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Finding a great writing staff can seem as elusive as the mythical Phoenix, but it doesn’t have to be. In this guest post Melissa of “This Freelancer Life” digital magazine provides a glimpse into the process of hiring the right people for your digital publishing venture.

There’s so many talented writers that share your vision and the direction that you want to go with your content, it’s just a matter of finding them and knowing what to look for to find a stellar one. The magic happens in a digital magazine when an amazing team meets a great idea. This article will focus on where to find writers for your digital magazine and what to look for in their application.

Available Places to Find Writers

Most of the freelance writers I’ve employed have either been through:

  • Elance.com
  • Odesk.com

For This Freelancer Life digital magazine, all my staff writers are employed through Odesk.com. Using one service for all of your writers allows for ease of bookkeeping and more control over communications. Odesk has great reporting options that makes it simple to keep track of hours and wages for any given time period. Both freelancer sites help keep both parties honest. If you choose to employ someone on an hourly rather than a per-project basis, you can verify work done using their work diary. It also protects the freelancer if suddenly the client decides not to pay once a project is over.

1. The cover letter

Part of choosing staff writers is selecting those that perform their due diligence and research the client or job position before choosing to submit a proposal. Requiring a cover letter will eliminate those who send their resume to every potential client without any discretion; rather, it will ensure that the candidates you choose to investigate further are truly dedicated to working for your team.

2. Make sure they share your vision

Throughout the entire proposal, the candidate should share a vision that is akin to the one that you have for your magazine. Having a staff member that deviates from your vision threatens the unity of the entire staff, and that has the potential to threaten the stability of many projects.

3. Choose a team player

Having someone on your team that lacks the diplomacy, work ethic and empathy necessary to be part of a team could also threaten the unity of the team. Make sure than everyone on the team not only plays nicely with others, but is able to take instruction and receive constructive criticism.

4. It’s all in the portfolio

The most important part of the job application is the portfolio. I’ve had people submit article to me that had blatant spelling errors that spell-check could have easily picked up. These are the people that don’t get hired. You want to select a candidate who has taken the time to edit the work in their portfolio, and whose portfolio accurately represents the depth and breadth of their talent.

5. Stick to your budget

Make sure that the writers you select closely match your budget. The last thing you want is to go broke because you found out that you hired too many high-priced writers and now you can’t pay them. Make an hourly or per-article budget and stick to it. Don’t pay even the most experienced writers on your team more than your budget.


How To Hire a Freelance Writer

Try to get writers on your team that write articles on a per-article basis rather than an hourly basis. The only exception I have for this on my team are for writers who I know are so fast that it wouldn’t make a difference either way.

Follow these tips and hopefully you’ll amass a team of writers as talented, passionate and dedicated as mine for This Freelancer Life.

Melissa Van Hoorne is a freelance Executive Assistant and Editor and Co-founder of “This Freelancer Life”, an innovative mobile digital magazine for freelancers, by freelancers.