Beware of Freelance Writing Imposters

7 09 2010

Many small business enterprise will hire freelance writers for their website content and to compose articles for directory submissions or press releases for syndication. Although most entrepreneurs excel in their own industry, with a high level of expertise regarding their own products or services, they often are swindled by unscrupulous individuals claiming to be professional SEO copywriters. After contracting with a writer, and frequently tendering a monetary deposit on a project, they are amazed to receive what amounts to childish compositions that are grammatically incorrect, contain misspellings and punctuation errors.

If the contracted project was for content on your business website, this cacophony of illiterate verbiage is not going to win you new clients or sell your products. In fact, visitors to your site may view the abhorred text contained therein as a reason to defer to one of your online competitors.

There are some simple strategies to employ to ensure the freelance authors you engage are actual competent writers by profession.

Verify references – most professional freelance writers are willing to supply you with a list of their business clients. Contact each reference and elicit information about quality of their work, pricing and delivery schedules.

Request to view their blog posts – many, if not most of today’s most sought after freelancers maintain one or more blogs. Ensure you visit the blog of your potential writer.

Inquire about their academic background – most business owners want eloquently composed English copy for their websites that entices readers to purchase their products or contract for their services. For grammatically correct, fluent English copy that reads and flows well, you need to engage a US/UK writer. The label of US/UK writer infers that English is their first language and that they were raised and educated in the US or UK academic systems. This is not to say those foreign born individuals or those who have learned English as a second language, are unable to attain a command of the English language. However, many of them never achieve that level of literacy.

Visit the writer’s website – many US and UK writers and authoring services maintain websites to promote their services. Request the URL from the potential writer or service and spend some time navigating their site. Many offer writing samples, client testimonials and references posted for public viewing.

Request writing samples – aside from various postings on the web, have the prospective writer submit several samples in Ms Word format of previous copy for a genre similar to your project. If you are contracting for articles, request article samples; if contracting for web page content, request website copy samples.

 Start with a small test project – If you need content for an entire website or a bundle of 50 articles, initially contract for a smaller project. Negotiate with the writer or authoring service to purchase a single page or 500 words of home page content or for a single article. If satisfied with the submission and turnaround time, then execute a contract for the larger project.

 If you utilize these screening methodologies, you will dramatically increase your chances of procuring a true professional US/UK freelance writer for your next project. Revenue generation is the major purpose of your company’s website, so it is imperative that the copy posted there is factual, well-written and grammatically correct. Taking the time to vigilantly review a prospective author’s CV can save you time and resources in the long run.

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