How to Hire a Content Writer in 2023: The Complete Guide

Need fresh, compelling content but don’t have the time or skills to create it yourself? Hiring a talented content writer for your business is the solution.

But recruiting the right content marketing talent requires strategy and diligence. You want a writer aligned with your business goals who consistently publishes high-performing work.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk through proven tips for hiring exceptional content writers to take your content creation to the next level. Let’s dive in!

Define Your Content Marketing Goals

Before starting the hiring process, clearly define your goals for leveraging content. This focuses the search on writers who best align with desired outcomes.

Some example content marketing goals:

  • Generate more organic website traffic
  • Build email newsletter subscribers
  • Increase brand awareness through thought leadership
  • Convert leads through the sales funnel
  • Promote specific products and offers
  • Engage social media followers

With clear goals outlined, you can better assess candidate alignment and draft an effective creative brief to inform their work.

Determine Content Types Needed

What specific types of writing skill sets are needed to support your goals?

Some examples:

  • Blog articles
  • Social media posts
  • Video scripts
  • Website pages
  • Email newsletters
  • White papers
  • Ebooks
  • Sales letters
  • Copywriting
  • Case studies

Hiring one writer well-versed in your required content formats is ideal. But you may need multiple specialists. Define must-have skills upfront.

Assess Your Budget

Factor in your available budget for hiring a freelance vs. full-time writer or agency before beginning the search. Rates vary based on:

  • Writer experience level
  • Your niche complexity
  • Types of content required
  • Ongoing volume needs
  • Location of talent

Entry-level writers charge $30-$50 per hour, while expert freelancers command $100+ hourly rates. Agencies cost between $5,000-$20,000+ per month. Be clear on budget so expectations align.

Where to Find Writers

Many options exist for connecting with skilled content writers. Places to look include:

  • Freelance job boards like Upwork, Fiverr and Flexjobs
  • Freelancer platforms like Scripted and Contena
  • LinkedIn profiles using advanced search filters
  • Specialist agencies like Brafton and Cultivative
  • Content networks like Skyword and Scripted
  • Referrals from colleagues, partners and clients

Both specialized agency and independent freelancer models have pros and cons to weigh. Leverage personal referrals whenever possible.

Elements of a Strong Writer Job Posting

Creating an effective written job post sets you up for better candidates by communicating key details upfront:


Briefly explain your business, target audience, voice, and what you’re looking for in a writer.

Example Content

Share 2-3 example pieces of existing content that exemplify your brand style to give writers a feel for deliverables.

Goals and Objectives

Outline your key content marketing goals andhow the role contributes, like increasing organic traffic or email subscribers.

Content Types and Topics

List the specific deliverabletypes you need help with, like blog posts, social media, emails, landing pages, etc. Also note content topics and angles if available.


Specify must-have writer qualificationslike years of experience, specific content skills, software fluency, educational background etc.


Provide details like contract length, frequencyof work, content length, formatting, potential volume or workload, etc.

Application Instructions

Instruct candidates how to apply, like with a portfolio, past writing samples, references, or a custom test piece.

The more detail you provide upfront, the better writers can assess fit and craft tailored pitches.

Interviewing and Vetting Writers

Once you receive applications, how do you vet candidates for fit? Consider aspects like:

  • Portfolio – Review past published writing samples across formats similar to what you need. Look for consistency.
  • Subject Expertise – Gauge their existing knowledge of your niche based on background and content samples.
  • Writing Process – Discuss their typical workflow from research to outlines to drafting. Look for structure.
  • Work Ethic – Get a feel for timeliness, organization, communication, and accountability. Check for red flags.
  • Cultural Fit – Ensure clear alignment with your brand voice, style, values, vision, and target audience perspective.
  • Test Assignments – Give a paid test piece based on your creative brief to assess their capabilities in action.

Taking the time upfront to thoroughly vet candidates saves much back-and-forth later. Interview multiple finalists.

Structuring the Deal

Once you’ve selected your writer, discuss expected working arrangements:

  • Payment terms – Hourly or per word rate, payment frequency, invoicing, etc.
  • Volume expectations – Minimum or maximum weekly writing workload.
  • Editing process – Stages of editing, revision limits, sign off etc.
  • Content formatting – Tools used and final formatting like Word documents.
  • Deadlines – Typical turnaround time from assignment to deadline. Rush fees for expedited work.
  • Exclusivity – Whether they can write for your competitors. Be reasonable.
  • Intellectual property – Who owns the rights to the created content.
  • Probationary period – 90-day ramp up period before longer commitments.

Clarifying expectations upfront establishes trust and accountability on both sides. Sign an agreement or contract.

Managing the Writer Relationship

Once your writer is onboarded, how do you set them up for success?

Provide a creative brief – Supply focus areas, guidelines, voice, types of content needed.

Share past examples – Show them your existing best content samples to learn from.

Introduce them – Let team members meet the writer to cultivate rapport.

Give context – Provide the big picture strategy behind requested content whenever possible.

Maintain open communication – Quickly address any issues transparently as they arise.

Leave constructive feedback – Give thoughtful critiques to help them improve.

Check in regularly – Set up recurring calls or meetings to discuss progress and optimization.

Recognize strong work – When they produce exceptional content, let them know it’s appreciated.

With good management, a distributed content team performs just as well as an in-house one.

Optimizing the Relationship Over Time

Once a writer has ramped up, look for ways to streamline and heighten collaboration:

Provide templates – Supply outlines and reusable frameworks to speed up drafting for common content types.

Assign a point editor – Appoint 1-2 team members to handle reviewing and providing feedback.

Discuss optimization – Regularly review performance data and adjust strategy together.

Cross-train – Help great writers learn higher value skills like SEO keywords, link building outreach, etc.

Increase scope – Gradually add more content types like video marketing as trust builds.

Spot trouble signs – Note drops in quality, missed deadlines, lack of communication for early resolution.

Reward stellar work – Provide bonuses, raises, testimonials and other benefits for consistently amazing work.

Optimizing the relationship leads to higher performance, lower attrition, greater willingness to go the extra mile, and cost savings.

Key Takeaways

  • Clearly define your content marketing goals and required types of writing upfront.
  • Research writer options across freelancing platforms, job boards, agencies, and referrals.
  • Craft a compelling written job posting outlining requirements, logistics, and application instructions.
  • Interview shortlisted candidates extensively, reviewing portfolios and completed test pieces.
  • Onboard the writer with a thorough creative brief and examples of top performing content.
  • Maintain open communication and provide constructive feedback during the relationship.
  • Continuously monitor content performance data and optimize processes for efficiency.

Following a strategic hiring process minimizes churn and optimizes long-term content costs and results.

The investment into recruiting and managing top writing talent pays huge dividends through improved content quality and volumes over time.

Hopefully these tips help you find and work successfully with exceptional content writers and take your content strategy to the next level. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I hire affordable freelance writers?

Upwork, Fiverr, and Contena offer access to affordable international talent charging $20-$50 per hour on average. Focus on consistent high-performers.

Should I hire one writer or multiple writers?

Hiring one core writer allows stronger rapport, content cohesion, and topical mastery. But you may need multiple specialists for different formats.

What qualifications should I look for in a writer?

Proven skills producing the types of content you need, experience in your niche, work samples demonstrating capability, strong references, and a portfolio showing consistency.

What monthly budget should I allocate to a writer?

For part-time freelancing help, budget $1,000-$3,000 per month. For agencies producing more volume, $5,000-$15,000 per month. Factor in business growth goals and current traffic.

How do I motivate my writer for peak performance?

Provide bonuses for benchmarks hit, give bylined contributor credit, regularly recognize strong work, cultivate personal rapport, offer learning opportunities, and convey strategic context for content.

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