Brad is the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company who’s content has been highlighted by The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.
Blog writers for hire are a dime a dozen.
Finding them isn’t the problem. They’re everywhere you look.
Discovering ones that are knowledgable, experienced, and easy to work with is the challenge.
Here are the five most popular ways to find blog writers for hire, with pros vs. cons for each.
1. Job Boards
The most obvious starting point for most is a job board.
Spend a few bucks, throw up a generic listing, and new applicants start trickling in moments later.
A steady-stream of people for only $70 bucks? Can’t beat that.
Job boards excel because they’re relatively passive. You can control and predict the inflow of talent. You can spend $X to get Y applicants within Z weeks.
It’s repeatable, systemizable, and predictable. And you can (more or less) dictate what you’re willing to pay.
All great hallmarks for successfully scaling content.
So what could possibly be wrong with job boards?
Job boards are the easiest way to attract new people because the blog writing market is 90% filled with the least experienced, least talented, who don’t already have enough work to sustain themselves.
In other words, you’re going to get a TON of inexpensive ‘projects’ as opposed to the final, finished product that’ll give you perfection every time.
That may not be a bad thing necessarily. You might be looking for people you can train and grow. However, just know that’s going to take much longer than you initially realize. (If it even works at all.)
Otherwise, the best candidates aren’t scouring job boards for work. They’re already booked up. Employed somewhere else. Or simply just not looking.
And in a hyper-competitive space, you need the best of the best.
Job boards can provide a ton of volume. However, that also becomes part of the problem. You’re going to have to sift through A LOT of people. Many (or most) who’re unqualified.
We’ve personally reviewed over 2,000 freelance blog writers in the past year alone. So you better have a system for filtering and vetting and qualifying before reaching out.
If not, you risk letting the few good ones slip through your fingers, while hiring managers waste time manually sorting through all the other junk.
The best leads for a service company often come through personal referrals. So, too, do new hires.
Think about it:
You ask pre-qualified people, who’s work and style you respect, for leads from peers just like them.
It’s no different than dating. You’ve got a much better shot closing the deal (metaphorically speaking, of course) with a friend of a friend than some random schlepper at the local dive bar.
Let’s also lump social into this, because it’s kinda, sorta, a form of personal referrals.
Referral results are directly related to the size of your network.
If it’s big, and you’re well known, dozens will flow in.
But if not? You’ll struggle to attract enough prospects to make it worth it.
Successfully scaling content with enough top-notch talent means you need to look at hundreds, not dozens, of people.
Referrals might point you in the right direction. They might shake through a few leads.
But the chances of the perfect diamond lying in a tiny rough are slim to none if you need more than one.
3. Cold Research
‘Cold’ anything usually implies bad. Cold calls, cold email, cold bologna. (Gross.)
Not in this case, however.
Cold research is typically one of the best ways to find A-level talent.
It’s also surprisingly simple.
You run a Facebook marketing app. So you pull up the top ten blogs on Facebook marketing. Read a few of the recent posts, highlight the ones you like, and see who wrote them.
Next, do a quick site search for that person’s name to (a) see more of their work, and (b) make sure they’re not an in-house employee of that company already.
Then, start analyzing the content. Is it good? (What does “good” even mean to you?)
Ideally, you have a few blog KPIs in your back pocket. You need to know the target a blog writer should be aiming for.
That way, when you see that they can (a) describe the pain point your audience experiences and then (b) seamlessly move into the ‘product placement’ portion that features how to solve it with your app, you know you’ve got a winner who can drive leads.
Now, start reaching out. This is a recent LinkedIn message we received. And that’s all it took to get the ball rolling.
Job boards are like casting a net behind the back of a boat and hoping for the best. Cold research, on the other hand, is like spear fishing. You’re down in the depths, hunting.
Your odds of finding awesome (read: not cheap) writers goes up tremendously. But it also requires a lot more manual work on your part.
Doing this to find a few options might take the better part of half a day. Probably more if you want to test a few.
It also assumes you know what you’re looking for. You can spot talent. And you have a legit strategy in place so that the mercenary can easily hit the ground running.
That, too, isn’t always the case.
4. Content Writing Services
Content writing services are platforms.
They provide access to a pool of talent, and sometimes even help match you with individuals based on skillset or preference.
The other massive benefit is scale. These platforms can provide you with endless options, so going from 5/week to 50 isn’t such a big deal.
Plus, you (typically) get a well-oiled process.
Working directly with freelancers is good when (a) you know how to manage people and (b) they’re good at the business end of the equation. Which isn’t always the case. Especially, when they’re not pro-level freelancers who’ve been around the block a few times.
So content writing services introduce professional management to keep things like requirements, expectations, turnarounds, and payment terms nice and easy.
Content writing services can help you scale content. However, the quality is often hit or miss.
These companies provide a platform to help manage the logistics. But at the end of the day, you’re still left on your own to deal directly with the writer for the end product.
This commonly backfires when (a) you’re not 100% clear on objectives, (b) you can’t quantifiably measure or ‘grade’ what they’re providing, and (c) if they’re not experienced enough.
These platforms don’t to any internal reviews and edits before you get content. They’re not fact-checking points or always checking for plagiarism.
For example, direct word-for-word plagiarism is easy to spot. But we’ve taken this a step further, testing a few content writing services ourselves, and finding instances of their writers basically just rewriting other popular content.
Check out the two major benefits highlighted in this piece we tested:
Now, compare it to one of the top-ranking sites on that SERP:
They basically just went to see what the big brands were already writing, an rewrote the same crap. Zero originality. So you can expect zero results, too.
All of this mean you’re still left to do more hand-holding, investing your own time to ‘shape’ the writer to produce exactly what you’re looking for.
Because there is no central oversight, successfully scaling quality content becomes a challenge, too. You’re working with a bunch of isolated individuals. They’re not cooperating. They’re not privy to what the others are doing (and finding success with).
Which means the buck, again, stops with you to figure it all out, manage it, and make sure the random team being stapled together is keeping up with your ever-evolving standards.
Agencies build upon what content writing services do well, while also raising quality with experienced blog writers.
(At least, that’s how it should work in theory. But it doesn’t always in reality. Read the Cons below to find out why.)
So on the one hand, you get scale. You can start small with a few articles a month, ramping up exponentially as results warrant.
A few months ago, we had a new client start with five articles. When that went well, we bumped up to 15/month. Month three? 50+ — all 2,500 words and up, with a dedicated team of three experienced writers and an editor.
While on the other, you also get internal Quality Control to make sure all content you receive is consistent with your style guidelines and free of errors or plagiarism.
Plus, they can help with strategy. And are experience at working directly with other teams (SEO, sales, etc.), so you won’t have to oversee every little detail.
Agencies sound like the dream for those seeking the best of the best (with a budget to match).
And that’s the first issue:
The good ones ain’t cheap.
Next to working directly with an expert freelancer, you’ll end up paying the most with a dedicated content agency.
If you get the quality to match? It’s an investment that’ll pan out.
But if not? You’ll overpay for stuff that won’t move the needle enough to make it a better bet than the other options listed here.
So… how can you tell good content agencies vs. bad ones?
First, make sure they specialize in content creation — not just distribution. (Preferably, the specific kind of content you’re interested in.)
Second, make sure they specialize (or at least can provide) vertical-specific samples. (At least, stuff that shows the same underlying principles that could be applied to your vertical.)
Otherwise? They won’t have the ability to scale, and the team won’t be experienced enough to justify the higher rates.
If you come across an agency that does content and SEO and website design and email marketing for the construction industry and accountants and retail and banking and mortgage brokers and personal finance…
Run and hide.
Blog writers for hire are everywhere.
The barriers to entry are low. Anyone, anywhere, can say they write for topic X and industry Y.
Unfortunately, the signal to noise is similarly low. Sifting through them all becomes the issue. Separating the excellent ones from all the other crap out there becomes problem numero uno.
Each of these five options are good for one reason or another. Which means they each have their own drawbacks, too.
Some are cheap. Some are expensive. Some are fast. Some are slow. Some are easy. Some are challenging.
The key to finding a blog writer for hire is to know exactly what you’re looking for, and then aligning expectations (budget, turnaround times, quality) proportionately.