Hiring a freelance copywriter: The ultimate step-by-step guide

February 5, 2021


John Thomas

Hiring the right freelance copywriter can be tough. In this five-step guide, we demystify the steps to finding great writing talent.

So, you are looking to grow your small business? That’s great news! Digital marketing is a logical option for sharing who you are and what you do but nowadays pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be costly.

Fortunately, there’s a low-cost alternative that not only establishes but strengthens your business visibility and, by association, your overall brand. Enter content marketing.

Content marketing is one of the most practical and beneficial marketing strategies used today. It involves the creation and distribution of online content to earn interest in your overall brand.

That said, in order to achieve quantifiable marketing results and increase traffic flow to your site, you will require fresh, up-to-date content. But hiring a full-time copywriter for your business might not be practical or financially feasible. If that’s the case, outsourcing your content marketing workload to a specialized freelance writer may be the perfect solution—and, finding a company that specializes in freelance content creation has never been easier.

1) Identify the Skills Needed 

Depending on your industry and strategy, the writers you work with may need specific skills. For example, if you’re a web design agency, you might look for a writer who specializes in landing pages. Or, if you’re a business looking to grow your social media presence, a writer experienced in short but impactful copy might be best. Jot down the characteristics and skills required for your specific project or initiative.

If you have a diverse set of writing needs, consider Draft. We work with writers of all kinds, saving you time and effort when it comes to finding great writing talent.

2) Use These Platforms to Find a Writer


Some writer platforms leverage technology to make the writer search easier for you. For example, Draft uses several technologies to streamline how you find and work with great writers.

  • Competitive keyword tools ensure you don’t miss any keyword opportunities when building the brief for your writer.

  • Unique algorithms match you with the ideal writer for your specific content request to ensure the writer wants to work on your particular job and has the industry-specific expertise to deliver quality work.

  • Our quality tools check for readability and even check for plagiarism so you get a high-quality, bespoke piece every time. 

  • We facilitate virtual payments so you never have conflicts about missed or delayed payments. 

The freelancers on Draft—described as an Uber-like network of talent—rely heavily on a ratings system in order to grow: writers accrue ratings for each project, and those who dip below a four-star standing are removed from the pool. It’s that simple. You are all but guaranteed quality work from professionals who thrive to stay at the top of their game.  


Crowd Content is another tool for those looking to use freelancers—this one boasting of a worldwide pool of writers and specialists from various fields, including social media, blogging and website content creation.

Their cost structure is focused more on per-word, with rates ranging from 2.2 cents/word for entry level talent, up to 12 cents/word for writers deemed “experts.” Unlike other sites, Crowd Content actually offers lower rates for low quality work—a perfect, cost-effective option for those businesses that are perhaps just starting off with a limited budget and a smaller audience.


Some businesses have luck finding writers on LinkedIn which makes sense as a platform built for professional networking. You can search job titles, companies, and even specific geographies. That said, LinkedIn can be a crowded and noisy space between new job announcements and job listing. You’ll be up against fierce competition for the best freelance writers.


UpWork is certainly a popular option, having garnered praise in various international publications. UpWork offers top-tier freelance talent from across a vast spectrum of industries—from content writers to graphic designers to web developers, even chartered accountants.

Clients sign up for a free account and, after answering a few comprehensive questions about their personal and business expectations, they post a job. UpWork then searches their database of talent and provides the client with a shortlist of freelancers based on corresponding skillset and experience.

UpWork allows their clients to pay freelancers directly—by the hour, or at a fixed rate for entire projects. They even have a licensed escrow service which releases funds once pre-set milestones are met.

3) Review your Writer’s Expertise

If you choose to go it alone instead of leveraging a content creation platform that vets writers for you, you’ll want to check writer credentials before you kick off any work. To get a sense of their quality and experience, look for:

  • A LinkedIn profile or portfolio showcasing the writer’s work: Don’t just take their word for it, read their writing yourself.

  • Reviews or testimonials from previous clients: You should be wary of writers who don’t have these publicly available or who don’t have them to send when asked. 

  • Certifications or credentials: Refer back to the list of skills you drafted in step 1. Does the writer have certifications in SEO, editing, or other relevant fields?

4) Brief Your Writer

Once you have decided on a freelance writer or content creation platform, your next step will involve communicating your content needs.

Copywriters love briefs because they provide specific details about your audience, your objective for the content, your brand guidelines, and more! Ultimately, the better the brief, the better your content. Be as informative as possible.

Here are some details to include in a content brief for freelance writers:

  • Audience or Personas: Who will be reading this content

  • Dialect:  If your content is in English, should the writer prefer American, British, or Australian usage?

  • Deadlines: When do you need the first draft, revisions, and the final piece?

  • Examples: What existing examples that would help the writer understand your request?

  • Format: Where will your content ultimately live? (For example: social media, web landing page, print, etc.)

  • Overview of your business: This will help the writer develop a better understanding of what you need and how they can deliver. For example, is there a new business line you’re pushing? The writer can include this in the piece. 

  • Research Links: Where should the writer consider looking for quality insight? 

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): What keywords or meta data should be considered?

  • Style: What’s should the overall tone or tense of the content be? Does your brand have a firm stance on the oxford comma?

  • Topic description: What would you like written? Try to get descriptive and think about an angle. For example, “A listicle of top coffee brands” is fine, but “A listicle of 10+ women-owned espresso roasters in Europe” is even better!

If you think that you might be sharing too much information, that’s rarely the case. If any pertinent information is missing from your brief, your copywriter will be sure to follow up, and services like Draft encourage freelancers to ask plenty of questions to get the content right. 

5) Keep it Going

Once you’ve received the final piece, you’ll have a sense of whether your writer is someone you want to work with long term. If so, you may want to set expectations for how much work you’ll send their way. This way, they can carve out time for your content each production cycle. 

Platforms like Draft let you set preferred writers so that your briefs consistently go to the writers you like best. And even if they’re busy, our algorithm can match your content request to another well qualified writer, eager to work with you. If you opt to manage freelancers directly, you may need to work with several to balance the ebbs and flows of a dynamic content program.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the common denominators to best-in-class marketing are content quality and frequency. Delivering unique, high-quality content on a regular basis is what tells your audience as well as search engines that you know your stuff and can be trusted with their business. Hiring a freelance copywriter to assist with your content marketing strategy is a ticket to greater engagement and all-around SMB success.

Still need some inspiration? Here are some valuable tips on how to build an effective content marketing strategy.

Drive ROI for your content efforts.
Hire a vetted writer on Draft

Get Started