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freelance writers

The #1 Way (Seriously) to Hire a Freelance Content Writer

  • September 26, 2015

About the author

Ryan Stewart

I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's BEST internet marketer. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate.

There’s a million places to find freelance writers – but it’s really great ones.

I’m not talking about good ones, I mean “holy shit that was great“, great. And hey, don’t take this the wrong way writers,  I’m not picking on you.

I freelance write too. I can write about marketing until the cows came home but … fashion? I mean, I could write you a good article, but it wouldn’t be great.

The difference between good and great is passion.

The best content writers on the planet are the ones that love what they do so much, they do it for free.


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How can you find these writers?

BuzzSumo – http://buzzsumo.com

Just type in your keyword and click through.



Blogger Networks

Not freelance networks, but blogger networks.

I’ve found them using Google search operators:

I love finding bloggers through Meetups because you’ll find them in bunches, or “blogger networks”.

Blogger networks are different because it’s a group of like minded individuals that team up to help market their blogs.

I like working with bloggers in these networks because if you’re willing to take the time to meet others in person, I know you care. Like Apk Ticket


Yeah, I joined the network.

SIDENOTE: If you own a business, and you’re serious about growth, you should really look into Meetups.

And I don’t mean show up to them – I mean you should start or cofound one with colleagues.

Do not ever underestimate the power of building a quality community.

But I digress…


How can you evaluate these writers?

First, obviously read their writing

Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, style and grammar can be taught. Look at the context of their post – check to see if what they’re doing is a lifestyle, or just a blog.

Let’s put this in the context of CrossFit. Say you’ve got a client and you need to create content for their blog, rewrite their web copy, services pages, etc.

You don’t want a writer who needs to Google what a squat is. You want someone that can write you 5,000 words on what a squat is because the fact is, they were going to do it on their own blog anyways.


Unlike grammar, passion and unique subject matter knowledge can’t be taught.

I mean, take this article for example – how many blog posts are out there that teach you how to hire a content writer (use eLance, iWriter, blah, blah, blah). I live and breathe marketing and because of that, I’m able to provide a unique take on things. I might be an arrogant ass, but I care. I genuinely want to help you guys succeed – this is reflected in everything I publish.

The point is, the opportunities are endless. There’s no end to passionate bloggers in this world, trust me, and they have them in every vertical.


Second, check out their web presence

I have a mini checklist I have my team run through:

  • Are they active on social media? Which ones?
  • Are their accounts well curated (nice images, intro text, not too many links, etc)?
  • Do their social media accounts align with the content they create? Is their content a lifestyle or just a blog?
  • Do they write for other sites as well?



If a blogger has a large social following, it’s a plus, but you’ll also be paying a lot more for their services.

I like to stick to bloggers with smaller followings that put time and effort in curating their accounts.

Oh, and if they write for other sites, it’s a HUGE (gigantic, massive) bonus.


Guest blogging links.


How can you work with these writers?

Send them a nice email.


Das it.

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Comments ( 20 )

  • Paul Says
    8 years ago

    Great piece Ryan. I’ve found writers in similar ways but hadn’t thought of the ways you mention. Would love to hear your thoughts on strategies when it comes to salaries. Do you offer them a rate per article straight up (and if so, do you go for low or just fair rates) or do you ask them what they want to earn?

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    8 years ago

    I let them give me a quote. I believe in paying people what they want. If it’s out of the budget I’ll see if they’re willing to come down or if there’s anything I can do to help them out.

  • Paul Says
    8 years ago

    Thanks. In my experience low-balling can also work well because these are passionate people and can be really happy if they receive any money at all for their writing, but I’m going to use your tactic as well. Keep up the excellent writing!

  • Anna Butler Says
    8 years ago

    Finding someone who’s passionate about food, or health, or travel is just fine and dandy… but what if your client does tax audits, or waste-water treatment systems, or funerals, or paddock fencing? You might be hard pressed to find someone with a burning passion for these less glamorous topics.

    A truly great writer is someone who isn’t just reflecting their OWN passion, but can identify what point will resonate with the READER. And sometimes that’s not passion. Sometimes that’s tapping into a reader’s need to belong, or feel safe, or feel good about who they are.

    It doesn’t actually matter if most people don’t read your post in it’s entirety if those people aren’t your audience. It’s more important to capture the attention of your target market and understand what’s required to convert them from a reader to a buyer (or whatever other outcome you want from your articles – because you shouldn’t be writing them with no defined outcome in mind).

    A truly GREAT writer doesn’t need to be personally invested to do this. They simply need to understand how to connect with your intended audience… how to identify their triggers and hit the right notes to convert them from a reader to a consumer.

    Sure… a personal interest is a bonus, but you’re not a great writer if that’s ALL you’ve got.

  • Syed Farhan Raza Says
    8 years ago

    Alright, This is another great piece by Ryan I am truly blown away with. Ahref’s content explorer feature shows the top shared pieces on social media and it might do it too.

  • Luke Fitzpatrick Says
    8 years ago

    Great post Ryan. It’s actually quite hard to find a talented / passionate blogger. Nice tips.

  • Zuhair Sharif Says
    7 years ago

    Just to add in “search for niche bloggers,” one of the best search term that helped me looks like this
    Travel blog inurl:about-me

    i hope this helps you too

  • Mick Fairless Says
    7 years ago

    Great article, my advertising business needs copywriters in all manner of industry sectors – THANK YOU!

    P.S. – the “lycra” image you used is of a chap from UK TV about 30 years ago, he was called Mr Motivator and did a five minute exercise slot on breakfast TV every week day. Glad to see he is still making people smile across the world. He never took himself too seriously and still looks in good shape today!

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    youre welcome mick! thanks for commenting

  • Dale Says
    7 years ago

    Mr Motivator…nice picture and a nicer read. Thanks Ryan

  • Faye Graham Says
    7 years ago

    Insightful Post here Ryan. As a freelance copywriter I feel what gives me the edge over other writers is my capacity for empathy – to envisage what the audience really needs, enabling me to create content that really speaks to its target audience and feels personal. Having said that – because I’m passionate and often niche in my writing, for this reason I struggle to get onto the radar of companies who require a steady stream of work rather than a one-off piece. How would you suggest I combat this?


  • radhe Says
    6 years ago

    We are consuming about 100 articles a day from different levels of writers (for SEO, guest posting, putting on our own blogs and highly researched product review articles).

    Few insights as a client –

    1. When we pay per word, there is certain lack of accountability in the content and more often would seem like the words were put together just for the sake of meeting the content word count.

    2. When we pay per article, we sometimes feel like the content could have been explained a bit better but since it was per article project it was cut short. .

    After dealing with the confusion for few months here is what we came up with –

    Pay per article, where the price depends on the range of words.

    Lets say from 750-1000 words $XX , from 1000-1500 words XX and so on.

    This way, the writer doesn’t stuff words and have room for putting only the words needed while still getting fairly paid for the effort and the quality is maintained for the sake of long term relationships and bulk work.

  • Matrix Sniper Says
    4 years ago

    very nice article. I like the article very much.

  • Valerio Says
    3 years ago

    Hey Ryan! Seen your face around.

    Loved this (and Buzzsumo!). Found your piece using Ahrefs. Really enjoy your writing style.


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