I am amazed by the sheer number of services devoted to helping you find the right freelancer. The only thing more surprising is that there are enough freelancers to support all these platforms. I suppose this was inevitable in the age of #sidehustle. But as someone who works with freelancers every day, I can tell you that they are not all created equal.
For every seasoned writer with a network of good sources, respect for deadlines, and a portfolio filled with good writing there is someone who can’t meet a deadline to save their lives, turns in sloppy work that needs countless revisions, doesn’t understand plagiarism, or doesn’t understand the subject matter (and doesn’t do their homework to learn about it). And the only way you’d know about any of those issues is if you talk to the editors they work with.
See, here’s the thing, by the time you see a freelance writer’s work an editor like me has worked it over. We probably came up with the idea for the article and assigned it. We might even have told the writer who to talk to. And we’re the only ones who know how extensive the revisions to their work were.
If you want a writer who turns in clean copy, on time, and on budget… you need references.
Of course, contacting all the editors every freelance writer has worked with isn’t feasible. Some of the platforms I mentioned before can help you with references and testimonies, but there’s still a glut of writers and finding the one that’s right for you can be time-consuming. But contacting editors who work in your industry–think the editors of B2B magazines you read–to ask for writer recommendations is totally possible! We love nothing more than to help our best writers find success (and clients who can pay them more than we can).
And, frankly, while you’re poking around the mastheads of your industry magazines, don’t neglect the editors themselves. We know your industry, we live and die by deadlines, and we know good content when we see it!