Article writing is inevitable. If you have a business online, you need to make sure that your website has contents to make it interesting and to add to your credibility. Without contents, your website will just be plain useless to others and not to mention yourself.
Having said that, even if article writing is crucial, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it yourself. In-fact, it’s highly advisable for you to outsource the articles since it’ll consume much of your time instead of running your business.
Instead of writing all the articles by yourself, I suggest that you hire a freelance writer instead. If you let someone else handle your article writing tasks, you can then focus your time on something more important, like running your business. You also won’t have to deal with the hassle of having writer’s block or doing research to make your article interesting.
You can leave it to your freelance writer and he/she will take care of it.
Sounds awesome right? The thing is, it’s that simple and easy IF (and this is a big IF) you have a competent and a reliable freelance writer. On the other hand, if you have an incompetent writer, you’ll end-up with tons of headache and a losing business.
That said, it’s important that you screen your online writer as best as you can. If you have no experience whatsoever in doing that, here’s a good way for you to go about it.
- Do a Skype Interview
Although their tasks only include writing, trust me it’d do you a lot of good if you do phone interviews as well. If the person the persons English speaking skill isn’t as good as you’d want it to be, you can bet that so is their writing style.
- Ask for sample write-ups that they made for their previous clients
Now this is somewhat a trick question. If they give you a sample of an article that they wrote for their previous client, you need to be a bit wary with the freelancer. It just goes without saying that the writer is giving out information that they shouldn’t be giving.
Although there’s a chance that they might have asked for permission from their client before showing you their article, it’s highly unlikely that the previous client would give a “yes” to that request. Businessmen wouldn’t really want their business secrets shown (number of keywords in an article,, psychology behind their article writing style, format, etc.) to others (I know I don’t). Others would go as far as having an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) so as to make sure that their business secrets are kept.
This technique helps determine if the freelance writer is likely to keep your secrets or ideas within your business or if he/she will share it with other clients.
- Ask them questions and have them answer it in 4 – 5 sentences
I do this during the Skype interview (We’re just chatting and not really in a phone call).
You can ask them about their day to day activities or anything under the sun. This is when you’ll gauge their writing style. If you find any grammatical errors or spelling errors in their reply, you need to tell them that you are taking note of it because this is part of the screening process.
If they still answer with several grammatical errors, then you’d know by then that you’re not chatting with the write freelancer.
After going through these steps, you should have a good idea about the freelancers capabilities. Another thing that you should take note of is how silent they are on your chat. For example… If you ask “How’s your day?” and they just answer “good”, that should be a bit of a red flag. If you then ask “Can you tell me about your writing experience?” and they just answer “I’ve been writing for x years.”, that’s another red flag.
It just goes without saying that if they aren’t as “talkative” (for the lack of a better word), chances are your article’s going to be very boring. There’s also a good possibility that that person isn’t really confident with his/her writing so he/she isn’t chatting so much to avoid having mistakes.
If you’ve been dealing with freelance writers for quite a while and you feel that you have some really good ideas to share on how to screen one, I urge you to share your tips so we can help those whose starting online. You can share your tips in the comments section below. The more people who’ll share, the better we can help others. Cheers!