To find the best possible writers, you need to look for them on the right sites. Here are some of my favorite sites for nabbing quality writers at affordable prices.
Craigslist for Hiring Writers
Craigslist is great for finding people who want to earn some extra money on side jobs. The audience for Craigslist includes many people who are overeducated and underemployed, which is a perfect combination for finding possible writers. Go to the frontpage of Craigslist and find the writing gigs section in the lower right hand corner:
Here’s a pro tip: since you’re hiring someone who could be anywhere, choose a relatively large city that has a lower cost of living. Houston, Cleveland, Phoenix and Portland would be good examples. That can help your budget as you would be paying less for relatively the same talent level. Also note that Craigslist has a mechanism where your ads can be flagged and taken down. To help prevent this, you need to come across as a professional in your Craigslist ad. List the purpose of your company (“we’re a publishing company seeking writers to contribute on the subject of …”) and how they will get paid (Paypal is a popular method that many people will already be setup with). Also offer them a reference for future jobs if you do hire them, which gives them a reason to want to work with you.
Freelance Sites for Hiring Writers – Why Elance beats Odesk
Elance tends to attract better writing clients for one simple reason: in order to apply for a job, they have to pay. This obviously prevents spamming, the type of which happens on Odesk quite frequently.
You’ll only get people bidding on your job that really feel they can do it well because they’re paying to post on your job ad . Keep in mind that the minimum bid on eLance is $25, so you need to make sure that you’re able to pay at least $25 per project.
Specialist Writers – Forums
Forums are a great place to find writers who are really knowledgable in a narrow subject area. Someone who is a prolific poster on a forum (for example, a forum on classical music) probably has an in depth knowledge on the topic and also some free time (what else explains how someone is able to post on a forum multiple times throughout the day). Private message them and ask if they would be willing to take on a paid writing assignment researching something that they obviously love to talk about.
Get a Writing Sample First
A writing sample request is important in many ways.
- You should request a writing sample that is tailored to your niche or subject matter. This prevents them from sending in something that has just been laying around on their hard drive. Some writers can be good writers without necessarily being good for your niche, so make sure you like how they write on your specific topic.
- A writing sample is a great way to pre-qualify your writers. You want to hire detail-oriented people, so place something like the following somewhere in your job description, “Make sure to reply with these words in your subject (Your phrase)” . If they don’t reply with “Your phrase” in the subject title of their email response, you can immediately eliminate them because they’re not very detail oriented.
- Check the writing sample for plagiarism (can use the free checker at CopyScape.com). If you ask for a 200 word writing sample and it’s 50% plagiarized, then you can obviously cross that person off your list.
Offer them something like $4.00 for every 400 word article they write for you. Tell them that you will send them outlines to help speed the writing process, and that they should be able to churn out these articles in 15-20 minutes of time (which equates to $12 – $16 / hour).