It can be challenging to find good writers, especially if you don’t come from the writing world.
I liken this to looking for a reliable contractor when you’re not in the home-building space or a high-quality designer when you don’t work in design. Where the heck do you start?
Most business owners begin with generic job boards, but I’m here to tell you: that’s a mistake.
While big job boards can be valuable when you’re looking to hire writers, they shouldn’t be your starting point. Not unless you enjoy sifting through hundreds of unqualified applicants to find the good ones.
Your best approach is to lean on niche job boards and communities that cater to the exact type of person you want to hire: freelance writers.
I’ve spent a good chunk of my career hiring writers, both full-time writers and freelancers. I built a database of thousands of freelance writers when I ran a content marketing agency, then hired dozens of staff writers for full-time roles when growing a media company. Now, companies lean on me as a consultant to find, hire and train high-performing writers for their in-house writing teams.
I rely heavily on my network to find the right people, but it’s also good practice to go beyond that. Finding the best people is all about knowing where to look.
In this post, I’ve compiled a collection of places to look for freelance writers, so you can create high-quality content for your blog, business or whatever you need. These are the gems not enough people know about, where people in the writing world go when they want to find reliable freelance writers for hire.
Where you should look first depends on what kind of writer you want to hire, what kind of work you need completed and whether it’s a one-time project or recurring work.
Since niche sites tend to result in higher-quality candidates, I’ve ordered this list from most niche — sites that cater specifically to freelance writers — to general.
For communities, software, job boards and agencies I’d recommend above the others, I’ve added a ⭐.
Here’s where to find freelance writers.
Writing communities are one of the best places to find high-quality writers, because they’re full of writers who are actively investing in their career and looking for ways to learn and improve.
While some groups offer value to all sorts of freelance writers, others cater to writers in a specific niche. Both are worth exploring.
When you share your need for a writer in one of these communities, you’ll meet writers where they hang out, rather than expecting them to find you on a crowded general job board.
Niche groups on Facebook are one of the top spots to find writers who do good work — but it can be challenging to access them if you’re not a writer. Some groups don’t allow people outside their core demographic to join.
Communities that are designed as support groups for writers tend to be more effective for finding high-quality writers than groups that operate as job boards, which often include a lot of spam and therefore have low engagement.
Here are a few groups I recommend:
These are just a few examples. In addition to looking for writing groups, search for groups that cater to your specific industry, whether that’s travel or personal finance or health, and share your need for a writer with that community.
If you find a group you think would result in high-quality candidates but you can’t get access to the group, look for ways to connect with a writer or someone in that core demographic who can post on your behalf. More on that below in the “Ask a writer” section.
Carol Tice’s membership site reaches more than 1,200 freelance writers, and she shares freelance writing opportunities at no cost to the employer. She calls it the “junk-free job board.”
This website is known amongst bloggers as one of the best places to look for blogging jobs. It costs $70 to post on the job board.
Gina Horkey’s Virtual Assistant Finder includes freelance writers. Fill out a brief form explaining what you’re looking for, and she’ll distribute it to graduates of her freelance writing success course. It’s free for employers. I’ve used this service to hire a Pinterest VA and was impressed with the applicants.
Offered by a content agency that has access to nearly 2,000 writers in various niches, The Writer Finder is a service that matches writers with companies that need them. They charge $250 to match you with 3-5 writers, with a 72-hour turnaround.
A directory of writers who have graduated from SmartBlogger.com’s Content Marketing Certification Course. Founder Jon Morrow told me his team vets each writer before adding them to the directory.
Most writers know other writers, and they’re more than willing to tap into their network for anyone who asks, especially if it means work for their fellow writers. If they don’t know anyone who fits what you’re looking for, they might even post your job in writing communities or Facebook groups that are only open to writers.
Here are a few ways to connect with writers who might be willing to share their network with you.
Search for writers who specialize in the topic you need covered, and reach out to them via direct message in the platform, or via their email or website if they list that in their contact information. Don’t just ask if that person is interested in the job; ask if they know anyone who might be.
This platform allows you to pick the brain of experts. Search for an expert in content marketing, freelance writing or editorial, and you might land on someone who has a large network of writers. My Clarity profile is a good example of this. You can buy time chunks as small as 15 minutes.
This takes a bit more ingenuity, but it’s highly effective if you’re willing to put in the time. Find blogs or publications you respect in your industry, and look at the byline to see who wrote the articles. Some of those writers will link to their website or Twitter profile, so you can track them down via those links or Google. If they’re not interested in your gig, ask if they know someone who might be.
A professional contact of mine took this approach for their writing blog by looking at who had written for The Write Life, and emailing that writer. It worked, and that writer eventually turned into their full-time hire.
Many industry associations have job boards, which employers tend to overlook.
Most of the organizations we’ve listed here are for journalists, and journalism is a specific style of writing. While some journalists stick strictly to journalistic work, others put their writing and reporting skills to use for blog posts, company communications and more.
If you’re looking for a writer who can nail an informal blogging voice or craft creative copy, review the journalist’s portfolio to see if they showcase that type of work.
Aside from the first item on this list — which we’ve listed first because it reaches freelance writers specifically — we ordered these associations according to the size of their member base.
You can browse their 2,600 members in their member directory, or post a job for free. The EFA also provides a list of common rates for different types of editorial work, including writing, which is helpful if you don’t know how much to pay.
While you can likely find freelance writers through any of these association job boards, I’d recommend starting with this group because it’s the only one on this list that caters specifically to freelancers. The EFA also supports all types of freelance writers, while most of the other groups we’ve listed here focus on journalists.
This is one of the bigger journalists associations, with 6,000 members. Employers can post a job for $350, which includes the ability to search resumes of some of its members.
With 4,100 members, it’s the largest organization in the nation of journalists of color. The cost to post a job starts at $150.
If you need content around science topics, NASW allows employers to post opportunities to its “jobs bank.” Ads for one-time freelance assignments are free; posts about ongoing work cost $175. Alternatively, you can browse their member database and reach out to writers who look like a fit for your business. The organization has more than 2,300 members.
With 2,000 members, this organization provides support for hispanic journalists. The cost to post a job starts at $150.
Post a job for free to ASJA’s Freelance Writer Search. Those jobs are available to their 1,500 members, who write on all sorts of topics.
With more than 1,500 members, this organization allows employers to post a job for $150.
If you’re looking for a writer who specializes in the health field, AHCJ’s job board might be worth a try. The organization has more than 1,500 members and charges employers $100 to post an opening.
For environmental topics, consider putting a call-out for writers in SEJ’s job board, which is available to their 1,500 members. The cost is $80 per job post.
This association works to foster fair coverage of LGBTQ issues and has 850 members. You have to register for the association to post on its job board.
This organization has 600 members, and the cost to post a job starts at $75.
With 125 members, this is the smallest association on our list and has the highest barrier to entry, which means you’re likely to find good writers. Founder Marcia Layton Turner says she requires professional members (those who receive project leads) to have ghostwritten at least two books. Employers can post a project for free or browse the member directory.
This is the go-to job board for journalists looking for both freelance and full-time work. The cost for a job post is $100.
With positions covering the gamut in media, MediaBistro is used heavily by journalism and public relations professionals. The cost for a job post is $297.
These job boards connect employers to freelancers in a wide variety of fields, including writing.
The pro of using one of these sites is they reach a lot of people who are looking for freelance work. The con is you’ll have to sift through a lot of applications, many of them from unqualified applicants, to find the right hire.
This is one of the leading job boards for remote and flexible employment, both freelance and full-time roles. Employers can submit up to five jobs for free, or purchase a monthly membership that includes unlimited job posts and resume searches for $225/month.
Unlike most of the sites on this list, FlexJobs’ involvement in the project ends once you make your hire; you don’t communicate with or pay freelancers through the platform.
Smaller than the other sites in this category — which can be a good thing when it comes to a job board — this board connects employers with women who work prefer flexible work that can be done from home. The cost to post a job starts at $14.99, and once you make a hire, you move the relationship off the platform.
A marketplace for freelancers, Upwork boasts a huge community of remote workers available for hire. It’s free for employers to post jobs. The company requires you to pay through its platform and retains a percentage of each freelancer’s earnings.
Fiverr is known for helping workers provide $5 services or products, but the platform also allows anyone who needs work done to solicit proposals for larger projects. Join the platform for free to browse writer profiles, and Fiverr takes a commission based on the price of your project.
Find, hire and work with freelancers through this platform. It’s free to post a job, but you can upgrade so they identify the best applicants for $150. You’re required to pay the freelancer through the platform, and monthly transaction fees start at $9/month depending on volume.
Another freelancer marketplace that connects clients to people who bill by the hour or project. It’s free to post a job; the company makes money by retaining a percentage of each freelancer’s earnings.
Another big marketplace for connecting and working with freelancers, Freelancer is free to post jobs and review proposals. The company takes a percentage of each freelancer’s earnings.
While these platforms provide excellent opportunities to connect with writers, they’re typically better suited to creating recurring content over time than one-time projects.
These companies generally expect you to work with their writers within their platform, although a few make it possible to search their talent network and then move projects outside their software to execute on your own.
This software helps writers organize their pitches and connect with editors. Unlike the other platforms in this list, Pitchwhiz has more features for participating writers than the editors who want to access them, and users don’t create content within the platform. Sign up as a commissioning editor, and writers will pitch you based on your needs. It’s free.
This content marketing platform helps companies connect with writers. You can use it as a workflow tool, executing your content strategy within the platform, or simply use it to browse “talent,” what the company calls its writers. Subscription fees aren’t available on their website. If you’re not sure how much to pay for writing talent, Contently’s rates database is full of (anonymous) examples of rates for real projects.
Use this platform to connect with writers and then work through the content creation process with them within the site. You can browse writers by topic, and they offer a free trial. It’s $149/month to use the platform, and that does not include the cost of content.
This company offers a software that helps users hire and manage writers, as well as create content. Like several of the other platforms listed here, they specialize in content at scale. You have to become a client to access their talent network, and prices aren’t available on their website.
It’s primarily a resource for public relations professionals who want to find the right journalists to pitch. But because journalists use it as a portfolio site, you can browse those portfolios to find writers in your niche. You have to join to access their media database. They don’t list prices on their website.
This company offers both managed services and a content platform. It’s difficult to decipher from their website how much they charge. Check out their price guide tool, which helps you figure out how much to charge based on type of work, length and other factors.
The platform offers an editing software for writers, as well as training and a way to display an online portfolio. They allow employers to feature job listings for writers for free.
The software connects clients with writers, and you pay freelancers through the platform. The cost to access writers starts at $39/month, and there’s a free 14-day trial. The company also offers managed services.
While niche job boards tend to convert better for high-quality candidates, it’s still worth trying the big boards if you can’t find a writer elsewhere. Here are a few where I’ve heard writers say they’ve found work.
If you don’t have your own editor to manage writers, you might be best off hiring an agency.
Plenty of agencies offer turn-key solutions, handing you completed blog posts or even overseeing all content creation for you. I appreciate this model because I used to run a blog-management agency!
There are lots of editorial and content marketing agencies out there; this is just a small selection of ones I can vouch for or have heard good things about.
This boutique content agency focuses on producing articles based on podcasts. They offer monthly packages or single articles, and you can see their prices right on their website. PodReacher is run by a good friend of mine, Jaclyn Schiff, so I can personally vouch for the quality of their work.
The company is based in the UK, but they have a team of American writers for U.S.-based clients. Their prices are affordable and listed on their website, so you can easily price out your needs.
Led by a former journalist, this agency offers not only content creation, but a variety of other marketing services.
Created by magazine editors, this agency offers a wide range of services, including content creation.
With a focus on storytelling, Storyhackers provides marketing content with an educational bent.
Some staffing agencies work specifically with freelance writers. I don’t have personal experience with this, but Carol Tice offers a list of staffing agencies that work with freelance writers (near the bottom of that post).
Need guidance on how to choose the best writers and work with them efficiently? Here are some tips from Michael Lynch on how to hire content writers.
This post was first published on The Write Life.