So, you’re looking for a writer. Specifically, you’re looking for someone who can lure eyeballs to your website with words, the same way the Pied Piper can lure children away from Hamelin with music. That’s great! Even with the advent of robot journalists, there’s nothing quite like giving the human touch to virtual copy.
For that reason, you don’t want a writer who writes like she or he just wants to get the whole thing over with. You want someone who genuinely cares about the “what”, the “how”, and the “why” of your message.
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And, quite frankly, you won’t find too many of these people on sites like Odesk, Elance, and Guru. (Even if you do find them, it’s pretty likely that their skills are worth much, much more than $5/hr.) You’ll make better use of your time searching for writers in places like:
Websites for Writers
Unless you’re a writer yourself, you probably don’t go anywhere near these sites. After all, what use would you have for blog posts like “How to Smash Writer’s Block to Bits” or “How to Schedule Your Writing Time?“
But if you don’t at least take a look at the bylines behind the aforementioned posts, you’ll be missing out on some mad writing skills. Writers usually lurk on sites like the ones on The Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers for their daily dose of writing tips. Occasionally, they write a guest post or two for those sites, so they can add a handful of pieces to their portfolio and show the world that “writer” isn’t just a meaningless badge they brandish around for the heck of it.
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Aside from (guest) posting on writers’ websites, writers also let loose in these websites’ comments sections. Unlike most, these comments sections tend to be well-moderated, so there’s little to none of the usual vitriol you find in those places.
Also, the writers have links back to their own websites – either through their username or an in-comment link formatted as “(username) recently posted (blog post title) – so it won’t be difficult to check their stuff out and drop them a line.
Blogs in Your Niche
Okay, maybe wading through post after post about “how to write when you don’t feel like writing” isn’t in your wheelhouse. Maybe you want someone who talks less about writing and more about… a non-writing related thing that you want to write about. Does that make sense?
In that case, Google “(your niche) + blog”, and see if you can find any good leads from there. If you’re already following a blog in your niche (which you should do, by the way!), you may already have a writer who stands out to you in some way. Feel free to let them know that you have work available for them, because chances are they’ll be happy about the offer!
Then again, maybe the writer you want isn’t available. That can be quite a letdown, not to mention a testament to that writer’s skill (why else would she or he be in demand?). What you can do is ask that writer if she or he knows someone else she or he can send your way.
By the way, it’s a good sign if a writer can – or will – refer someone to you. It means (1) the writer does everything she or he can to help clients, even indirectly; (2) the writer makes the time and effort to connect with others, which is a basic but valuable marketing skill; and (3) you made a good enough impression as a client to warrant referrals to people that the writer likes and trusts.
LinkedIn isn’t the only place to find writers (although it’s certainly one of the best places). Savvy writers also set up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and even Google+ pages to let people know about their services.
If you type “freelance writer” in the search bars provided by these social networking sites, you’re bound to get a good lead or two. You can also comb through Facebook groups, filter Twitter hashtags for writers, or make a public post about your need for a writer.
“Where there’s written content, there are writers.” Keep that in mind while you search, and you won’t give up so easily if you’ve been online for hours and you still haven’t found “the one”. Writers have a knack for hanging around in the most unlikely places (because, hey, we’re a weird bunch), so keep your eyes peeled. Just like magic, you never know when or where these people might appear!
Finding the writer you want in the above-mentioned places can take more effort than you’re used to. But when you do manage to find that writer, your efforts will be nothing compared to what the writer can bring to your table: greater website traffic, stronger customer relationships, and, above all, a major boost in your self-confidence as an entrepreneur.
Do you have any stories to share about good writers, and how you found them? Share away in the comments section!