Hello,

I would like to learn how you find writers for the creation of your website content (if you don’t write everything yourself)?

Do you use the usual freelance writer marketplaces and what are your experiences with them?

On such platforms, while submitting a bid, one can choose which price per word is set - with an accordingly adjusted level of delivered text quality. But is it even worth one’s while to offer the lowest choosable word price, or is that pointless, because the texts produced are of (too) low quality, in that case?

Or which other ways to you use to find your freelance writers?

I am thankful for any tips and recommendations of also lesser-known ways and platforms where I could find (good) freelance writers!

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I can answer from the other side of the equation. I have been a freelance writer for close on 30 years, and the way people find me hasn't really changed all that much apart from one aspect: it's a lot easier to find me now than it was in 1991. …

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I can answer from the other side of the equation. I have been a freelance writer for close on 30 years, and the way people find me hasn't really changed all that much apart from one aspect: it's a lot easier to find me now than it was in 1991. It has always been the case that prospective new clients come to me because they have either: seen my work elsewhere, I have been recommended to them by someone who has already used me or they have searched Google for a freelance technology journalist (or freelance security journalist.) Generally speaking, most people these days come to me having used all three methods. So, they might get a recommendation, go google me and then go look at some of my work.

To answer your question more directly, I will say that you won't find 'good' freelance writers by taking the cheapest option from a freelance writing forum/agency. If someone is offering a range of prices depending on the quality you get then run away. Any freelance writer worth contracting will have just the one rate which is usually negotiable depending upon the nature of the work and the length of the agreement - I charge less if I am contracted for a year of monthly blogs than I do for a one-off arrangement. Certainly they will only have one quality level and that's the best, all of the time.

It really depends upon what type of content you are looking for I guess. If it's just padding for SEO purposes or whatever, commissioned to lowest possible cost, then you'll get what you pay for and that's almost always going to be poor. If you want high quality content then go look at other sites in your sector and see who is writing the stuff you like most before googling them and getting in touch directly. If your requirements are in a very specific field, then a visit to Google with the relevant keywords (hint: the subject matter + editorial or writer etc) will throw up some likely names which you can then go and research some more.

Bottom line: do your research and then contact writers directly by email.

Thank you "happygeek" for your long and very informative answer, I really appreciate it! And it encouraged me to contact industry specific freelance writers by googling them, a way I also thought of - and your answer showed me that this is probably the best option!

Like happygeek, I'm also a freelance writer. Spent 20 years in major advertising agencies—I was a creative director on accounts like AT&T, Microsoft, and IBM, before going freelance in '07. I agree with everything he says. I just want to add a few pointers, for companies who may or may not have the budget for a good freelancer.

First of all, look at your team. At least one person should have lead responsibility for marketing and sales. That person should, at the very least, be able to write clearly. Clarity is more important for early stage companies than cleverness. If that person can write your value prop so everyone understands it, you're ahead of most.

If you are going to hire someine, make sure you know what you want your writer to do. If it's a website, what kind of website is it. Sales? Branding? Service? If it's an ad campaign, who are you trying to reach, what do you want them to do and why should they do it? Hiring a website writer because you like a clever ad they may have done is a mistake. A seasoned writer can walk you through these strategic steps before putting pen to paper and, in fact, that may be worth more valuable to you in the long run than the writing.

Also, make sure you have a solid business case to justify the writer's fees. I know of an incubator-stage startup that wanted their blog to be the be-all-end-all of expertise in their industry. They paid a top freelancer $250 to $600 for blog posts. Up to $1200 for infographics and white papers. One year and $60,000 later, they realized that their posts were getting less than 50 views on average and none had converted to sales. My advice would have been less content, more advertising, promotion and CRM.

But whatever you do, do not under any circumstances use one of those online content farms. No matter how cheap they are, they're too expensive. I don't know anyone who would trust their business, brand and reputation to a stranger who's working for a percentage of a $55 fee. I once hiredone to write a blog for me on common CRM data entry mistakes, thinking I could use it for research and rewrite it to suit the client's brand and objectives. Instead, I got five variations on typos. Nothing about duplicate records, transposed data fields and the like. I had to start from scratch the day it was due, and I was swamped with other work.

That's it for now. If you have any questions, drop me line: mark@markspectorwrites.com. Happy to help.

commented: All good points and well made at that +16
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