Pros & Cons of Hiring an Independent Freelance Writer
Freelancer writer and freelance writing jobs are a dime a dozen. Should you use an independent freelance hire instead of established freelance platforms? Freelance writers battle between being hungry for work and wanting to get paid their worth. There are more options than you might realize when hiring freelance help.
The Apple Is Tempting, Isn’t It?
Some platforms lower the lowest hanging fruit by charting rock-bottom prices, but do you ever wonder what quality you are getting? What’s the value of your time having to state things like “No Plagiarism!” and write out endless basic rules any good writer would know inherently. How much time are you spending on revisions? How often do you get a good article back only to have three more that aren’t consistent with the first one? Add that value to the freelance budget and you can get better work more consistently.
You might not have a budget for a full-blown marketing or PR company. Maybe you just need a little help, but not the whole line item that’s always up for discussion when budget talks come.
How Can a Freelancer Help Your Business?
Freelancers come from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets. To say I’m a “freelancer” doesn’t really help you understand what I can do for you. Freelance writers are one of the top search queries, but there is more to freelancing than just writing.
- Writing: Writing Blogs, News Releases, News Articles, Website Landing Pages, YouTube Scripts, Podcast Scripts, and Social Media Posts. If it can be written, a good freelance writer can do it.
- Video: If you don’t need the production-house level quality, you’d be surprised at the quality you can get from a freelance editor. A good editor is also going to help you make SEO-rich content to make more than the video get the attention of the search engines and algorithms.
- Social Media: Do you wish you had more time for social media posts and engagement? Do you still dismiss TikTok as something for half-naked teenagers? Whether you want to be better with the channels you don’t have or establish one in a new space, three are freelance hires to help you.
- Media Relations: There are many journalists who are looking for the next step of their career and can tell you exactly what resonates in newsrooms. You can learn how stories are pitched and what gets approved and what gets flagged as spam, never to be seen again. We also have a million “real” connections (meaning the people who can make $#it happen) in newsrooms across the country. You’ll never get a hyper-local media list faster than asking a journalist.
- Memes/Graphics/Photos: Everyone is an artist these days, and you can find hungry freelancers who will go to the ends of the earth to earn your business and design perfectly what you want. We also know exactly what photos are in the public domain or not as risk of a copyright claim down the road. We would NEVER just take a Google Image and call it legit.
- System Knowledge: We’ve had to use several CMSs throughout our careers, and we can learn new programs quickly. Your website is not going to be the one that stumps us.
- Podcasting: Do you want to get into the Podcast landscape but have no idea how to start? Freelancers do. From experts to part-time podcasters, there’s someone out there to guide you at your price point.
Pros of Hiring an Independent Freelancer
There are several great content production platforms out there and I work for a few of them, so this isn’t meant to negate the value they bring. Many ban you from being able to contact the freelancer outside of the platform, which makes sense. If you do that, they are losing money. If you get caught, the freelancer could be kicked off the platform and lose money while you could be banned from the platform too.
Here’s why an independent freelancer might be right for you:
- Simplicity: Maybe you don’t want 3-5 layers of people from one organization dealing with your content. If you find a good independent freelancer, you’re dealing with one person. No mixed messages. No bad game of telephone. You are speaking to the creator themselves.
- Hunger: Especially experienced writers who are newer to freelancing, such as myself, are very hungry to earn new business. They typically won’t nickel and dime every phone call and email exchange. If they don’t make you happy, they risk not getting paid and they’ll go above and beyond to earn your business.
- Value: You might find an independent freelancer is a better value because you aren’t paying for several levels of guidance. Did you know on some platforms the writing price is then slashed by a platform fee? I once had a great-looking job for $350 that I accepted. That price was actually $256 after the platform fee.
- Competition: You aren’t competing against 100 writers begging for your work at rock bottom prices. You can get to know one person who is skilled at their role and can be custom-tailored to always write or produce content for you. There’s no worry about 10 different writers with varying skill levels taking on similar stories.
- Growth: On writing platforms, a great writer might be great at other things, but the platform limits the “upsells” the writer wants to give you. You might not know what you don’t know. Giving a writer or creator the freedom to pitch ideas is something I long for the platforms to include, but as a writer, I had little to no client contact. I have to go through 1 to 3 layers of people and hope the message gets across.
- Transparency: Since we can’t get to know you as a person, business, or organization through the platforms, we can’t send you a link to our websites where you can see our work. That breaks the “you can’t know who I am” rule. When we’re ghostwriting, we don’t always have the opportunity to share the links we’ve written since we wrote away the copyright when we submitted the story. An independent freelancer can clearly show you what they’ve done with full identity blazing.
Red Flags about Hiring an Independent Freelancer
It’s a little risky to hire someone you don’t know who just has a LinkedIn Profile selling themselves as “Freelance Hire”, as I do. Some other risks:
Ghosting: Since the relationship starts between just two people, anyone can ghost anyone at any time. I once spent three hours on the phone with a potential client and it seemed like we were making a deal. The last exchange was setting up an interview to help with the client’s bio. I never heard from her again. Ghosting can go both ways, so through a writing platform if one writer ghosts, another is on deck.
- Experience: Writers are ranked in each platform a certain way, so if you want an expert technical writer there’s a pot of people for that. If you want to charge two cents a word, there’s a pot of people for that. If you need someone who will require no revisions and excellent command of the written word and dedication to Hemingway, there’s a pot of people for that.
- Organization: If you have 100 stories that need to be written, dealing with one person won’t get the content you want on time in most cases. However, I have a client who liked my work so much that I got the whole project and it’s going to be thousands of articles in the end. Thousands of GOOD works with consistent branding and SEO optimization, not just 30 writers picking up stories here and there.
- You Like Layers: Maybe you like that there are layers of management and approval processes before the content gets to you. Maybe you don’t want to work directly with a writer who might not have the skills of a strategist.
- Deadlines: You need content on deadline, and you know platforms are going to hold writers to task. If a writer misses a deadline or asks for too many extensions, they can get punished on the platforms. You might just have too much content for one person.
- Cut the Drama: If you just really don’t like a writer, you save the awkwardness of telling them or the rudeness of ghosting. You can tell a decision-maker why you don’t like someone and have a middle person to deal with the conflict.
- Set Pay: You have set the amount you are going to spend and don’t have to negotiate with each and every writing project. If your favorite writer ups their rates, there’s another writer waiting to fill the gap.
In the spirit of things like “Small Business Saturday,” I would ask you to consider using an independent freelancer for a project. You will be getting a person as dedicated to your business as an employee without that pesky health insurance and 401K.
How do you explore this option without wasting anyone’s time?
- Free Consultation: Ask for a free 30 minute meeting to talk about what you want from a freelancer to see if there’s a fit
- Ask for a Sample: You can ask for a sample of work the person has done or you can assign a 250-word article within your brand as a test article. You could ask for this for free, but offer to pay a little bit for their time if you can. $25 would be great.
- Ask for a Pitch: You can ask a freelancer to write a 250 word pitch of why they would be a good fit for you. You’ll be able to see what kind of research they do on your company and footprint across the digital landscape. You’ll only have 250 words to read and not a dissertation.
If you’re looking for a new freelancer for any landscape, I’d ask you to consider me. If I am not a good fit I probably know someone who is. I’m available around the clock, seven days a week, and I work with some international clients so I can adapt to any time zone.
I love telling stories and creating content. I spend two days a month educating myself on best practices and advancing in everything from SEO to algorithms. I have all the editing, SEO, graphic, and writing software and memberships to make your content stand out. I’m also relentlessly committed to your satisfaction.