find freelance content creators

How to Find Freelance Content Creators for Your Publication

As anyone who has ever run a successful publication knows, there’s a make-or-break point when the editor-in-chief has to step away from editorial processes to focus on big-picture issues to keep afloat. This is where freelancers, consultants, and other members of the gig economy are invaluable. Independent content creators are available for specific jobs, during a limited period of time, to accomplish a single goal. Freelancers can be crucial to furthering your publication’s perceived knowledge base and ability to draw in new audiences. But how does one find freelance content creators? How do you know what specialty to look for? How do you know if a freelance content creator is the right fit? To find freelance content creators, you need to understand what you are looking for.

How to find top-quality freelancers

Before you know how to find freelance content creators, you have to ask a few questions. For example, how much content do you have, what kind of content is it, and what is your goal? If you’re looking for the site to look fresh every few hours, that will take capital or, at the very least, time. So now that you know your current status, what would you like to spend your budget on? That’s where knowing your audience and what works comes into play – what types of articles do your readers love? What do they avoid? Are there subjects that are particularly (un)popular? Knowing what works and why isn’t magic – it’s a mix of instinct, analyzing metrics, A/B testing, and luck. Just like anything, finding the sources of that “luck” becomes a skill the more you understand what goes into it.

Find freelance journalists and photographers

Now that you know your projected path, who can help you achieve your goal? Getting to know the playing field is key, but who are the players? Since these freelancers are project-based, a good place to start to find your match with freelancers is with your competitors – both direct and indirect, as well as those who do better in the market and those who do not.

Sources can include websites, magazines, zines, twitter, blogs and even discussion groups. Which freelancers’ work do you admire, and would fit your overall site direction? What do you like about them? Understand what the market looks like for freelancers and content before approaching anyone. Once you understand the market, DM, email, Facebook message or contact the freelancers in any manner possible, but know what you can offer and be educated about what you want.

If you’re willing to put in the effort, a huge win could come in the form of identifying potential diamonds in the rough. Is this potential freelancer a star in the making with the right type of coaching? Do you have the time to devote to help them grow, in return for potentially lower rates on pieces that align with your core ideas? Sometimes the greatest writers just need a push in the right direction, and then you not only have a potential star in your stable, but a devoted and appreciative freelancer as well.

How to pay freelance content creators

And now, the million dollar question… What can you afford? Now that you know what you have and where you want to go, how does the budget factor into that? Knowing your budget is crucial, and will set the direction for how to proceed with freelancers and the type of content you want.

How to price out pieces can be tricky but, like understanding how your site works, is a matter of trial and error as well as instinct. There are no true metrics that exist as to what to pay for a piece, so payment can vary wildly based on the subject matter, demand, type and popularity of the site.

This is where knowing where you sit in the marketplace can help you assess what you want to spend on your freelancers, and for whatever style of content. Who can I hire to produce the best of the style of content I’m looking for? You may know what competitors pay, so make sure to remain competitive in order to keep the best talent.

Alternative ways to pay freelancers

For many starting out, alternative ways of paying freelancers can be a good way to incentivize when the budget is small. For instance, a music-centric site may be able to set up concert tickets, promotional products, or free records as a means of “paying” the freelancers for their service — a circle which can also help freelancers be more involved and informed for future content on your site or elsewhere.

Exclusive parties, short-term job opportunities, meet & greets with fellow industry leaders, and introductions to captains of industry/people within a person’s long term goal can all be excellent ways of helping a freelancer’s career and providing value to them for their time. Alternatively, if the freelancer is someone you trust or believe in and you’d like to involve them in future endeavors, it might be worth offering them a title within the organization, or even shares within the company, as a means of payment.

How to attract and retain freelance talent

One thing that’s underrated when looking to attract freelance talent is making sure you’re not creating too much unpaid work. Freelancers are busy, always having to hunt down new jobs and opportunities. If you have a slow communication process, or an old school, broken invoicing process, you will lose freelancers. While the amount of pay will always be important, making the payment process easier can show that you care. This is what will keep them coming back to generate hit article after hit article.

OutVoice empowers publications to pay their freelance content creators with the same button that publishes the story. Freelancers don’t even need to file an invoice, let alone follow up again and again if they didn’t get paid. The money moves into their bank account in a matter of days. This is how you find freelancers to grow your site.

OutVoice is customizable to your business’s workflow, too. OutVoice’s reporting tool has all of the data needed for your accounting team to close out the books in an orderly fashion.

Cut down back-and-forth processes to a single click — OutVoice automates taxes, onboarding, invoices, W9s, 1099s, and freelancer contract management. To learn more about how your business can pay journalist contractors with tax automation, schedule a demo.