Selecting the right online writing service for content creation can be difficult, from selecting the type of services between a freelancer, experts, or a specialized agency, looking at the right place, creating a good request, negotiating a good price, the road to get a piece of content created can be long.
We asked 18 experts that have dealt with such issues for their advices, and some of them might surprise you - although a lot of them are using online platforms such as UpWork, Facebook, LinkedIn, IWriter, Fiverr, and more, there are plenty of other options to find online content writers.
Online writing services: How do you find them, do you work with freelancers or companies, what works and what doesn't, which kind of content do you order.
The primary way I find writers now is through word of mouth referral and working with content creation agencies. When I first started, I used platforms like Upwork and iWriter to find writers. The writers on Upwork are very good, but the good writers who are English speaking are expensive.
Also, since the platform isn't set up specifically for hiring writers and works best with hourly rates, you will always have to negotiate the cost per article. On iWriter it is very easy to find cheap writers and the platform is specifically for hiring writers. However, quality is always hit or miss.
Over time, I have found that working directly with freelancers through word of mouth and agencies are the best for my business. I believe the main reason for the current success is due to the different article templates I have for each article type, which I give to the freelance writer or project manager at the agency before starting every article. Each article template outlines the writing guidelines, sections, and word counts to follow in each section. The content I order includes product reviews, round-up reviews, and purely informational articles.
Melissa Teng, Wit and Folly
As a Co-founder of a small business, I heavily rely on content marketing to get the word out about my brand, so I have had a lot of experience working with writers online.
One way I find writers online is reaching out to people with success stories to see if they would like to be featured as a guest post on my blog. I have found this to be a successful strategy to get very high-quality guest posts on my site that also have the benefit of being completely free.
I often find writers online via platforms like UpWork, Problogger, as well as LinkedIn. I usually request blog posts for our website and guest posts for other websites on behalf of our company. When hiring a writer, make sure they are experienced enough to write SEO-friendly content. In case your budget is tight and you are hoping to hire a newbie, make sure that you give them a trial article before outsourcing your actual work.
William Taylor, Career Development Manager at VelvetJobs
William Taylor is a Career Development Manager at VelvetJobs with over 12 years’ experience in career advising, coaching and recruitment.
From personal experience, using a roster of writers that specialise in certain topics, rather than finding 2-3 writers to do everything, yields much better content in the long run. This does require a lot more admin your end, and you will have to constantly stay on the lookout for writers, but the investment in time here is more than made up for the lack of editing and guidance you’ll need to give your writers in the long run.
I work exclusively with freelancers, as I find agencies simply act as the middle person, and often outsource your content needs to freelancers of their own. I’ve had success on Upwork and Contently, but again, it comes down to how specific you are. Don’t hire a $0.05 a word writer from a non-US country and then be discouraged when their article about blockchain trends in 2020 lacks depth.
In 2020, Google’s RankBrain means Google is becoming more intelligent by the day. Flow and cohesion, not just keyword stuffing, is becoming more important. You can still find writers at non-exhobitant prices who specialise in topics and write in fluent English. In 2020, if your writing isn’t long-form, engaging, and SEO-focused but not overly so, you’ll really struggle to rank. Those type of expertise you shouldn’t expect to pay bottom dollar for.
Since 2016 I’ve been working remotely as a content marketer and publicist, have been featured in the likes of Forbes, Washington Post, and WSJ, and have traveled to, or lived in, 29 countries and counting.
Unsurprisingly, my remote work took me working with writers online. We are dealing with online writers on baby and mom topics that we find on Upwork (where we filter writers by jobs and prices we need).
Working with online writers will encounter some problems as you will have to spend time training them to write the ideas and format you want (it will take a while for everything to be perfect). They can disappear anytime (I've encountered 2 writers like that, they quit without any notice. It will take time to recruit a new person).
We often order articles that bring information and health tips for moms and babies. Consistent with the content on our ChilMode website.
Nancy Baker, Managing Editor of ChildMode, ChildMode
I am the CEO of an online review publication with 100% remote workers. I run the website: ChildMode - towards kids and mom.
In the past I would use freelancing sites like UpWork and Freelancer to find writers, but found the quality was usually lacking and the writer would just rush an article through to get paid as fast as possible. Now, to get high-quality work I prefer to use local job boards (in Australia where I'm from, that includes Seek and Gumtree) and my personal connections I developed during my time at university. It's more expensive to hire locals over cheap writers from third world countries on the major freelancing sites, but hiring people I know personally, or who come recommended from someone I know personally, has almost always got me much higher quality articles that are useful to my readers. For my product review site, I've got some great 1,000+ word articles from people I hired in my network that are objective, factual and come from people who have tried the product they're writing about and have expertise in the area.
Katie Holmes, Founder, OutwitTrade
I am the lead editor of OutwitTrade and an accomplished data analyst, writer and internet marketer. I was motivated to help to build up this publication after being frustrated with most review websites being obviously biased, wrong, or which didn't seem to even test the products they were reviewing. Now, I spend 20+ hours every week reviewing products, conversing with our contributors, and reaching out to different companies.
When I was initially looking for a writer, I went through many online platforms before I was happy with the quality and the process. Our verticle is SaaS in the music industry niche; it's one of those industries that has its quirks and always changing. I needed content for our blog, which was SEO optimised at a quicker pace than I could create on my own. I started with UpWork but found the whole hiring process a chore. I like speed and automation; UpWork was neither (in my opinion) for writing services. I had to post the requirements, sift through profiles, explain what our company (and re-explain) is about and give a dummy article to create. I found I spent more time organising on UpWork than actually creating content. I then moved to ContentFly and couldn't be happier. I have to do some initial leg work, like content research, keyword analysis and write a quick brief, but the platform manages the hiring process for me and delivers the article to my inbox. The content I get back is excellent and written by someone who understands my niche. It solves a huge pain point for me and allows me to focus instead of wresting with freelancers.
Pete Callaghan, CEO - Promoly
I help record labels promote music over email - Co-Founder of Promoly
I began my writing career nearly a decade ago with freelance writing. Since that time, I have expanded to a writing service that works with clients both on project and retainer bases. Full service delivery that works well often includes blogs/articles, social media, and b2c communications.
Provision of content for websites, bios, and other informational collateral is also a service line. This approach delivers consistent messaging across outlets. The goal for internal and external communications is uniform branding, messaging, and tone.
I have found challenges in writing partnerships to arise when a specific audience and outcome is not clearly defined by the publisher. Having clear conversations between author and publisher regarding expectations alleviates much of the pressure and disappointment of ambiguous messaging.
Online content creation can yield successful results both through a blind freelance hiring process as well as working with a writing services company. I offer my services through some freelance sites and have long-term clients I’ve never met personally. My writing service client relationships are often initiated through referral and online search.
Although both methods are effective, I believe working with a writing service offers a stronger delivery.
E. Danielle Butler, CEO, EvyDani Books, LLC
E. Danielle Butler (@evydanib) is an energetic, professional wordsmith with a focus on content, ghostwriting, and publishing. She is the founder of EvyDani Books, an independent publishing and communications agency. Her services cover a wide range of industries including nonprofit, arts and entertainment, manufacturing, and education.
I hire writers for to write blog posts, generally 1,000 - 3,000 words per article. I prefer not to use companies that mass produce articles (content mills) because, in my experience, the quality of writing is usually not very good. I've had better results finding individual freelance writers, but it does take a little more time and effort to do that. I've hired a number of writers through Upwork.com.
Overall, I've had good results there, but I've also weeded through a lot of low-quality candidates in order to find the writers that do the best work. Upwork has also made it possible for me to find writers at very affordable prices, and most of them are looking for on-going work, so once you find a good one, you can keep working with them.
The other method I've used that can work very well is to check other sites in the industry, handpicking writers that I'd like to hire, and then reaching out to them to see if they would be interested and available. The freelancers I've hired this way have had higher rates than those I've hired on Upwork, but this has been the best way to find writers that do great work and will be a perfect fit for the articles that I need them to write.
Marc Andre, Founder, Vital Dollar
I've been running content-based websites full time for more than 11 years and I've tried many different ways to find writers.
Finding the best online writing services for your blog or website can be challenging, especially if you do not know the right place to get exactly what you want. To me, however, the process of finding the best online writers is simple. I simply signed up at Fiverr.com, posted my projects and writers were bidding within a few seconds. I chose a writer, agreed on the price of my project, and it was delivered within the deadline I had set. I find working with freelance writers very simple because after you post a project, several writers send their bids, and you get the opportunity to choose only the best writer, based on their ratings and number of projects completed successfully.
On the other hand, I do not like the idea of getting online writing services from companies because I worked with one in the past, and I was disappointed. I posted my project, and unlike with freelance writers, I did not have the opportunity to choose my own writer. The company picked a writer for me, and unfortunately, the writer delivered a low quality article, which I never published on my blog. Even after requesting for a revision, it never met my standards.
Wycliffe Ouko, publisher and CEO at myessaydoc.com. A passionate online publisher with 5 years of experience in publishing quality content online.
Having worked with freelance writers for about a decade, my main tip would be to choose the right writers for the right articles. People invariably write best on topics they’re passionate about and knowledgeable in. I have several writers I work with, but a lot of thought goes into which writer gets each article. And if I need an article on something I don’t feel any of them are strong on, I will look for somebody completely new - even if it means they only write that one article. If, for example, I want a review of a certain product or service, I’ll try to find someone with extensive, real-world experience of it. This could mean advertising on Upwork or ProBlogger, or perhaps approaching somebody on one of my social media groups.
This may seem like a lot of effort - and it is. But is results in much better, more authoritative content. This is why I work with individuals and not writing “services.” Which they have their place, I’d personally only consider using them for generic, bulk content.
Ben Taylor, Founder, homeworkingclub.com
Ben Taylor, a serial solopreneur since 2004, blogger since 2009, and Founder of www.homeworkingclub.com, an advice portal for aspiring freelancers.
I have made lots of writing and content marketing connections via Twitter and private Slack workspaces. I find these become friends of friends style references that I can approach for specific content. Through active and passive participation in these communities, you can learn a lot about what topics specific writers excel in and whether they would be a good fit for your brand.
I primarily look for freelancers for two reasons. Freelancers are likely to specialise in niche areas, making them SMEs as well as great writers. Freelancers also come without the exaggerated price tag that agencies offer. This combination sets freelancers ahead of hiring a writing company.
Finding a writer that is an SME in my niche area is harder than it seems. Lots of technical experts and business leaders discuss the topics we include in our blog but they are not available for writing gigs. The reverse is true, also. Sometimes great writers just don't know the topic well enough and research and SME interviews don't always cut it.
Guest blogs as an assessment to see whether the freelancer is able to produce the content we require - both in terms of knowledge and understanding and ability as a writer. If a writer's work if going to take hours of editing, this either isn't worth forking out for OR is worth paying for if you spot the opportunity to coach them into the perfect writer for your brand.
Thoughts: My company provides educational articles on mental health. We have chosen not to hire professional writers and instead are working with therapists. Working with subject matter experts can both be more costly and more time consuming that working with journalists or freelance writers.
Non-professional writers require more editing and may style may be less readable. However, I found the quality of the content to be far superior!
How can a freelance writer in a day to two develop a deep understanding of topic. If your audience is sophisticated on a topic and will disappointed by superficial articles, I highly recommend that you use subject matter experts versus freelancers!
Content writing’s a valuable art that tons of self-proclaimed content writers and copywriters out there are willing to offer nowadays. However, it’s something that not many of them excel at.
Firstly, coming up with unique and high-quality content for a particular niche, whether it’s the blog posts, newsletters, sales copy or social media, isn’t quite an easy task.
Hiring a content writer that knocks it out of the park isn't a piece of cake. First of all, we believe that the world of freelancing is at its peak. Tons of freelancing on various popular freelancing platforms such as UpWork, Fiverr, Freelancer offer their content writing services on a regular basis. And that's exactly where our experts at Florida Title Center begin their search.
It’s really important to hire a content writer that holds a huge deal of knowledge in your niche. And that’s exactly what we do. Once we have a list of content writers in our hands, we begin with the screening phase. We test them. After assigning them paid tasks, our experts at Florida Title Center analyze each of the copies and select the perfect fit.
We understand that coming up with high-quality content isn't any easy. And that's exactly we pay them what their services are worth. Whether it's on a daily or monthly basis, we order their services on the freelancing platform of their choice and provide them with the requirements that they need to get started.
During the entire time, we keep in touch with our content writers to make sure that they are clear on the requirements and don’t need anything more.
Once we are happy with what's delivered, we leave appropriate feedback, depending on how well the seller delivered.
This is from Florida Title Center, a Title Insurance Boutique from South Florida.
We work with freelancers to get our content written. One of the many reasons we get our work done from many freelancers despite having an internal content team is it gives different writing styles, perspectives, and tone to our blogs. Also, our internal content team is often engrossed in getting reports with internal data ready so we outsource our blogs on general topics to freelancers. We ask our content team and other professionals to recommend to us their freelancer friends or acquaintances who they know for their good professional ethics and work. We give these freelancers some sample work to complete and then let our editor check it before offering them the real work.
Shakun Bansal, Head of Marketing Mercer | Mettl
My Name is Shakun Bansal the Head of Marketing at Mercer | Mettl, a HR technology company and leading talent measurement firm that enables businesses to make precise people decisions in Talent Recruitment, management and training across industry verticals.
LinkedIn: Searching for writers on LinkedIn is pretty straightforward. You can browse through various profiles based on the keywords, and even find writers in the industry or based on their location. Next, you can scout them by sending them an invitation to work with you or recommend someone that would be interested in the job.
Facebook: There are plenty of groups on Facebook that gather freelance writers. One of my favorites is the Cult Of Copy Job Board group, which is an excellent place to find a freelance writer in any niche.
Upwork: Finally, Upwork is a great place to find specialized freelance writers. The only thing is that you need to register and to set up your account, including the verification of funds. But, it will give you an enormous pool of writers and a structured way to hire them.
What is great about writing is that you can set up a relatively simple working process. Include the keywords, style expectations, length, and deadline, and you’ll pretty much be able to see straight away if the results are satisfactory.
Rather than having a set content schedule, we continually look for new opportunities to drive traffic over the course of the year. When we find one, we hire online writers to create content in the form of guides, articles, or product reviews. These online writers are a mix of freelancers and content agencies that are experienced in our field. We found the content agencies through a wide range of methods, such as at conferences or through online advertising. Most of the freelancers we knew from previous work and took the time to train them for our niche. They both bring their pros and cons.
For freelancers, it's obviously time-consuming to train them, and there's always the chance that they'll move on to other opportunities. However, after training, they generally produce content that is more in line with what we want due to their familiarity with our site. For content agencies, no training is required and it's easier to send bulk orders. On the other hand, some of the articles can be a bit generic and we can't communicate directly with their writers to offer real-time guidance which can slow things down slightly.
Adam Lumb, EN Site Manager, Casino-Professor.com
Site manager, running on-page and off-page SEO campaigns in English speaking markets.
I’ve found freelance writers through Upwork to be quite good. This may be due to the fact that Upwork is a little more picky with who they allow to use their platform compared to others like Fiverr.
The mistake I made initially was requesting an article of a certain length for a fixed price. I’ve gotten much better results by offering $2 per 100 words on a specific subject and that way the writer isn’t putting in filler content or squeezing too much information in to make the article a very specific length.
Brendan Hal, CEO, TakeFunnels
Brendan is an experienced digital marketer and blogger. He has hired and worked with many freelance writers to produce content for his affiliate blogs.