So you’re running a business and need a lot of content, product descriptions and blog articles, but you don’t want to spend all your time writing as you want to just focus on your core business? You don’t have the budget to hire a bunch of professional copywriters, or there is simply not enough work for them to do every day? No question about it – what you need are highly motivated and competent freelancers who will write quality content for you exactly when you need it.
Freelance writers don’t need to work for you on a permanent basis. They can be assigned to you as and when needed, fully committed to bringing your projects to a speedy completion. In addition, for each new project, you can choose an expert writer whose writing style or expertise is currently in demand. After all, why should an excellent financial writer, for example, sit around in your offices for weeks on end when there’s only work for them to do two or three times a year? Even bloggers or copywriters for social media posts don’t necessarily have to be hired permanently. This type of writing job can be carried out within a set deadline based on an editorial plan. You can then publish the completed articles one by one on your social media channels.
No matter how you want to set up your project – online, you will find numerous freelancers from all areas of expertise who can help you with the planning, implementation and sustainable continuation of your projects.
These freelancers work from home in many different industries. However, the focus of this article is clearly on freelance writers, journalists and copywriters and your successful collaboration with these experts. But for a better understanding and comparison, we will also touch on some other industries in due course.
What you will learn on this page:
Why work with freelancers?
Freelancers can help you with the work that you can’t do yourself – either because you lack the necessary expertise or time. Here we are referring to work that involves the planning, writing and editing of texts. Freelance, professional writers, editors and other copywriters bring a special feeling for language. They are able to consistently create carefully-worded, elegant content with a readable flow that neither you nor your employees would be able to achieve.
Freelance content writers can be found for a wide range of industries and topics. You can find experts in your field, without having to spend a penny on training them. If you regularly need texts on many different topics, it makes sense to search for suitable authors or copywriters through online portals. On these portals, you’re bound to find the right person for the job, as most providers advise their customers on the selection and briefing of copywriters.
Furthermore, the proofreading and editing of texts also play an important role. So even if you write all your articles yourself – or at least some of them – it makes sense to have an expert take a look at them. This is especially important when it comes to your own work as operation blindness means you may overlook the mistakes that a trained neutral observer would immediately notice. As an author working on your own books, technical papers or contributions for online or print media, you will certainly appreciate editing and proofreading.
Publishers employ their own editors, who provide valuable services in the professional creation of writing from non-fiction to novels. And it’s not just beginner writers who hire editors – many famous authors have even been working with editors of their choice for years and swear by their expertise. By the way, none of the well-known magazines, such as OK! and British Vogue are published without an army of editors having read every article.
Important note: freelance copywriters ensure that you can concentrate on your core business, because they take over the important tasks within your projects. Below we will go into more detail about how you can optimise your project design together with the help of freelancers.
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Why do people take the plunge to become self-employed?
For most people, the appeal of becoming a freelancer mostly lies in the fact that they are able to work independently and can choose for themselves with whom and for whom they work.
In addition, there is the huge advantage of free time allocation and being able to create the famous work-life balance. Self-employed people are free to decide when to take a holiday, when to put the pen down or what time to get up in the morning. Of course, in reality, their freedom is also influenced by the orders of their customers, but they still have more flexibility than traditional employees.
For most freelancers, at least when they start out,financial reasons are not the main motivator. It can often take years to achieve stability which is why many freelancers supplement their income through permanent employment in other roles. This has the benefit, however, of further expanding their areas of knowledge which then informs their writing.
Freelance copywriters are a separate category from freelancers, so to speak. If you want to earn money with writing, you don’t necessarily have to have taken a writing course. Being self-taught and with a willingness to learn, a certain level of natural talent and, above all, the enthusiasm for writing are the most important prerequisites that enable career changers to succeed. We must also bear in mind that content can be written on practically any topic imaginable. A former stockbroker can very well use their expertise and insider knowledge of the financial markets to write appropriate newspaper articles, blog posts or other paid texts.
In some industries, it might be a requirement for the author to have previous work experience in the field. This means that sometimes only former (or still practising) doctors can reliably write texts on complex medical topics that are accurate and meaningful. We will go into more detail below on how this expertise affects the author’s fee.
As far as journalistic or editorial texts are concerned, it can, of course, be advantageous to have studied journalism or have completed an industry apprenticeship. But here too, it is possible to make a lateral entry.
Also pay attention to how long a freelancer has been in the business. If there is no information on their website, such data can often be found on portals like LinkedIn. Those who have been successfully writing for years have earned this status through hard, professional work and absolute reliability. The golden words for freelancers are personal autonomy – if you keep these in mind, you will have lasting success as a freelancer and will be exactly the right person to hire for projects.
Typical industries for freelancers
In the following industries we most often find people working in a freelance business:
Freelance copywriters in the context of project work are often found in media companies or publishing houses – for example, they are often hired as freelance editors and journalists to support the permanent writers and reporters. Of course, freelance writers are also hired by other companies or private individuals to write professional texts through ghostwriting. Ghostwriters write content that is not published under their own name but rather in the name of the client or company.
Not every freelance copywriter is prepared to lose their byline for a professionally written article or similar contribution. You are more likely to find freelancers who have not yet become known for their expertise in a certain field who wouldn’t mind ghostwriting for clients.
A small point to add: all freelancers who want to make a living from writing are understandably eager to build a reputation. Think about whether you are willing to support them by listing your reliable freelancer in the info area of your website or where your partners are listed.
What kind of freelancer do you need for your business?
A skilled copywriter must be able to adapt to your target group and meet their tastes, preferences and needs. This is why you should also get to know your target group and evaluate a freelancer according to whether they can write in line with the target group. Don’t fall into the trap of judging a freelance editor or copywriter only by your own taste. So before hiring expert freelancers, carry out a target group analysis or hire a freelancer whose speciality is this form of analysis.
Next, ask yourself what kind of articles your freelancer should write:
Qualified experts who can explicitly prove their expertise are often needed here.
This type of content is ideal for inbound marketing, but it needs to be written in an engaging, useful and practical way.
Anyone who can grab the readers’ attention with words in such a way that they eagerly read the content line by line is truly an expert in reader engagement.
Pushy and direct advertising is no longer acceptable – look for authors who can write subtle and comprehensible advertising messages in any kind of text.
These are texts that take into account the mechanisms of search engine optimisation with the aim of achieving the best possible Google ranking.
A word about deadlines: These are difficult to estimate in the creative field, so they should not be set too tightly. Once they have been set by mutual agreement, a good service provider should be able to meet them as closely as possible. For example, if you want to launch a new product on the market, the corresponding SEO and advertising texts must be ready on time.
Here is a quick guide to help you better assess the skills of a freelance copywriter:
Focus on your business and leave all the paperwork to a professional!
At Textbroker you will find suitable authors for your writing projects.
Working with freelancers allows you to focus on your core business
Let’s now turn our attention to the specific design of your writing projects with the help of freelancers. Probably the most important factor for the commitment of freelancers is their great flexibility. They help you to cope with the heaviest workloads during peak periods. In addition, you can assign them to different project teams in a targeted manner – for example, to compensate for absences due to sickness or maternity leave, or to urgently supplement know-how.
Freelancers are also used to getting to grips with the subject matter on their own and driving projects forward without you having to hold their hands all the time. Discussions about why this or that task has to be taken on are largely avoided – most freelancers are happy to take on additional tasks, but will course will charge you for them. Compared to larger advertising or content agencies, lone wolves also have the advantage that you can always count on a permanent contact person who can answer your questions with minimal delay. In addition, unlike your employees, a service provider who has other customers besides you is more likely to raise more awkward issues with you directly. A freelancer is simply less dependent on the whims of an individual boss.
Of course, a solo freelancer will also take time off work or go on holiday – but even these can often be coordinated with the needs of your company. In an agency, it’s usually the HR department that decides when your staff are allowed to go on holiday.
Freelancers cause practically no additional administrative work. They pay their own insurances and taxes, and have to make their own provisions for pensions, further training or possible occupational disability. This also has a positive effect on the work morale of freelancers. If freelancers work from home or their own offices, you don’t have to provide a workstation, computer or other amenities.
If considering longer-term cooperation – over a few months or even years – some entrepreneurs like to have their freelancers work in the office on scheduled days. It can also be very informative and useful for the freelancers themselves to get an insight into the everyday working life of their clients. Working together can strengthen a bond and mutual understanding. In this way, you can involve external freelancers in important company processes. So it is also worth considering inviting dependable freelancers to company events, such as anniversaries or Christmas parties. If a joint project is presented to the public, many self-employed people will be happy to receive an invitation.
You will mainly, probably, be dealing with freelance copywriters who are not sitting in your office. These freelancers are available at no additional cost to you and do not require their own workspace, but can be briefed about the work via e-mail or telephone. Many freelancers are well acquainted with this kind of cooperation and may even prefer not to have permanent personal contact with their clients. In addition, webcam technology and live video are increasingly providing a means of establishing visual contact with your freelancers. After all, we live in a modern age in which you no longer have to look for the right experts for your projects in a regional environment. The whole world is at your disposal.
This brings us to the next important point of our freelancer hiring process: your communication with these external service providers.
How to properly communicate with freelancers
Freelance writers and other writing professionals are usually extremely communicative individuals with whom one can speak freely and informally. Mutual respect is the basis of any successful collaboration. Authors are also often people with a – more or less strongly pronounced – artistic soul. It might, therefore, be advisable to give them a “long leash” and allow them a certain amount of freedom in their work. Copywriters who have been in the business for several years know what they are doing. Many entrepreneurs are still very much caught up in a commercial way of thinking and insist on “proven” methods that they have copied from supposedly more successful competitors. Of course, the results have to be right – good freelancers know that too. But if they are to be truly motivated to write, they have to feel your trust.
We assume that you hire freelancers on the basis of recommendations oder good references. In any case, word of mouth and personal recommendations play an important role in finding suitable freelancers, as they usually maintain strong networks. For example, if you need highly specific texts on a topic that a copywriter cannot cover, they will often be able to recommend a suitable expert. In return, you should also recommend freelancers to colleagues and business partners if you are satisfied with their services. After all, service providers will also recommend you if they had good experiences working with you. As they say, one hand washes the other.
If you choose the cheapest option and work with newcomers to the profession, you will need to be patient and lower your expectations. In return, newcomers to the writing profession will be even more eager to meet your wishes. What they lack in experience, they will try to make up for with their high enthusiasm.
No matter who you work with – if they don’t perform as well as you expect and you have justified reasons to express your criticism, then you should do so. After all, one of the biggest advantages of working with freelancers is their willingness to improve. Conversely, of course, this means that a copywriter whose services you value and want to use in the long term deserves your praise. Practically anyone who earns money by writing longs for recognition. Give credit where credit’s due, and you will be rewarded with freelance partnerships that will increase your business success for years to come.
Instructing copywriters via assignment orders
Let’s make it brief – because this point is only relevant if youselect your freelance copywriters via an online portal and provide them with jobs through the same. Such copywriting portals and similar job exchanges usually provide an order mask. This is a kind of text editor in which you can set the important key data of your order and your individual specifications regarding the implementation for the author of your choice. To make it easier for you, these order masks usually contain a number of predefined slots for the key points of the briefing.
In these assignment orders, you can, for example, specify the headline and the details of the article to be written. Further details would be the focus keyword and which other keywords you would also like to be included.
Often you can configure your order to indicate whether keywords can be written with inflections. We strongly recommend that you allow inflected keywords, otherwise your copywriter may have to create awkward sentence structures to accommodate your keywords as required. For example, if the keyword is “dog”, the inflected version should also be written as “dogs” or (the) “dogs”.
You can also set the minimum word count and the desired maximum word count. Note that the text must be long enough to meaningfully accommodate the keywords within the required word count.
Finally, assignment orders usually offer the possibility to explain your requirements and wishes in a freely formulated text. Perhaps there are one or two points that are especially important to you and are not covered by the given slots. At this point, you should not be worried about your written language or spelling skills. Simply write in your own words your requirements and about what is important to you – after all, the freelance copywriter is the one responsible for the professional implementation of the content.
Create contracts with freelancers – yes or no?
Freelancers are not your employees. But during the time they work on your projects, they are in the same position as your other staff. Creating a contract with your freelancer can serve to establish certain expectations and mutual obligations. But is such a contract always useful?
First of all, there is no legal obligation in the UK to enter into a contract with freelancers. However, you can consider any arrangement that leads to cooperation as a kind of contract – i.e. a mutual agreement. Especially in the area of small or medium-sized enterprises (SME), agreements with freelancers and freelance copywriters, designers or similar service providers are often made verbally. Since most freelancers are very interested in serious and reliable cooperation, this is usually sufficient. After all, those who do not meet their obligations must expect to lose customers and to receive negative references. For most freelancers, adhering to verbal agreements is a matter of honour.
In the case of large, cost-intensive projects or on the part of larger companies, it is often preferred by both parties to draw up a written contract on duration, remuneration and other key points of the service relationship. There are three relevant ways of drawing up contracts with freelancers. We would like to briefly present these three options to you here:
This type of contract relates to “conventional” employment contracts. Your freelancer will charge you for the services rendered. This is normally calculated in the form of the hours worked, for example on an hourly basis. Fixed prices or billing according to the number of words or lines are also possible. In most cases, this type of contract will be most suitable for you and your freelancer.
With this contract, the service rendered is also invoiced. However, reaching certain milestones is a prerequisite. For example, a minimum number of hours worked or a minimum number of written articles could be a prerequisite for payment.
Primarily intended for consultancy services, this contract can contain elements of an employment and project contract. Of course, this depends on whether both parties believe the consultancy was a success or not. This form of contract is generally unsuitable for working with copywriters.
The fee: What are professionally written texts worth to you?
Eloquent experts who work as freelance copywriters naturally want to be paid. Since these freelancers want to make a living from their work, you should also think about what kind of budget you need for your content. Evaluating creative work is a very individual matter and is ultimately a matter of negotiation. Cheaper is by no means better, because established copywriters know what they are worth. The hourly rate for freelancers can vary between £30 and up to £100. With prices of less than £30 per hour, freelance writers will more than likely face serious problems covering their own running costs. Since you probably want to work with reputable providers who reliably deliver high-quality services for your business, you should be sceptical about “cheap providers”. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as not all contract projects necessarily require a lot of effort or expertise.
If they are a proven expert in their field, they can afford to charge high prices. For example, to explain the details of a rocket propulsion system used to launch satellites into orbit or to explain how these satellites are constructed in detail, you need an appropriately trained engineer with excellent writing skills. You won’t find these experts just anywhere.
The situation is different with “mass topics”, on which many copywriters can write something. You will find many authors who write editorial content or social media content for you. Of course, a certain quality is also required here – good spelling and an eloquent writing style not only affects the reaction of the readers but also the SEO ranking. That’s why a skilled copywriter will also help you with content for your daily business needs. Basically, most online articles can have a long-lasting effect on the reach of your website offerings and – depending on their topicality or validity period – generate calls via search engines and links over months and years. Copywriters who do this are also worth the money they get.
At the other end of the line, you’ll find temporary posts. For example, those with limited regional interest and/or validity or for less demanding target groups. The flyer for a tent disco at the weekend can also be written by a motivated hobby writer with mediocre spelling skills.
To get a feel for the quality of freelance writers, you could search on online portals first. Online content marketplaces provide writer quality ratings, which also affects the prices they charge for their work. Skilled copywriters can work their way up quickly here too.
Cost factor: Self-employed tax considerations
Most freelancers start off by freelancing in their spare time. This can be a good way of finding their feet before going full-time. However, they must also think of the legal implications and tax considerations when starting their own freelancing business. As a self-employed person, you are responsible for paying your own Most freelancers start off by freelancing in their spare time. This can be a good way of finding their feet before going full-time. However, they must also think of the legal implications and tax considerations when starting their own freelancing business. As a self-employed person, you are responsible for paying your own National Insurance and income tax, as well as building a personal pension fund. These factors will all influence their fees.
In comparison, the ancillary wage costs to an entrepreneur with the same employee as a permanent member of staff are significantly higher. For example, as well as a salary, there are legally-required employer contributions to pensions and PAYE. In addition, terminating a permanent employee usually involves a notice period, while ending a relationship with a freelancer does not.
As previously noted, freelance copywriters, editors, journalists and other “scribblers” can be much more useful to you than just their cost. The payment of a fair fee does, however, help to maintain their motivation, which is a not inconsiderable factor when taking into account the sustainable cooperation in the traditionally uncertain and volatile creative industry. At this point, it should also be noted that freelancers’ fees are likely to increase from time to time in line with the inflation rate.
Buzzing in a swarm – does user-generated content make sense?
Is it perhaps sensible to simply rely on crowdsourcing and encourage your community to write content through small competitions or giveaways? The answer is yes and no. User-generated content can complement and support the work of paid freelancers under certain circumstances, but it can never totally replace it.
Crowdsourcing is difficult to control because social networks have their own dynamics. An active community must first be built through meaningful content strategies via the appropriate channels. This is unpredictable and therefore cannot be a decisive part of a timely content strategy.
What we would say is: if you and your freelancers do a good job in content marketing, you can gain momentum and make your life easier by encouraging a growing amount of user-generated content.
Benefits of working with freelancers
Have you found freelance writers, editors, journalists or proofreaders who meet your requirements, work successfully for you and sustainably grow your business? Then hold on to them by showing them respect and understanding. Perhaps you too started your business as a lone fighter and built it by “yourself” and through “constant” hard work. Then you will remember how hard it was to meet all the expectations you had not only set yourself but also absorbed from external sources, both necessary in order to continue with your creative work. Motivated and capable freelancers are not only cheaper and more flexible than permanent employees. Almost more important is the unimpaired, neutral view that freelancers take of your business and their honest and understandable interest in your sustainable success. There is nothing a freelance copywriter appreciates more than a reliable and long-term relationship with their client..
We wish you positive experiences and great success in working with freelancers.
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