Think you need a staff writer to get outstanding content? 7 questions you should answer before you hire.

freelancers or employeesMost of these questions apply to hiring any kind of creative professional, but we’ve focused on the needs of those seeking content writers. 

  1. How many hours of work will they have? If it’s more than 15 hours/week, you might want a regular employee. But if the work you’re hiring for is sporadic or just a few hours a week, outsourcing to a freelancer will probably make more sense than putting someone on payroll.
  2. Do you have all the office space and equipment a new employee would require, such as a phone, a computer, and desk space? If hiring a new employee means crowding your current staff or buying new furniture and equipment, consider an off-site freelancer.
  3. What’s your management style? If you prefer to make assignments and let people accomplish them independently, then a freelance professional is a good bet. If you prefer hands-on management and frequent check-ins, then go with an on-site employee.
  4. Could your marketing materials benefit from a fresh perspective? An employee who deals with your products every day may get bogged down in product details, include industry jargon in their writing, or might even lose the fresh energy needed to market effectively. An experienced freelancer works with many brands, and is adept at quickly distilling a company’s brand and USP into its essence.
  5. What’s the pace of work in your office? A tight schedule means you need your staff to focus on what they do best, so an off-site freelancer (who won’t get caught up in meetings, red tape, or office politics) can often get it done faster.
  6. What level of skills are you looking for—and can you afford them full-time? If you want the quality of creative talent that ad agencies use, but don’t want that talent on payroll in between projects, consider outsourcing to a freelancer.
  7. Do you want the overhead? With a freelancer, your entire red-tape burden is a single 1099 form in January. With an employee, you take on a lot of obligations:
    • Relocation expenses
    • Orientation training
    • Benefits packages
    • Severance packages
    • Early retirement packages
    • Unemployment insurance
    • Workman’s compensation insurance

There will always be some companies who need a full-time content writer on staff. But for most businesses, outsourcing content writing to a freelancer is a great way to generate quality content with no strings attached.

Monelle Smith writes content for online and print marketing at Gemstone Media, Inc. Follow her.

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