How I’m Hiring Terrific Writers by Incentivizing Current Writers to Refer Friends

Yesterday I told you how after spending $75 on a job listing to hire a writer, sifting through 55 applications and trialing 5 writers I ended up with maybe one decent writer. That’s not a good result.

Fortunately, I stumbled on another approach to finding and hiring good writers.

What I did was ask existing freelance writers I’m working with if they know of anyone interested in writing part time or full time. Note, these were not freelancers through WriterAccess or similar. It’s freelancers I work directly with.

One freelance writer I work with has now referred two great writers to me.

It helps that this referring writer is pursuing a graduate degree at a university where there are plenty of folks looking for a part time writing job. I would have loved a part time, flexible hours writing gig in college.

This is working out so well I told her I’d pay her $100 for successful referrals, including the two she’s also already referred.

Ironically, I did hire her from Problogger so I can’t write off Problogger indefinitely.

Going forward, I’ll be asking people I work with for referrals. It’s such an easy way to find good people. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.

While university students are the obvious option to access a large pool of potential freelance writers, it’s not the only option. Most folks who freelance know people who are interested in freelancing. Take stay-at-home parents as an example. Chances are they know other stay-at-home parents who might want a flexible part time writing gig.

For many people, flexibility is hugely important in a job. If they need a week off for whatever reason such as exams or kids are out of school, no problem. When personal life slows down and they can work more, they can. It’s a win/win.

I find part time freelance writers put in an extra effort. It’s not all about how many words they can crank out in an hour. I can tell there’s more thought going into articles; they take pride in producing something good. It’s a side gig so it’s not the be-all and end-all for them.

Granted I pay reasonably well. I pay $20 USD per hour or $.05 per word. It’s their choice. I’ve found that generally the end cost is about the same for either form of pay. As long as articles come in around $50 to $150, I’m happy.

University students and stay-at-home parents often bring a lot of writing prowess to the table. Students have access to incredible online libraries and know how to research. Stay at home parents may have extensive niche experience from a career and/or personal interests.

Instead of banging your head against the wall sifting through hopeless applicants, tap alternative talent pools such as university students and stay-at-home parents. I’m sure there are other good options as well.

I encourage writers to suggest topics

I ask freelance writers I work directly with what topic areas they prefer. I figure I’ll get better content if they write about what they know and like. As long as it fits with my site, I’m good with it. It doesn’t really matter to me as long as the search volume and ranking potential is the same as any topics I might come up with.

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