions of freelance writers out there. The pool is enormous, and it’s overwhelming.

But not impossible. To find a freelance writer, you have to go where they go.

It’s similar to locating that little body of water in an African desert where all the animals converge to slake their thirst. (“Planet Earth” has been quite popular in our household lately.)

So here are a few oases where you’ll find plenty of freelance writers, and most likely quality writers.

1. Freelance Writers Den

Carol Tice has been running the Freelance Writers Den for years. It’s a place for freelance writers to learn the business, share tips and war stories, and get training on everything from writing case studies and white papers to landing pages. Freelancers pay a small monthly fee to be a part of the Den. Full disclosure: I’m a Den member and Carol Tice did not pay me to write this.

The Den is also a useful place for people like you, because you can browse writer profiles, search writer profiles based on the type of content you want, or even post a job there. And it’s free. All you have to do is set up an employer profile.

One of my clients found me through the Den, and it’s been a long-lasting relationship.

Here’s what the Hire a Writer page looks like:

Screen shot of Freelance Writers Den Hire a Writer page

 

After you create an employer profile, you can browse writer profiles based on key word and category. You can also do an advanced search, as seen below:

 

Freelance Writers Den screen shot for blog post on how to find freelance writers

The other good thing about the Den is you’re dealing with freelancers who are investing in their business. That means they take the job of freelancing seriously, everything from the content they produce to the contracts they sign.

My point? You’re more likely to find professionals through the Den.

2. Medium

Medium describes itself as a platform for “the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers and storytellers.” As a writer with a journalism background, I question the use of superlatives except in situations that can be proven.

However, Medium has a good mix of writers with all sorts of interests and niches who blog about the industries they serve or just about writing in general.

Using the search bar at the top, I looked for “freelance content writer” and up popped a few names and images of writers, like this:

Image of Medium search function on how to find freelance writers

 

From there I chose “More” next to “People” and  Medium displayed a list of freelance content writers:

 

Screen shot of Medium search results for blog post on how to find freelance writers

I performed similar searches for “freelance sports writer,” “freelance copywriter,” all with good results.

If you find a writer you like, you can follow that writer, just as you follow someone on LinkedIn, to see what they produce and determine whether you like their style or their opinions.

If you think it’s a good match, you can reach out to them via social media, their email address (if they provide it) or even via commenting on what they’ve written.

Now I’m wondering if I should be on Medium.

3. LinkedIn

Naturally, if you’re on LinkedIn, that’s an obvious place to search. I just did a search for “freelance content writer” and got these results:

Screen shot of LinkedIn search results for how to find freelance writers

The results appear to display with your closest connections first (such as second connections) and within your region. You can further distill results by adding your city, such as “freelance content writer Philadelphia.”

A word about content mills

The three platforms above are the ones I’m most familiar with and feel comfortable recommending.

However, you may have heard about Upwork and Fiverr. These are what are referred to in the freelance industry as content mills, where freelancers bid on jobs that already pay pretty bad, so it’s an experience I haven’t – quite deliberately – explored.

Yes, you can find freelancers on those sites (and you can look up the websites yourself), but all I can say is you get what you pay for.

4. Local search: Google

Google is so massive that I think the results are overwhelming for something like “freelance content writer” or “freelance sports writer.”

via GIPHY

It also requires that freelancers really know their SEO or take out an ad to show up on the first or even second page of search results.

The results skew to well-branded freelancers. For example, I looked up “white paper writer,” and the first page gave me one writer who had advertised (smart) and two others who ranked high because they’re white paper writing authorities. Which is maybe what you want with a white paper writer.

However, one way to refine results is to make it local. This is handy if you want to work with a writer in the same time zone or want to meet the writer in person.

For example, I searched for “freelance copywriter Dayton Ohio” and found three on the first page of results, scattered among the metadata descriptions for Indeed, Quora and Ziprecruiter. While the results aren’t pretty, they will give you more options than big brand writers.

5. Local search: professional associations

Another way to find writers is by tapping into regional professional associations. Here in San Diego, for example, we have the San Diego Press Club, the American Marketing Association San Diego Chapter,  and the San Diego Professional Editor’s Network (PEN), to name a few.

You would find writers (and editors) by looking at their resources pages or directory pages, if these are provided. Not every professional organization does this, but San Diego’s do. Here’s how the San Diego PEN Find an Editor page looks:

Screen shot of San Diego PEN website for blog post on how to find freelance writers

So, wherever you live, reach out to professional organizations and see if they offer resources like this. It could be a lot less overwhelming than dealing with Google Search.

6. Local search: referrals

via GIPHY

You go to Yelp to check on which restaurants or mechanics are good in a particular neighborhood.

You go to Facebook to ask your friends about the best phone coverage to buy.

Well, it’s not much different when asking for freelance writer referrals.

You want someone you can trust, and that often means hitting up  a friend for a recommendation.

Ask your contacts in your industry. Chances are, they’ll have heard of someone. It’s how I’ve gotten most of my business — through referrals.

Did I miss something?

Is there another place to find freelance writers that you’d like to share? If so, let me know. I’d love to hear it.

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Bonnie Nicholls
Bonnie Nicholls is a thought leadership content writer specializing in white papers, case studies, articles and blog posts. She supports industries such as health, energy, talent acquisition, leadership training and Agile/Scrum.