Here are 10 questions to ask a freelance writer before you start a project–and the reasons why those questions are important.
- What is your native language? You want a writer whose first language is the same as your audience’s to avoid cultural, idiomatic, and other missteps.
- How long have you been a freelance writer? You want a professional freelance writer with a track record who won’t abandon you the moment a “real” job comes along.
- What software do you use? Every freelance writer should be expert at Word and Acrobat (the editing version, not the reader). In addition, you may need expertise in FrameMaker, Excel, etc.
- What is your process? Find out if the writer charges separately for multiple iterations and for nudging to get a response to a question.
- Do you travel? Some freelance writers are willing to go to your site; others prefer telecommuting only.
- Do you have samples? The samples should show you the freelance writer’s style and whether it will align with your goals. They also are proof that the writer has completed assignments successfully in the past.
- Have you worked in this industry before? Lack of experience in your specific industry may or may not be a deal breaker; breadth of experience in your type of project (blog post, website copy, case study, etc.) may be more important.
- What are your typical prices and what is your turn-around time? Often a freelance writer cannot answer these questions without a better idea of your project–but do find out if the writer charges an hourly or project rate. Usually, a project rate is better for you.Also share your deadline and find out if it’s feasible.
- How do you want to be paid? Some freelance writers take credit cards; some don’t. For a long project, you may be asked to pay at milestones or at the end of each month.
- Do you offer any services aside from writing? Don’t assume that “writing” includes interviewing, graphic design, public relations, publishing, or proofreading. Ask if you have a specific need.
TWP Marketing & Technical Communications is a sole-proprietorship that offers writing, editing, and proofreading services to a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, consulting, and energy. For nearly 20 years, I have written blog posts, website copy, case studies, user manuals, insight papers, and more. Please contact me if you have questions or want to discuss a project. I welcome inquiries.