When it comes to hiring experts, you need to personally vet them or have an editor vet them. Finding experts isn’t hard. I could contact any number of local businesses relevant to my niche and make some sort of a deal to feature them in exchange for content. The problem with this is any expert I hire must be an expert in the topic area AND write well. Most experts can’t write. Finding one who can write is tricky. After all, if they’re so expert, they can probably make more money doing what they’re expert at than freelance writing. Not always but generally. That’s why experts who do freelance can make pretty good coin because they’re rare.
Where can you find expert writers? Where do I find experts?
Yes, for some topics and writing projects I seek out experts. It costs me more (usually) but when expertise is needed, it’s worth paying more. Here are some options.
1. WriterAccess Casting Call
This is probably my favorite method for finding niche experts. Yes, there are all kinds of freelance writers on WriterAccess with expertise. I’m talking industry experience, advanced education, etc. Lawyers, chiropractors, realtors, plumbers, engineers, etc.
Setting up a casting call is super easy and fast. It’s as follows:
What about cold-contacting writers on WriterAccess?
I’ve done this but it’s usually a waste of time. I prefer the casting call option because it attracts writers.
2. The contributing expert
What’s great about the contributing expert is it costs you nothing. It’s a hybrid of either you and the expert or a non-expert writer and expert contributions. It’s also referred to as an expert roundup although you can restrict it to one expert or multiple (I’ve done both). The concept is simple. You contact experts to contribute a quote or answer some questions. They get a link and exposure. You get expertise. I’ve done this quite a bit. It’s a lot of work doing the outreach and coordinating the responses but when it comes together it can be a great piece of content.
As is usually the case, publishers with more traffic have an easier time of this. Experts are more willing to participate if your site has authority and traffic. If you do have decent traffic, when you pitch experts, be sure to tout your site’s metrics. If you have some decent social media pages, be sure to mention those numbers as well. Your response rate will be much better.
3. The column expert
Recently, I’ve entered into arrangements with two small companies that offer very niche services that are a direct fit with my biggest site where they provide regular content in exchange for a byline, links, author profile and inclusion on the About page. The content costs me nothing because it’s marketing for them. It’s a great arrangement and one of those rarer situations where expert small businesses can write decent content.
4. Facebook groups in your niche
I’ve never done this but have read about it and it makes sense. It’s pretty simple. You join Facebook Groups relevant to your niche. At some point you post something mentioning you’re looking for writers. You might want to ask the moderator first if this is okay to do. I don’t see why a Group would reject such a request since it benefits members looking for work. Or you can just post without permission and accept banishment since they’d deny the request anyway. Your call. If you wish to stay in the group, it’s best to ask first. If you don’t care, post away with fingers crossed.
5. Recruiting agencies
I’ve never done this but there are agencies that place freelance writers. I suspect some serve various industries. It’s probably a costly process since recruiting agencies typically earn well but it could be a great solution as a last resort.
6. Craigslist and equivalent
I’ve found several great writers over the years via Craigslist ads. There’s no reason you couldn’t post an ad seeking writers with various expertise. There are many “writers wanted” ads on Craigslist.
7. Post-secondary institutions
I’ve hired several writers over the years who are in university or grad school. In fact, I have three writers currently pursuing graduate degrees. They’re outstanding. If you’re in niches that coincide with academic disciplines, it’s a great option. Just keep in mind you might have to be willing to offer part-time work since they’re busy with school. I’m perfectly happy offering 20 hours per week.
How much will niche experts cost you for content?
In most cases quite a bit more than low-cost writers. I typically pay $.04 to $.05 per word. Experts cost me $.06 to $.10 per word but that can vary depending on the expert and size of the project. If it’s a large project, I might negotiate it down because the overall amount earned is high. It also depends on whether I require photos, materials that need to be purchased, any travel time, etc. Since I most often seek and hire experts via a casting call on WriterAccess, all this is negotiated.
Should you hire experts for all your content?
It wouldn’t hurt, that’s for sure. Expertise is a spectrum. For example, a 25-year grizzled veteran lawyer is more expert than a second-year law student. That doesn’t mean hiring a law student is a bad idea. Law students often are more up to date on the actual law. Veteran lawyers often lose touch with the academic side of law but gain expertise in the actual practice of it.
I don’t hire “experts” for all content. Not even close. Much of my content merely requires research and good writing. That’s it. Don’t take this article as meaning you must hire experts for everything.
Why would experts choose to freelance write instead of pursuing their expertise?
This question assumes all experts are experts in paying fields. That’s not true. There are hobby niches, for example. An expert hobbyist is someone who pursues the hobby. I recently hired a person who has had a life-long passion for a particular pursuit. I found him via a WriterAccess casting call. Of course, he could have been lying but when I read the first delivered article, I knew he was the real deal. For some hobbyists, getting paid to write about their hobby is a bonus.
That said, there are experts in professional and vocational fields which begs the question: why would they freelance instead of pursuing their profession or vocation? There are many reasons. I can actually relate. I’d probably rather be a freelance writer than do any particular job because I like writing. Love writing. Can’t you tell?
There could be many legitimate reasons including:
Prefer job flexibility: Maybe they have young kids or are tired of 60 hour weeks that the industry requires or prefer to be location independent or all of the above.
Earn more freelance writing: Good freelance writers can easily earn six figures which is more than many jobs. This is no joke. Freelance writing can be lucrative if you build up a good client roster.
Tired of their chosen industry: This happens often. After 20 years folks can burn out or just tire of their chosen vocation. Writing can be a breath of fresh air that capitalizes on their expertise.
The point is do not assume that because someone is freelance writing that they couldn’t possibly be an expert. That’s nonsense.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.