8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Blog Writer

We all know that blogging for your business is important. It positions you as a helpful resource to potential customers and improves your SEO. Studies have shown that businesses that blog generate 126% more leads than businesses that don’t blog. Many business owners struggle to find time to write their own blog posts and some even hire freelance writers.

Writing a blog yourself is the best option, but if you choose to have someone do it for you, there are certain things to consider before entering into this type of business agreement. Here are 8 questions that you should ask before hiring a freelance writer or blogger for your business blog.

question to ask freelance writer

1. What is included in the cost of the service?

Just like working with a company, when hiring a freelance writer for your blog, make sure you know what you’re paying for. Ask what is included in the cost of the blog writing service. Common things to ask about include:

  • Length of the blog post or article – Aim for anywhere between 500-2,500 words depending on the topic.
  • Keywords for SEO – Will the writer come up with keywords or are you expected to?
  • Industry terms - Does the writer need a list of industry terms to include in the blog post?
  • Photos – Who will provide the photos for the blog posts?
  • Research - If a writer has to research a topic, is that included in the cost or additional?
  • Links - Will the writer include outside links to relevant content?

2. Do you have examples of your work/references?

Before hiring a freelance writer for your blog, make sure to read some of their work. This might include talking to references or reading reviews from others who have worked with the writer in the past.

If you got the name of the freelance writer through a word of mouth referral from someone you trust, this question might not be necessary. If you’re looking for a freelance blogger online, you can find feedback from a website like Elance or Upwork—these websites have a review system in place.

3. What is the turnaround time?

Depending on your content and marketing calendar, you may need certain blog posts written before specific dates. Set a reasonable timeline for the completion of the work. Confirm the timeline with the freelance writer in writing so that there isn’t a misunderstanding. If there is confusion, you have a written record of what was discussed.

A reasonable turnaround time may be anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks depending on your needs and the writer’s availability. Ask the blogger if the turnaround time increases for multiple drafts. If you request edits or another draft of the post, find out ahead of time if the revisions or edits will be delivered in the original time frame. This is especially important if you’re posting time-sensitive or time-relevant blog posts and content.

4. How many drafts are provided?

Drafts come up when you’re working with a copywriter or freelance writer. Sometimes the tone or the idea of what is written takes a few tries to get it right. That’s normal, especially when you’re working with a new writer for your business blog.

Find out how many drafts are included in the price so that you know what to expect. Individual professionals are charging for the time it takes to do something. It is reasonable for there to be a few drafts included in the price with an additional charge for extra drafts.

5. Is there anything you need from me?

Ask any freelance writer what they need from you before you hire them. Depending on the assignment and your industry, writers might require background information, photos or pictures, keywords for SEO, or links to include in the blog posts.

Asking the writer what they need from you will help you determine how much of a time saver hiring someone will be. If a writer needs a lot of background information or an extensive outline to write the post, it might be worth saving your money and writing the post yourself.

6. Who will be the named author?

Are you working with a freelance writer who wants credit for their work or a ghostwriter? Some writers may want their name included on the work that they provide. Others are happy to have you post the blog under your own name. Discuss this to make sure that it is clear who will be cited as the author of the work.

7. Who owns the work?

Any content on your website should be owned by you (unless otherwise noted) under the copyright on your site.  If you’re working with a freelance writer or copywriter, make sure to ask about ownership.

Ownership is different than authorship and includes rights to reproduction and syndication. Make sure that you own the blog posts if it’s important to you. If you’re providing industry knowledge or thought leadership, you should own all of the content that is written for you from the blogger or freelance writer. This also means that you can control where it is published.

Some copywriters will use the work they did for you as part of their portfolio. This is common practice, but make sure you discuss this in advance and let them know if you don’t want the work written for you to be published elsewhere.

8. How will I pay you?

With any business relationship, it is essential to determine how you will pay a freelance writer. The most secure way to set up payment is through PayPal or a similar online payment system. Keep track of invoices and payments in a spreadsheet so that you can stay on top of paying the freelance writer for their work.

Websites like as Elance or Upwork have their own payment process for you to pay freelance writers. If you like having a third party to work through, finding a freelance writer through one of these websites might be the best option for you.

Wrapping it up

Before hiring a freelance writer for your business blog, make sure that you know what you’re getting. Setting expectations will keep both parties in a business relationship happy. Like you, freelance writers are business owners trying to make living, so treat them like you would any other business relationship by asking questions so you can make an informed decision and get what you need.

7 Responses to “8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Blog Writer”

  1. Exceptional questions! As a freelance writer and content marketing service provider, I use many of these questions for hiring members of my team and I am absolutely going to create content to answer these questions on my own website.

    Reply
  2. Though I’m a freelance writer, this article was very interesting for me. Now I know what questions should I expect. Actually, these questions should be solved either by the client or by the writer. Everything should be set up, only in this case both will be on the safe side. I’ll remember these questions and if the client won’t ask me, I’ll ask them myself. Thanks

    Reply
    • Emily Weisberg

      Thanks for your comment, Helen. Yes, these questions are good for either a business owner or a freelance writer to ask. It’s important to carve out expectations for any business relationship so if you’re not being asked, definitely ask these questions yourself. Knowing all of the answer will keep both you and your clients happy!

      Reply
  3. Great post, all these question need to be answered before getting to work. One more question that has to be answered in the question about revisions and remarks. How much time the client has to to read the work and make corrections and approve. And will the revisions be free or for additional fee. I know it from my own experience, the work was done but there was a huge problem with remarks(

    Reply
    • Emily Weisberg

      Good point, Berry. I touched on that in the drafts section, but you’re right, it’s important to lay out how small revisions and edits will be completed. Some might consider a small edit a “draft” so it’s good to set expectations up front. Thanks for your comment. -Emily

      Reply
  4. Was really a helpful read. I didn’t really know what to ask while interview a candidate on skype and so I quickly searched google and happened to stumble upon your site. I asked each question as though I know what I was talking about when I don’t. Thanks to this article. The interview didn’t end up awkward.

    Reply
    • Emily Weisberg

      Thanks for your comment Jeremiah! I’m glad to hear that the interview went well. It’s so important to set expectations for both parties in order to facilitate a strong working relationship. I hope your freelancer needs were met!

      Reply

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