Checklist: How to hire a content writer

February 19, 2021


John Thomas

Beware: here there be dragons! From vetting independent writers, to using platforms and content writing services, here's how to hire an amazing content writer in 2021!

So you’re in the market for a good content writer. Congratulations!

And while I’m sure you know all the benefits of attracting your audience with awesome content, finding the right writer for the job isn’t easy:

  • Is the writer familiar with your niche?

  • Do their rates fit your budget?

  • How are you even going to manage them?

Fortunately, you’ve got a friend in me, and today, I’ll show you exactly how to hire a content writer; from using online marketplaces and vetting writers, to leveraging content services to get amazing content in just a few days.

We’ve got this!

1. Direct Outreach and Referrals: How to

Hire, Vet, and Manage a Content Writer

To paraphrase the greats: you can go your own way. In this particular case, I mean finding a particular writer you like somewhere online or getting a recommendation.

Sometimes it really looks like this 🙁

How to Find a Great Writer on Your Own

First, pay attention to the bylines in articles you read online. If the bio states that the author is a writer, look them up. Chances are, they have a website.

Alternatively, you could ask around for recommendations – especially if you have friends who operate in a niche similar to yours. They might have someone good they can recommend.

Finally, content writers are very – very – familiar with SEO, so looking up a term such as: “B2B content writers” or “[your niche] content writer” will result in lots of websites of writers who’ve done their optimization right.

How to Vet a Content Writer

When vetting a content writer, pay attention to:

  • Their skill level

  • Their experience

  • Their reviews

Every good content writer has samples, i.e. portfolio, so make sure you get some coffee and dive into it to see who you could be working with. Pay attention to the flow, technical information, readability, grammar, and spelling.

(If their paragraphs are so long that you can barely focus, your audience won’t want to focus either.)

It really helps to work with a writer who has experience in your particular niche. I’m not saying that someone who’s spent a lot of time writing for B2B audiences won’t know what to do with a B2C article, but industry experience matters a lot when it comes to technical, legal, medical, and similar content pieces.

For example, if you work with Draft writers, you’ll work with writers who have experience in your industry. And they’re pre-vetted so you can kick back, relax, and get your content in a few days!

Communicating with Your Content Writer

Once you’ve found the right person, it’s time to talk details, AKA: budget and schedule.

When it comes to content writing, you’ll see all kinds of rates. From squint-and-ask-is-this-even-possible rates, to rates that will make you sputter and ask: “Am I in the right industry?”

Realistically, you can expect quality blog content to be at least $0.50/word, with more complex pieces that require niche knowledge and research reaching up to as much as $2/word.

So make sure you communicate about your scope, budget, and schedule thoroughly. Turnaround depends on every writer. If they need a few days for a 1,000-word piece, then you need to factor that into your decision. Volume also counts (but you’ll rarely get a discount).

(If this sounds bewildering, skip straight to the second section – using a content service.)

Some freelance writers charge per hour or offer flat fees. I recommend working out a flat fee with your writer after determining the scope of the project.

Ultimately, you want to be clear on what you’ll get, when you’ll get it, and how much you’ll pay. Make sure you sign a contract so you’re both protected.

If you’re not giving them a byline (i.e. they’re not mentioned as the author), work in a section on intellectual rights. Can they share the work they’ve done for you? Are they ghostwriting?

All of this matters and it needs to be in your contract.

How to Manage a Content Writer

If you’ve hashed out the specifics in the beginning, you won’t have to manage them that much. Often, email and uploading your brief to Notion is enough.

However, you should also agree on milestones (especially for longer projects) so you can review their work and course-correct if necessary.

Make sure you announce new content requests in time so they can adjust their schedule. Otherwise, you may not get your content in time. If possible, create a content calendar.

Editorial calendars are a must if you need a steady stream of content

If you want to work with a writer on a regular basis, it’s not uncommon for them to insist on a retainer – a flat free that guarantees they’ll be available.

Of course, this only applies if you’re working with a highly professional content writer. Still, something might pop up, and they might not be able to deliver their content in time, so it’s a bit of a risk.

Checklist: How to Hire a Content Writer on Your Own

  • Find a content writer: online, referrals, publications

  • Vet a content writer: skills, experience, reviews

  • Communicate: scope, budget, turnaround

  • Manage: discuss specifics, create a content calendar, stay in touch

2. The Easiest Way to Hire a Content Writer:

Content Services

If you want to get content without spending weeks trying to find the right person, vetting them, and making sure you’re on the same page, you can get your content through content services.

Some content services make the process unnecessarily complicated – you still have to go through the vetting song and dance, but you pay for it extra.

Garden variety content services: make them work to find, vet, and manage writers, but take your cut on top of it! 😉

However, Draft makes it really easy to get content from a professional writer:

  • Submit a content request with all the details

  • Draft assigns the right (pre-vetted) content writer

  • You receive your content in a few days!

If you need the writer to edit something, you can submit a revision request for free.

How to Get Content from Draft

All you have to do to request content is fill out our content brief. The brief replaces hours of communication, long email threads, and countless Slack messages.

  • Article title/summary (e.g. 10 Ways to Promote Your Business on Social Media)

  • Length (e.g. 1000 words)

  • Intent (e.g. Inform/describe)

  • Style/tone (e.g. Friendly)

  • Audience (e.g. Small business owners)

  • Narrative perspective (e.g. 1st person plural – “We”)

  • Dialect (e.g. US English)

  • Type (e.g. Blog post)

  • Description (e.g. Please write a listicle on 10 ways to promote small businesses on social media with examples!)

  • Examples (add links to articles that you’d like your writer to emulate)

  • References (add links to other content like studies and reports)

  • SEO keywords (e.g. Small business marketing)

  • Comments (e.g. Please use statistics from Forbes)

This way, you’ll give your Draft writer everything they need to know to write an awesome piece!

Do I Need to Vet and Manage Draft Writers?

Nope! We do it for you.

For example, if you’re looking for content about web development, your request will go to writers who have a technical background and wrote similar pieces in the past. We have hundreds of writers with different areas of expertise, so you’ll get the right person for the job.

Our team also pre-vets all the writers so you’re getting the top 1% of content writers.

If you liked a writer’s piece, you can continue to work with them in the future.

And as content writers, we know you want to see some samples.

Sassy? Check. Engaging? Check. “Show me the numbers!” Consider ’em shown!

What Kind of Content Can I Get?

Draft offers all kinds of high-quality content:

  • Blog posts and articles

  • Landing page and website copy

  • Email marketing copy

  • Social media posts

And more!

Draft Pricing and Turnaround

Draft is actually a content service starting at just $30 for 300 words.

Our writers love the fact that they can get a lot of work without having to manage clients themselves, so you’re getting access to high-quality writers who normally charge a lot more.

Need more content? No problem. You can check out our pricing calculator right here and find the right plan for your needs.

Finally, you’ll get your content within a few days.

Normally, it takes our writers 3-5 business days per 1,000 words to do their research and craft an incredible piece.

Checklist: How to Hire a Draft Writer

  • Sign up for Draft and decide how much content you need every month

  • Submit a content brief with all the details

  • Make some coffee and make some grand plans

  • Get your content in a few days!

3. Other Ways to Hire Content Writers

Online Freelance Marketplaces

Finally, you can also visit some of the most popular freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour to find the right fit.

You can approach it the same way you’d find a writer independently, or you can post an offer.

Since these marketplaces offer plenty of filters, you can find the right person for the job and see their reviews. However, things can get a bit tricky since you’re not allowed to communicate with them outside of the platform, and the rates are higher since the platforms take their own cut.

The other option is posting an offer. This way, writers will come to you.

I’ve seen people get hundreds and thousands of proposals for a single offer which is just… a lot.

I can still see all those proposals in my dreams

If you do decide to take that route, pay attention to the writers’ proposals: do they sound like a template, or have they taken the time to study your requirements and come up with a great proposal?

You’ll likely get some proposals that offer ridiculously low rates. While these can be tempting, steer clear of them.

Since online marketplaces are unregulated, freelancers can pass off plagiarized content as original content. Chances are, you’ll have to spend quite a bit of your time editing the results.

Of course, you’ll have to vet and manage the writer yourself, as well as make sure they deliver the content in time.

Buy Pre-Written Content

There are certain content platforms where writers sell their original pieces. Instead of working with a writer to create a unique piece, you can buy some of the pieces they haven’t sold.

There are a lot of problems with this method. Most importantly, you’re not getting something customized to your audience.

I firmly believe in getting more bang for your buck. If you’re paying, you want to make sure your content is perfectly suited to your business.

When you buy pre-written content, this is not an option.

Do You Need an In-House Writer?

This is a really personal decision, and it depends on your business. However, in the vast majority of cases, hiring a full-time content writer is a huge and unnecessary expense.

If you’re producing thousands of words of content every single day, then yes – you might need an in-house writer.

If you’re a media company, I’d recommend it.

But if you use content to promote your business, it’s much better to sign up for Draft and get all the content you need.

You can start off with a few thousand words per month, and then scale.

Checklist: Other Ways to Hire Content Writers

  • Use a platform like Upwork, find the right writer, or post your offer

  • Buy pre-written articles

  • Hire an in-house writer

  • Be mindful of quality and potential issues


For the best places to hire content writers without breaking bank, check out our overview of the best freelance writer hiring sites for 2021.

What’s the Best Way to Hire a Content Writer?

Sometimes, finding the right person is a lot like finding your soulmate: you don’t cut corners when you’re looking for The One.

So think of Draft as your content Tinder.

(Or, well… A more wholesome version of Tinder.)

With affordable pricing, great quality, and incredible ease of use, Draft is the best way to hire a content writer in 2021 and beyond.

So, what do you say?

Where should we fly your content to?

Request your first article today

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

Get Started