With so many places to hire a writer, how do you know which one to use?

To find out, I tested 17 different freelance platforms, content services and writing job boards.

In the process, I reviewed 359 articles from hundreds of writers.

34% of the articles were either plagiarized or “spun.” (Which could have been a legal risk if I published them.)

Another 18% were AI-written nonsense.

Plus, many writers hid links to spammy blogs in their articles.

But in the end, I found a few excellent websites for hiring writers and outsourcing content.

Read on.

The Best Places to Find Writers Online: 5 Top Picks

Based on all my testing and experience, here are the very best places to hire a writer online.

(Along with links to my full review of each.)

Best freelance platform: Upwork.

Upwork

Upwork probably has the single largest pool of writing talent in the world.

As a freelance platform, its rating system and built-in payment processing make it easier to use than job boards. Plus you can find other types of freelancers there too. (Like proofreaders and graphic designers.)

I’ve hired dozens of freelancers on Upwork over the years.

In my research for this article, I hired two writers to each write a 1,200-word blog post. One charged $0.10 per word and the other charged $0.40 per word.

The cheaper writer was actually the better one: I’d give his content quality of 3.5 out of 5. That’s good enough for most blogs. And $0.10 per word is a great price for that quality.

Writing quality: I’d rate the best writer I found at a 3.5 out of 5 (for $0.10 per word).

Price: Most writers on Upwork charge $0.01 – $0.40 per word. 

Speed: You can easily receive 100+ applications within days of your job listing. 

See my experience with and full review of Upwork below, here.

Best writing jobs board: ProBlogger Jobs.

Problogger logo 3x

ProBlogger Jobs is one of the most popular writing jobs boards available.

Like other job boards, using ProBlogger Jobs is very DIY.

There is no rating system for applicants, and its system for managing applications is very basic. So the hiring process with ProBlogger Jobs is harder than with freelance marketplaces.

You also need to watch out for plagiarism and “spun” content when you use ProBlogger Jobs.

But it’s a great place to find quality freelance and full-time writers. 

Note: Reddit’s writing jobs board, r/HireaWriter, is a great free alternative. If you’re going to post a job on ProBlogger Jobs, I would take the extra 10 minutes to post it on r/HireaWriter also.

Writing quality: Ranges from 1 to 3.5 out of 5.

Price: $75 for a 15-day job post. Writers expect fees of $0.05 – $1 per word (mostly toward the lower end).

Speed: I received 32 applications in 24 hours, and 53 in 7 days.

See my experience with and full review of ProBlogger Jobs below, here.

Best high-quality writing service: Express Writers.

Express writers logo

Based on my testing, Express Writers is the best way to access high-quality writers without having to hire and manage them directly.

I found their higher-end “Authority Content” offered 4 out of 5 quality for a cost of $0.30 per word.

That’s more expensive than most options. But it’s also far better quality. It’s good enough to meet or exceed the standards of most blogs.

In fact, it’s the highest-quality writing I’ve found on any platform.

The only catch is that your project can get delayed if you don’t stay on top of the approvals process. Which isn’t always clear.

Writing quality: 4 out of 5.

Price: From $0.09/word for general blog posts, up to about $0.30/word for well-researched authority content. Or $0.40 – $1 per word for other content types, like conversion copywriting and video script writing.

Speed: Delivered in four days (if you review and approve things quickly).

See my experience with and full review of Express Writers here.

Best cheap and fast writers: WriterAccess.

Writeraccess png walogo1200x1200

WriterAccess is a good bet for businesses that want decent-quality content without having to manage individual writers. It’s my favorite mid-tier content mill/service.

It also lets you add writers you like to your “love list” in order to work with them again. Which can help keep production quality consistent.

I found WriterAccess’s top-tier, “6-star” content offered 3 out of 5 quality for a cost of $0.15 per word. That’s a bargain price for content that’s good enough for most blogs.

But since a $39/mo account is required to access the platform, WriterAccess works best when you have ongoing content needs.

Writing quality: 3 out of 5.

Price: $0.02 – $0.15 per word for basic blog content, up to $1 – $2 per word for technical writing and conversion copywriting. Plus a required $39/mo membership.

Speed: Delivered in 4 days.

See my experience with and full review of WriterAccess below, here.

Best low-budget content mill: iWriter.

Iwriter logo

For an even cheaper option than WriterAccess, iWriter gets my recommendation.

As a budget content mill, iWriter’s focus is on quantity — definitely not quality.

But the price is hard to beat.

And if you find someone you really like working with on iWriter, the platform lets you invite them to fulfill future orders.

I found iWriter’s most expensive “Elite Plus” content to be 1.5 out of 5 quality. At a cost of $0.07 per word. So it’s a good fit for affiliate blogs that don’t have strict quality requirements.

Writing quality: 1.5 out of 5.

Price: From $0.008 (under a penny) to about $0.07 per word.

Speed: Delivered in 5 days.

See my full experience with and review of iWriter below, here.

Full Reviews: All 17 Places to Hire a Writer

Now, keep reading for my detailed experiences with all 17 places to hire writers online.

Including excerpts of the writing I received from them.

Or:

For a step-by-step process for hiring writers, see the last section of this post. It features a job post template for attracting top-notch talent, a method for quickly filtering out bad writers and plagiarists, and more.

Freelance Marketplaces for Hiring Writers

Freelance sites are some of the most popular places to hire writers online.

They make the hiring process easy:

  • Large pools of talent = lots of applicants to most jobs.
  • Freelancer star ratings and reviews help you choose between candidates.
  • You can pay and hire directly through the freelance site.

But some sites are much better than others.

Here are my reviews of the top freelance sites for hiring writers.

1. Upwork

Upwork content writers for hire

Upwork is the largest online freelance marketplace, with over 12 million freelancers.

It has writers for pretty much any need you could have.

Including SCUBA-diving SEO copywriters, comedy writers from The New Yorker, Emmy-winning script writers, former Fortune 500 C-level executives who now ghostwrite, and more.

But because it’s so big, using Upwork is like finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily, there are tricks to make that much easier.

Overall, it’s a great place to hire a writer — ​if you know how to use it.

Pros and cons of Upwork: 

✅ Huge, diverse pool of writers, editors and proofreaders.

✅ Lots of applicants to every job.

❌ Every job receives lots of low-quality applicants.

❌ Can be hard to compare prices, since most freelancers don’t list their per-word fees.

❌ Some freelancers simply post your job on a content mill, plagiarize, or use an AI writing tool.

Price: Writers on Upwork list their hourly rates, but the majority prefer to charge by the project or word. Most charge between $0.01 – $0.40 per word (or $5 – $100 per hour) for blog posts and articles. Or up to $5+ per word or $200+/hour for conversion copywriting or specialized content that requires technical expertise.

Verdict: Upwork is my favorite place to find freelance writers. But to use it effectively, you need a process for filtering out low-quality applicants. (See the “How To Hire a Writer” section below for my process.)

Full Upwork review and experience:

When I tested Upwork for this review, I posted a job for a 1,200-word blog post on the subject “how to write a content brief.” With the promise of ongoing work if I found a writer I liked.

Upwork recommends paying $30 – $60/hour for expert-level content writing. I offered $400 as a flat fee (which comes out to $0.33 per word). And I set my job post to allow U.S. applicants only. ​​

I received 30 applications within 48 hours of posting the job.

(Note: you can receive 100+ applications in that time if you don’t limit your job to U.S. applicants. But naturally it will take longer to sift through them.)

Only seven applicants followed the instructions in my job post, which made it easy to filter out the other 23.

I hired the two best applicants to complete the project. Both had job success ratings of over 95%.

Results:

The first writer delivered his article in seven days. He said his rate for ongoing work would be $0.10 per word.

The article:

  • Was full of good information, delivered via concise sentences and simple paragraphs.
  • Used examples to make its recommendations more clear.
  • Even included some good screenshots, which I didn’t ask for.

It was also 1,903 words long: well beyond my 1,200-word minimum. Giving me plenty of room to edit it down if needed.

However:

  • The writing didn’t always flow naturally from one point to the next.
  • For a how-to article, too much of the guidance was vague or incomplete. Making it less actionable.
  • And it didn’t include contextual links to related resources (which would have helped make up for the vague guidance).

Overall, the first writer’s content quality was a solid 3.5 out of 5. It would fit right in on the average blog. But I’d want to make heavy edits before publishing it on GrowthBadger.

Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Upwork writer 1 excerpt

The second writer delivered her article in three days.

And she said her rate for ongoing work was $0.40 per word.

But even though she was 4x as expensive as the first writer, this second writer was quite a bit worse. 

Her article covered the very basics of the subject well enough for a low-quality blog to publish.

But:

It wasn’t organized in a logical way.

Its focus bounced around.

It included a lot of “fluff,” and often circled back to make the same points again. While just barely meeting my 1,200-word minimum, so I didn’t have enough wiggle room to cut the fat.

And although it was supposed to be a how-to article, a lot of the content was spent describing how to think about the subject. Rather than giving actionable guidance.

Finally, there were a couple of places where the content was “spun” from other articles. Most of the article was original, but to me any plagiarism or article spinning immediately disqualifies a writer.

I’d give her content quality a 2 out of 5. Many content services offer better quality for cheaper.

Here’s an excerpt from her article:

Upwork writer 2 excerpt

This highlights the challenge of freelance platforms like Upwork:

Even if you only work with top-rated writers, you’ll find that the quality varies quite a bit from person to person. And it doesn’t always line up with the writers’ fees. (Or their reviews.)

2. Freelancer

Freelancer.com article writers

Freelancer.com is another general online freelancing marketplace. It’s not quite as big as Upwork, but it still offers access to millions of freelancers.

Pros and cons of Freelancer:

✅ Large pool of freelance writers, editors and proofreaders.

✅ Lots of applicants to each job.

❌ Somewhat lower-quality talent pool compared to Upwork.

❌ All the same weaknesses as Upwork, without any additional strengths. (The “contest” feature is terrible for writing projects.)

❌ Additional $25 “privacy fee” to make a project only visible to logged-in users.

Price: Like on Upwork, writers on Freelancer list their hourly rates, but usually prefer to charge per project (or per word). Most content writers on the platform charge $0.01 – $0.30/word or $5 – $50/hour.

Verdict: I wouldn’t recommend Freelancer. Contests are the only thing Freelancer offers that Upwork doesn’t. And as I found out, contests aren’t a good way to hire writers. So when it comes to freelance marketplaces, I would stick with Upwork (or People Per Hour).

Full Freelancer review and experience:

Freelancer offers one thing that Upwork doesn’t: contests. In which multiple freelancers create something for you “on spec” — you only pay for the best one.

But when I tested this feature, it was a huge waste of time.

I posted two writing contests on Freelancer:

  • One $100 contest for a 500-word blog post ($0.20 per word).
  • And one $25 contest for a shorter blog post outline.

Results:

The $100 blog-post contest received 71 entries in 5 days. And the $25 blog-post-outline contest received 24 entries in 5 days.

That sounds like a great outcome. The problem is that it’s EXTREMELY time-consuming to go through that many pieces one by one.

But how was the quality?

Terrible.

Most of the articles were plagiarized. Either directly copy and pasted, or slightly tweaked with article-spinning software to make the plagiarism harder to detect.

Only a small handful of them were original content. And of those, the best content quality was a 1.5 out of 5. Most entries were even worse. Many were AI-generated.

Here’s an excerpt of one article:

Freelancer article excerpt

The results of the contest for an article outline weren’t any better.

To be clear:

I wouldn’t expect top-quality writers to write a 500-word article for the chance of getting paid $100.

So a higher rate might have attracted some better writers. But it also would have brought in additional bad writers, making it harder to find the good submissions in the pile.

From using Freelancer in the past, I already knew the talent pool wasn’t quite as good as Upwork’s. But I wanted to see if the contest feature might be useful enough to use it.

The answer is no.

3. Fiverr

Fiverr content writers and gigs

Fiverr is a different kind of freelance marketplace.

It’s organized like an ecommerce store. Except that each “product” is a specific service you can buy from someone.

You can see the ratings and reviews for each service, a description of that service, and optional add-ons or different tiers you can choose. Along with estimated delivery times and frequently asked questions.

Pros and cons of Fiverr:

✅ Buying individual services is faster than using traditional freelance platforms.

✅ Clear what you’ll be getting up-front. And for what price.

❌ Most writing services are low quality.

❌ Hard to embed Fiverr writers into your team.

Price: Writers on Fiverr charge per project. It usually comes out to $0.01 – $0.50 per word (mostly on the lower side).

Verdict: I don’t recommend Fiverr for hiring writers. If you want a writer for ongoing work, job boards and other freelance platforms like Upwork and People Per Hour are better options. While if you just need to outsource a single project, content services offer better quality for the price.

Full Fiverr review and experience:

Using Fiverr is a streamlined process, since you don’t have to create a job post and screen applicants. But you still get control over who you’re working with.

On the other hand:

It’s not as easy to create a long-term working relationship with someone from Fiverr. Or to embed them into your team. After all, most Fiverr providers are there to sell “take it or leave it” productized services — not to reach a deep understanding of your business.

I’ve used Fiverr many times for design projects, voiceovers, video transcriptions and more. And it’s usually gone well.

But when I’ve had writing projects done on Fiverr, the results have never impressed me.

For my test this time, I hired an “SEO content writer” to write a 1,000-word article for $135.

At 13.5 cents per word, that’s more expensive than about 80% of the other writers on the site. But it’s still affordable.

The writer promised a seven-day delivery time. But ended up requesting two extensions and turning in the article after nine days.

The content quality was a 2 out of 5: better than the cheapest content mills, like Textbroker. But worse than you can find on other freelance platforms or mid-tier content services.

It wasn’t organized very well.

It contained small grammatical errors and typos, like missing punctuation.

And a lot of it seemed fine at first, but then actually didn’t make sense after a close reading.

Here’s an excerpt:

Fiverr article excerpt

(Written content informs the writer? If you say so.)

And for SEO content, I can’t say the article followed many content optimization best practices. For example, it didn’t use the primary keyword in any subheadings.

4. People Per Hour

Content writers for hire on people per hour

People Per Hour is like a cross between Fiverr and Upwork. You can buy individual services like on Fiverr, or post your own gig for freelancers to apply to like on Upwork.

Pros and cons of People Per Hour: 

✅ On average, freelancers on People Per Hour are higher quality than on other platforms.

✅ Flat-fee individual services are also available, Fiverr-style.

❌ Most People Per Hour freelancers use British English.

❌ Fewer freelancers (and therefore applicants) than Upwork.

❌ Flat-fee individual services are lower quality.

Price: People Per Hour writers typically charge between $0.05 – $0.40/word or $15 – $70/hour for articles. While the flat-fee, Fiverr-style individual services tend to be cheaper (but lower quality), at $0.01 – $0.15/word.

Verdict: People Per Hour is a good platform for hiring freelance writers. (Especially if you don’t mind British English, mate.) Compared to Upwork, People Per Hour has far fewer freelancers. But the overall average talent quality is a little higher, and so is the price.

Full People Per Hour review and experience:

When I tested People Per Hour, the writer I hired plagiarized… but only one sentence. (She copy and pasted the definition of a term without citing the source.)

That’s enough to set off alarm bells. But she said it was accidental: she meant to link to the source.

Other than that, the content quality was a 3 out of 5

The information was fine, and it was organized well. But the writing wasn’t polished at all.

For example, it rambled frequently. Plus that one copy-and-pasted sentence made it hard to trust the rest of the article.

Also, there were one or two Britishisms (like “reckon”).

The quality would be acceptable for the average site with medium-low editorial standards. But I would need to heavily edit or rewrite it before I’d want to publish it on GrowthBadger.

She charged $290 for a ~1,000-word article: $0.29 per word. 

Content Services, Agencies and Mills

Content services, content agencies and content mills are basically the same thing. Just at different pricing tiers.

Some offer more services than others. And some have subscription plans for ongoing content outsourcing.

But they all have one main benefit over freelance marketplaces:

They let you order content directly — without the need to evaluate, hire or manage individual freelancers.

However, there’s a huge amount of variation in content quality from these services. And in the pricing, too: the ones I tested charged between $0.005 (half a cent) and $2+ per word.

As you’ll see, there’s a lot of plagiarism and content spinning at the lower tiers in particular.

Read on for my reviews of Textbroker, iWriter, HireWriters, WriterAccess, Scripted, Express Writers, Compose.ly, Verblio and Constant Content.

5. WriterAccess

Writeraccess content order form

WriterAccess can be used as a content mill or a project-based freelance writing marketplace.

You can let the platform’s “smart match” system automatically choose someone to fulfill your order (like a content mill). Or post a project and have freelancers apply for it (like Upwork).

Pros and cons of WriterAccess:

✅ Inexpensive, but with decent quality.

✅ 5-day turnaround is standard (I got mine in 4).

✅ Can use as a freelance marketplace or as a content mill.

❌ Lower talent “ceiling” than pure freelance platforms like Upwork and People Per Hour.

❌ Requires a $39/month client account, in addition to writers’ fees.

Price: Rates start at $0.02 – $0.15 per word for basic blog writing, up to $1 – $2 per word for technical writing and conversion copywriting. WriterAccess also offers a monthly content creation service for $349 – $749 per month. No matter how you use WriterAccess, you’ll need to pay $39/month for a client account.

Verdict: WriterAccess strikes a great balance of affordability, speed, and quality. It’s not as cheap as budget-oriented content mills. But WriterAccess’s content quality is better. 

Full WriterAccess review and experience:

I tested WriterAccess with an order of their top-tier, “6-star” content. I ordered a 1,600-word article for $240.70 ($0.15 per word). And I used their “smart match” system, so they chose the writer automatically.

It took four days to receive a 1,565-word article back.

The content quality was a 3 out of 5.

It was organized well with H2 and H3 subheadings. And it was structured in a logical order, with genuinely useful information.

(And even a good pun or two.)

But there were a few grammatical errors and typos. And many paragraphs rambled, making it hard to follow at times.

Like this sentence:

“By sending writers a thorough and effective content brief, it significantly increases your chances of getting a draft requiring minimal revisions or none at all, and minimizes time spent going back and forth.”

So the article had decent “bones,” but I’d need to do a lot of editing if I wanted to publish it on GrowthBadger. That said, it would fit in with the average blog post on many sites.

6. Scripted

Scripted order page

Scripted is a mid-tier content writing service.

It’s positioned as a freelance marketplace, but it automatically matches each content order with a writer. More like a content mill.

Pros and cons of Scripted:

✅ No need to assess and hire individual writers.

✅ 18 different types of content are available. Including blog posts, emails, landing pages, ad copy and video scripts.

✅ Includes an editorial review, and visibility into how your content is progressing through Scripted’s workflow.

❌ Requires a $199 per month membership, which only gets you access to the platform. Ordering content costs extra on top.

❌ Subpar content quality for the price.

Price: Scripted starts at $199 per month for access to the platform, plus additional fees for the actual content. Writing fees depend on the content type. For example, blog posts cost $0.13 – $0.19/word, ad copy costs about $0.22 – $0.26/word, and video scripts cost $0.15 – $0.17/word.

Verdict: In this price range, WriterAccess offers better content quality without the $199/month membership fee.

Full Scripted review and experience:

I tested Scripted’s standard blog post length (800 – 1,000 words), which normally costs $134. But I paid an additional $14 to allow only “top rated writers” to work on the project, bringing the total to $148. ($0.18 per word.)

Results:

I received an 821-word article four days after placing my order.

I would give the content quality a 2 out of 5.

On the plus side, the article didn’t have any grammatical errors or typos — probably thanks to the editorial review that Scripted includes.

But the information was all surface-level and vague. Despite being a short article, it was mostly fluff.

It also had some advice that didn’t really make sense.

The topic of the article was “how to write a content brief.” But one of the recommendations was:

“When you start to get your method down, it’s easy to plug these content briefs into a content delivery system, or CDS, that will keep everyone on the same page as you build your library of content collateral for digital and print outreach.”

…That’s not what a CDS is for.

And it’s strange to assume the content would be used for “digital and print outreach.”

So while it’s nice that Scripted has a proofreading process to remove typos from their articles, that isn’t enough to make the content good.

7. Express Writers

Express writers content writing options

Express Writers is a higher-end content-writing service.

Pros and cons of Express Writers:

✅ The best content-writing service I’ve found.

✅ Optional add-on services like keyword research and custom illustrations.

✅ Dozens of options for à la carte content at different prices. Plus a few subscription plans.

❌ More expensive than most content services.

❌ Somewhat confusing reviews and approvals process. 

❌ Unreliable email notification system: three approval requests never made it to me, causing a long delay.

Price: $0.09 per word for general blog posts, up to about $0.30 per word for well-researched authority content. Or $0.40 – $0.50 per word for conversion copywriting, or about $1 per word for video script writing. Monthly plans are also available.

Verdict: Express Writers is easily the best content-writing service I found in all my testing. Particularly the more expensive “Authority Content” option. Just keep an eye on your project dashboard to avoid delays.

Full Express Writers review and experience:

I tested the upgraded “Authority Content” tier of Express Writers, which costs $0.30 per word.

That option also includes keyword research, an editorial review, and custom header images.

I ordered a blog post of 1,500 – 2,000 words for $600. It took four days to get an article back. (Not counting a two-week delay while they waited for my approval. More on that below.)

The final article clocked in at 2,014 words.

And the content quality was an impressive 4 out of 5.

It was organized well, had useful information, and included links to helpful resources.

The writer included a good number of clarifying examples. Most of the advice was specific and actionable, and it seemed to be written by an expert.

It was also pretty concise, for the most part. (Which isn’t usually the case when you’re paying per word.)

Was the article exactly how I would’ve written it?

No.

But it had the best content quality of all the outsourcing options I tested.

Most sites could publish it without any changes. And with some moderate editing and additional screenshots, I could publish it here on the GrowthBadger blog.

Excerpt:

Express writers authority content excerpt

There was one issue with Express Writers.

The content you order from the company can consist of multiple stages. Like keyword research, graphic design and more.

Each time one piece is delivered, your project basically gets paused until you approve it.

Here’s the problem:

I didn’t receive any email notifications to let me know they were waiting on my approval. (Nothing in my spam filter, either.)

This happened three different times. Even after reporting the issue, it happened again.

Since I wasn’t notified that parts of my project were awaiting my approval, the article got delayed by over two weeks. I only found out about it when I manually logged in to check my project dashboard out of curiosity.

8. Compose.ly

About our writers

Compose.ly is a content outsourcing site that’s geared toward white-label work for agencies.

(In other words, marketing agencies outsource their clients’ content work to Compose.ly.)

The company boasts U.S.-based writers with expertise ranging from science and technology to travel, lifestyle, government, nonprofit organizations, law, food, finance, real estate and more.

You can use Compose.ly on a self-serve, per-project basis. Or as a subscription service that starts at $999 per month and includes an editorial review for grammar and SEO.

Pros and cons of Compose.ly:

✅ As a content service, there’s no need to evaluate or manage individual writers.

✅ Multiple brand profiles are a useful feature for agencies.

❌ You can’t choose who to work with.

❌ The article included irrelevant links to other sites.

❌ Not the best content quality.

Price: Compose.ly charges $0.15/word for à la carte articles. Or $999/month and up for their managed service subscription.

Verdict: Compose.ly’s “brand profiles” feature may be useful if you need content for multiple websites on an ongoing basis. But WriterAccess offers better content quality in this price range.

Full Compose.ly review and experience:

When you sign up for a customer account with Compose.ly, you’re prompted to add one or more “brand profiles.” These include your (or your client’s) brand name, industry, description, domain, target audience, preferred tone and more.

Then when you request new content, you’ll choose which brand it relates to.

After that, the company gives your assignment to one of their writers to fulfill.

I tested Compose.ly with an order of one 750-word blog post. Which cost $112.45 ($0.15 per word).

It took 6 days to receive a draft back.

The content quality was a 2.5 out of 5.

The subheadings were all good. And the writer mostly used short sentences and paragraphs, which is rare to see at this price level.

But the majority of the article was filler and fluff. As you can see in this paragraph (about content briefs):

“The content length is a very important factor as it determines the number of words to be used. In order to state the word count, you can include a line like this: ‘Your content should be around 500-600 words long.’ ”

The article also linked to some low-quality blog posts that weren’t very relevant. Which makes me think the writer was also working as a link-builder.

9. Verblio

Verblio content pricing and plans

Verblio is a subscription-based content production service.

It’s basically a content mill like Textbroker or iWriter (both reviewed below). The difference is that Verblio is focused on monthly plans.

When you sign up, you choose how many articles you want per month, and of what length. You can provide your own topics, or have the company suggest ideas.

Verblio will also ask for the tone you’re looking for, who your audience is, and examples of content you like. Then their writers will submit drafts that you can approve, reject, or ask for revisions.

Pros and cons of Verblio:

✅ Subscription plans designed to let you take a “set it and forget it” approach to content development. (In theory.)

✅ Integrations with WordPress and HubSpot.

✅ Optional add-on services like keyword research, proofreading, adding photos, and even creating a basic summary video (using stock footage with article text overlaid).

❌ Both articles I received were plagiarized.

❌ More expensive than other content mills.

❌ You can’t really choose who to work with. (Though you can select preferred writers.)

Price: Verblio’s monthly plans work out to $0.12 – $0.18 per word without add-ons. The base tier includes 300 words of content per month from their regular writers for $34.95. While the top-end tier includes 2,000 words/mo from their “elite” writers for $359.95.

Verdict: Due to the plagiarism issues I encountered, I would definitely avoid Verblio. It’s also more expensive than other content mills.

Full Verblio review and experience:

When I tested Verblio with a 1,000-word article request, two different writers submitted drafts in the first 24 hours.

Both articles were plagiarized.

More specifically, the articles were “spun.” Meaning, they were slightly rewritten in order to make the plagiarism harder to detect. There are many article-spinning tools and AI rewriters for this purpose.

Here’s an excerpt from one submission (bold added for emphasis):

“In simple terms, a content brief is a document in Word or Google doc, or even an email that you send the writer. It includes information the writer requires to produce high-quality articles. When sending the brief, make sure it has all the details about your product, its benefits, and the tone of voice you want.”

Compared to the original article it was stolen from:

“Put simply, the content brief is a document Google doc, Word document, email, etc — that you send over to your writer which should include all the information they need to produce a high quality article.

Ideally, you want your brief to include details about your product, the benefits of using it, details on the tone of voice you want…”

I emailed Verblio support to report the writers.

They told me they had a “zero tolerance” policy on plagiarism, and a few days later let me know they’d suspended both writers. They also refunded me.

However:

Verblio writers can hide individual customer reviews on their profiles.

So assuming the writers who plagiarized are only suspended temporarily, their next clients will never know it happened.

10. Constant Content

Constant content freelance writers

Constant Content lets you outsource your content in two main ways:

  • Buying individual pre-written articles from their catalog. Topics vary, and most are 500 – 1,000 words long. The majority cost $0.05 – $0.15 per word.
  • Ordering custom articles. You can let the company pick a writer for you, or choose one yourself. This costs $0.13 – $0.18 per word. (They also offer a subscription version for enterprises.)

The company offers a few different ways to order custom articles.

There’s a 99designs-style contest option, a freelance marketplace option, and a couple of different ways to get matched to a specific writer.

Pros and cons of Constant Content:

✅ Multiple ways to outsource writing projects.

✅ Catalog of immediately available, pre-written articles.

✅ Decent content quality.

❌ Confusing interface, order process and review process.

❌ No star ratings for writers, making it hard to use as a freelance marketplace.

❌ You have to buy credits before ordering content or posting a gig. So if you don’t find a freelancer you like, your money is stuck with Constant Content.

Price: Varies, but generally as follows. Freelancer marketplace: $0.13 – $0.18/word. Pre-written articles: $0.05 – $0.18/word. Managed service (enterprise): $0.15 – $0.20/word.

Verdict: Constant Content is a decent mid-tier platform for outsourcing your content. But WriterAccess is faster and easier to use, at the same level of quality and price.

Full Constant Content review and experience:

Like I said, Constant Content offers several ways to order content.

I tried the contest method first, which the platform calls “call for articles.” But I only got one submission. And it quickly expired before I could review it.

So next, I tried the “targeted request” function. With this option, the company matches you with a writer with experience in your industry.

Following the platform’s pricing recommendations, I offered $150 – $250 for a 1,500-word article: $0.17 per word. (Strangely, “$250+” is the maximum you can offer for an article of any length.)

After six days, I received a 1,655-word article draft with a quote of $248.

The content quality was a 3 out of 5.

At a high level, it was organized well and hit all the major points I would expect.

However, it tended to ramble and repeat itself.

And some of the guidance was pretty vague. As a how-to article, it would have been better with more specific tips and/or examples.

Here’s an excerpt:

Constant content article excerpt

11. iWriter

Iwriter content order screen

iWriter is a self-service, budget content mill.

The site also gives you the option of inviting specific writers to fulfill your order.

Pros and cons of iWriter:

✅ Streamlined and easy to use. No need to vet or manage individual writers.

✅ 5-day delivery, and cheap.

✅ Standardized pricing across the platform based on skill level.

❌ Low-quality writing, even at the most expensive tier. Probably partly AI-written.

❌ Requires close proofreading and editing.

Price: iWriter’s pricing ranges from $0.008 (under a penny) per word for the cheapest skill level of writing, up to about $0.07 per word for their top-tier “elite plus” writers.

Verdict: I would only use iWriter if you’re okay with low-quality writing. For example, if you run an affiliate websites in a non-competitive niche. It’s fast and cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Full iWriter review and experience:

I tested iWriter by ordering a 2,000-word blog post. I selected their most expensive “Elite Plus” tier, which cost $145. (About $0.07 per word.)

I received a draft article back five days later.

The content quality was a 1.5 out of 5: not good at all. 

The article contained:

  • Vague, rambling paragraphs that seemed designed to hit the word count
  • Two somewhat unnatural links to low-quality content on other sites
  • Grammatical issues and Randomly Capitalized Letters

As well as a general lack of understanding of the topic (how to write a content brief).

However, it did contain a few good nuggets of information.

Here’s an excerpt (the subject was “how to write a content brief”):

Iwriter article excerpt

12. HireWriters

Hirewriters ordering an article

HireWriters.com is another inexpensive content mill. In fact, it’s even cheaper than iWriter.

Beyond blog posts, HireWriters offers different rates for different types of content. Including Facebook page posts, poetry, rewritten articles, and ebooks.

Pros and cons of HireWriters:

✅ Easy to use. No need to vet or manage individual writers.

✅ Very fast and incredibly cheap.

❌ The article I received was plagiarized (“spun”).

❌ Pricing isn’t 100% clear up front.

Price: HireWriters pricing ranges from $0.005 (half a cent) per word for the cheapest “beginner writers” tier, up to about $0.04 per word for the most expensive “expert writers” tier.

Verdict: Due to the plagiarism issue I encountered, I can’t recommend HireWriters.

Full HireWriters review and experience:

I tested HireWriters’s most expensive pricing tier with an order of one 2,000-word article. It cost $90: 4.5 cents per word.

I received a “spun” article back. (Plagiarized from another article, but with minor wording changes.)

Here’s an excerpt from the article I received from HireWriters:

“A content brief is more or less a bridge between content strategist and writer. Because writers cannot read the minds of editors or content strategists…”

And here’s an excerpt from the original article it was stolen from:

“I like to think of the content brief as the bridge between the content strategist/editor/marketing manager, and the writer. Writers cannot read the minds of strategists/editors…”

So I have to give the content quality of HireWriters a 0 out of 5.

Getting plagiarized work is the worst possible result of outsourcing your writing. Since publishing stolen work can get you into legal trouble and damage your reputation.

It’s possible that this was an isolated incident. But I doubt it.

First, HireWriters actually offers content spinning as a service to clients.

Second, I encountered this problem with their most expensive tier of writing. If anything, I have to imagine it’s even more common at cheaper tiers.

13. Textbroker

Textbroker create order page

Textbroker is yet another budget content mill.

Textbroker’s main business is self-service content, like iWriter and HireWriters. And like those platforms, Textbroker is very cheap, but low quality.

Unlike those other content mills, Textbroker also offers an agency-style, fully managed service for a higher monthly rate.

Pros and cons of Textbroker:

✅ No need to vet or manage individual writers.

✅ Cheap.

❌ Extremely low-quality writing. The article I got was probably AI-written.

❌ Requires close proofreading and editing.

❌ Slower and harder to manage than iWriter (and HireWriters).

Price: A 3,000-word article from Textbrokers costs $45.40 (1.5 cents per word) at the basic level, or $216.40 (7 cents per word) at the most expensive level.

Verdict: Textbroker is basically like iWriter, but with more hassle. So if you want cheap, low-quality content, I would go with iWriter instead.

Full Textbroker review and experience:

I tested the main self-service side of Textbroker, and I wasn’t impressed with the results. The most expensive pricing tier ($0.07/word) got me an article that didn’t really make sense.

I would give the content quality from Textbroker a 1 out of 5.

It had all the same problems as iWriter, but even worse. I’m certain that the article I got from Textbroker was actually written by an AI writer.

And from past experience, Textbroker also requires more monitoring than other content mills do.

Orders aren’t always fulfilled as quickly on Textbroker as they are on iWriter. And if your order takes too long to fulfill, it gets removed from the queue and you have to re-submit it.

Writing Job Boards

Many of the best freelance writers don’t use freelance platforms or work for content services.

But they do apply to gigs on job boards.

Compared to freelance platforms, job boards are a lot more DIY. 

  • You need to evaluate each candidate without any ratings or reviews to rely on.
  • Most job boards offer only very basic, inefficient features for managing writer applications. So it’s usually best to use your own off-site application process. (More on how to create one in the how-to section of this article.) 
  • The hiring and management logistics are on you, from providing a contract to setting up a payment method.

However, some of the best talent I found was on job boards for writers.

Read on for my reviews of ProBlogger Jobs, Freelance Writers Den, Mediabistro, and Reddit’s r/HireaWriter.

14. ProBlogger Jobs

Problogger jobs open positions

ProBlogger Jobs is one of the most popular writing jobs boards in the world.

It’s used by news publications, marketing agencies, niche blogs and more.

Most of the listings on ProBlogger Jobs are for ongoing gigs, rather than for small one-time projects. But you can use it for either.

You can also use it to hire part-time or full-time employees, as well as contract writers and freelancers.

Pros and cons of ProBlogger Jobs:

✅ Large pool of freelancers and full-time writers.

✅ Offers a basic on-site application process (though I recommend linking to your own application instead, which you can create with Google Forms).

✅ Searchable database of candidates you can also reach out to directly (for an additional $10 fee per contact).

❌ You need to evaluate and manage each writer yourself — without any ratings or reviews to rely on.

❌ All the logistics are on you, from the applications process to providing a contract and setting up a payment method.

Price: ProBlogger Jobs charges $75 per standard job post, or $150 for a featured listing. Both post types last for 15 days. Freelance content writers on ProBlogger Jobs expect $0.05 – $1 per word. (Most toward the lower end.)

Verdict: ProBlogger Jobs is a good place to find decent writers quickly. But that doesn’t mean the average writer there is very good.

Full ProBlogger review and experience:

I tested ProBlogger Jobs with a standard $75 job post.

I received 32 applications in the first 24 hours my job post was live, and 53 in the first week.

For ongoing work, the writers quoted prices ranging from $0.05 to $1 per word. Most were at the low end: fewer than 10% quoted over $0.20 per word.

The content quality ranged from 1 to 3.5 out of 5. 

Most applicants were toward the lower end of that scale too. Many submitted content that didn’t make much sense and seemed partly written by AI. Several writers also submitted plagiarized, “spun” content.

(That said: I couldn’t hire every applicant. So those numbers are based on the sample articles the writers submitted when they applied.)

The best applicant (with 3.5 content quality) quoted an ongoing rate of $0.70 per word. That level of quality is good enough for most blogs. 

Her writing was concise and well-structured. But it included a few strange leaps in logic. As well as three minor typos.

15. Freelance Writers Den

Freelance writers den job board

Freelance Writers Den is a writing community with a free job board.

It’s also free to search the profiles of the site’s 1,200 members. That way, you can reach out directly to the writers that fit what you’re looking for.

Pros and cons of Freelance Writers Den:

✅ Free to post job listings.

✅ Job listings last for a year.

❌ You can’t edit a job listing once it’s live.

❌ Far fewer applicants than other job boards. (I only received three.)

Price: Job listings on Freelance Writers Den are free and stay live for a full year. The site only allows jobs that pay at least $0.20 per word or $30 per hour. But the writers who applied to my job quoted only 1.5 cents – $0.10 per word.

Verdict: Even though it’s free, the Freelance Writers Den job board wasn’t worth the time it took to post a job listing. I only received three applications from three writers, and none of them wrote very well.

Full Freelance Writers Den review and experience:

I received three applications in the first week after posting my job to Freelance Writers Den.

Strangely, even though I offered “$0.30+ per word” in my job listing, all three applicants quoted lower rates than that for ongoing work.

One writer quoted only 1.5 cents per word, one quoted $0.04 per word, and the third writer quoted $0.10 per word.

And one of them submitted a “spun” (plagiarized) article.

Other than that, the articles’ content quality ranged from 2 to 2.5 out of 5. Most larger blogs would not want to publish them without significant edits.

16. Mediabistro

Mediabistro job board

Mediabistro has a job board for recruiting media professionals including writers, editors, TV videographers, producers and more.

Most of the job listings on Mediabistro are from large media companies like NBCUniversal, Fox, and Penguin Random House. And the majority are for full-time employment. (But part-time and contract jobs are allowed.)

Pros and cons of Mediabistro:

✅ Employer dashboard shows how many candidates viewed and clicked through your listing.

✅ Decent level of talent, on average.

❌ More expensive than other job boards, both in terms of the job listing price and the fees writers expect.

❌ Geared more toward full-time jobs at major media companies.

❌ You need to evaluate and manage each writer yourself — without any ratings or reviews to rely on.

❌ All the logistics are on you, from the applications process to providing a contract and setting up a payment method.

Price: $297 for a basic 30-day job post. Upgrade options and multi-post packages are also available. Most writers on Mediabistro expect fees of around $0.40 per word, but I saw quotes ranging from $0.05 to $1.

Verdict: For part-time, contract writing jobs, Mediabistro isn’t my top pick. ProBlogger Jobs brought in more than twice the applicants for half the fee. And the r/HireaWriter subreddit brought in even more than that, for free. But for large media organizations looking for full-time employees, Mediabistro seems like a good bet.

Full Mediabistro review and experience:

I tested Mediabistro’s basic $297 tier to post a job listing for an ongoing freelance writer.

From that listing, I received 19 applications in the first week.

I used a Google Form for the application process, and asked for two writing samples from each applicant. I didn’t receive any plagiarized or “spun” content.

For ongoing work, the applicants quoted prices ranging from $0.05 to $1 per word.

However, the average quote was much higher than I received from the other job boards. Seven out of 19 applicants quoted $0.40 or more per word. The best writer quoted $0.55 per word.

The content quality ranged from 2 to 3.5 out of 5.

So the worst writers from Mediabistro were a little better than the worst writers from ProBlogger Jobs. But the best writers were about equal. And ProBlogger Jobs drove more than twice as many applicants, for half the price.

17. Reddit’s r/HireaWriter

Reddit r:hireawriter

r/HireaWriter is a subreddit for posting freelance job listings for writing gigs. It’s also a place where writers post about their own availability.

It has nearly 59,000 subscribers at the moment and it’s growing quickly, at a rate of about 50% per year.

According to the moderators, many scammers respond to job posts on the subreddit. They combat this by maintaining an extensive ban list and making a verification process available. There is also a public feedback feature for both employees and freelancers.

Unlike most jobs boards, r/HireaWriter requires you to specify the pay rate up front. But you are allowed to offer a range.

Pros and cons of r/HireaWriter:

✅ Free to post writing jobs.

✅ Public feedback system. (Though many applicants don’t have any feedback.)

✅ Lots of applications — I received 85 in a week.

❌ Expect to get direct messages from scammers, which the subreddit’s tips and rules post also warns about. (Just ignore them.)

❌ More plagiarized and “spun” content than on other job boards.

Price: It’s free to post a job on r/HireaWriter. The subreddit requires job posts to include the pay rate, and it must be at least $0.05 per word or $15 per hour. The moderators recommend $0.10+ per word for most jobs, and $0.15+ per word for more advanced work.

Verdict: r/HireaWriter is one of the best, most popular job boards for finding writers. It brings in lots of applicants, and it’s free. The biggest downside is that many writers on r/HireaWriter use content spinning software, outright plagiarize, or use AI writing tools. 

Full r/HireaWriter review and experience:

I tested r/HireaWriter with a blog-writing job post offering $0.30+ per word. And I received 85 applications within a week of posting it.

They quoted prices for ongoing work ranging from $0.06 to $0.70 per word. The majority were between $0.25 – $0.35. And the best writer quoted $0.35 per word.

Overall, the content quality ranged from 0 to 3.5 out of 5. 

Most of the applicants’ writing samples were low quality. More than a third of them were plagiarized or “spun.” And at least 10 seemed AI-written.

AI Writing Tools

I also tested several of the most popular AI writers.

Unfortunately, none of them can write decent long-form content yet.

When you give a writing prompt to an AI writer, the text it generates will typically make sense — at first. But after the first paragraph or two, things fall apart.

For example, here’s some content generated from the prompt “how to write a content brief”:

Ai writer excerpt

I got similar results from every AI writer I tested.

Of course, they can still be useful.

AI writers can generate content ideas. And tools like Frase and Surfer can create outlines or content briefs as a jumping-off place for human writers. 

But you can’t rely on AI writers to create full blog posts that make sense.

At least, not yet.

How Much Do Writers Charge Per Word?

The rates writers demand depend on the type of writing project, where the writer is located, and their experience level.

Freelance content writers typically charge between $0.01 – $0.50 per word. Most charge under $0.25.

However, true domain experts and highly-skilled professionals may charge $1.00 per word or more.

While conversion copywriters, social media post writers, and technical writers can charge even more. Or insist on hourly, monthly, or project-based fees. (For example, it isn’t uncommon for a seasoned copywriter to charge $5,000 to write a single landing page.)

Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.

But here’s a secret:

Most freelance writers will accept lower fees from great clients.

Specifically, writers want to work with clients who:

  • Offer consistent, ongoing work
  • Pay quickly
  • Don’t change their minds or require too many edits
  • Communicate clearly and efficiently (e.g. great content briefs, no phone calls)
  • And give credit to the writer on the published work (though some prefer the opposite)

So offering one or more of those things can allow you to get a discount on writers’ rates.

On the other hand:

You’ll usually need to pay a little more if you want them to do anything beyond simply writing the main assignment.

For example, if you want the writer to do keyword research, include images, create meta tags for the content, or write social posts to promote or distribute it.

Many writers don’t offer those additional services. Or charge separate fees for them on top of their base writing rates.

So if you’ll need anything beyond the content writing itself, it’s best to ask up front.

How to Hire a Writer Online (Step by Step)

Hiring and outsourcing writers is tricky.

If you don’t have a good process for it, you’ll waste a lot of money and time. And you’ll still get bad results.

I’ve personally hired more than 60 freelancers over the years.

And after lots of trial and error, here’s the best method I’ve found for hiring a writer online.

Step 1: Decide where to hire from.

The type of site you should hire from depends on what you’re looking for.

Specifically, whether you want to build an ongoing, direct relationship with one or more writers… or just outsource some one-off projects.

Content services, agencies and mills are best for one-off projects.

They’re very easy to work with. When you use one, you don’t have to evaluate or manage individual writers.

But you usually can’t develop ongoing relationships with specific writers from content services, either. 

If you decide to use a content service, agency or mill, you don’t really need the rest of this guide. Just check out my reviews of the top picks for this category above: Express Writers (higher-end), WriterAccess (mid-tier), and iWriter (cheap).

iWriter, WriterAccess, Express Writers logos

Freelance platforms are a nice middle ground between content services and job boards.

Unlike most content services, freelance platforms let you develop ongoing relationships with individual writers. You can even recruit them onto your team full-time. 

Freelance platforms are also easier to use than job boards, thanks to features like freelancer ratings and payment processing.

On the down side, freelance platforms are harder to use than content services because they require you to post a job, vet the applicants, and manage the writers you hire.

And after you hire someone from a freelance platform, they’ll keep getting offers from other potential clients. Which can make it harder to hold onto talent in the long term, compared to regular job boards.

My top picks for freelance platforms are Upwork and People Per Hour.

Job boards take more time to use than either freelance platforms or content services. 

They typically don’t include a ratings system, full-featured application process, or built-in payment processing. 

But writing job boards have some of the best writers around, and they’re all looking for ongoing work. This makes them better than freelance marketplaces for hiring in-house, full-time writers.

My top picks for writing job boards are ProBlogger Jobs and Reddit’s r/HireaWriter.

Finally, directly reaching out to writers is the highest-touch method of all. This usually consists of looking at who is writing good articles in your industry. And then reaching out via email, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Step 2: Write your job description.

Now that you know where you’ll be posting it, it’s time to write your job listing.

In my job listings, I always ask for links to two different writing samples. 

But the truth is, you can’t rely on anyone’s portfolio.

It might not really be their work. Or an editor may have made huge changes to get to the final product.

The only reliable way to gauge someone’s writing ability is to give them an actual assignment.

So the job you post should actually be for a short, paid test project. As a trial for ongoing work.

For example:

If you want someone who can write 4k+ word blog posts, start with a 500-word assignment.

And hire several writers to complete the same assignment.

Or use Glen Allsopp’s approach:

Rather than giving writers a specific length to hit for your test project, just ask them to deliver as much as they can for your budget. That way, you can see how efficient the different writers are when they turn in their work.

Either way, you can offer anywhere from under $50 to $300+ for the test project.

The more you offer, the more they’ll be able to write (and research, if needed). Giving you more information about their skills. 

Most writers don’t like to charge by the hour. So if you’re using a freelance platform, it’s a good idea to set your job up as a fixed-fee project.

Upwork project based vs hourly

But it’s important to make it clear that this one-time project will lead to an ongoing job (if it will). Since freelancers usually prioritize ongoing work.

So I like to put that info right in the title of the job listing. Along with the type of writer I need.

Like this:

Upwork writing job listing title

Then in the body of the job listing, you can go into more detail. 

Here are the most important things to cover: 

  • For freelance platforms, an explanation that this first gig is for a paid test assignment — but one that will lead to ongoing work.
  • How long the test assignment will be.

  • How much ongoing work you’ll have for them later. For example, four monthly articles of 3,000 words each.

  • The topic or topics you’re going to need content on.

  • The style you’re after, and any other general guidelines.

  • Anything that makes you a great client. (Like quick pay, consistent ongoing work, or offering author bylines/credit.)

  • Any additional things you’ll need them to do, like keyword research or including screenshots.

  • Ask how much experience they have in your industry or subject area.
  • Ask for links to two writing samples. (Preferably in your subject area.)

  • Ask what their fees for ongoing work are.

If you want, you can also include links to your existing content to show them what you’re looking for. I would do that on a job board, where you’re expected to name your company anyway.

But with freelance platforms, I prefer to save that info for a little later in the process. Otherwise people will spam your site’s contact form with lots of follow-up messages. 

Here’s a job description I posted on Upwork:

Upwork freelance blog writer job description example

This works a little differently if you’re using a job board.

Job boards tend to have bad systems for managing applications. Using them makes it hard to quickly compare candidates.

So if you’re using a job board, I strongly recommend linking applicants to your own application form elsewhere.

If you don’t already have an application form, no problem: you can easily create one for free with Google Forms.

Just pop over to Google Forms.

And click the button to start a new blank form.

Google Forms new blank form

Then start adding questions.

Be sure to ask for their name and email address or other contact info. As well the other questions I mentioned above (like amount of experience, required pay, and links to writing samples).

Google Forms writing job application example

You should also add a long-answer field for their cover letter, or a question like “why are you a great fit for this role?” This is important because in the next step, you’ll tell them to write your “filtering test word” there. 

Finally, add a link from your job listing to your Google Form application. Like this:

“To apply, click here to fill out the form: [link]”

Then save it as a draft — don’t publish anything yet.

Step 3: Add a “filtering test word” and a “plagiarism trap.”

There’s one major challenge with hiring from a freelance platform or job board:

Choosing the best candidate.

It’s easy to get 100+ applications to a single job posting on Upwork or ProBlogger Jobs. But evaluating that many writers takes a LONG time.

Luckily, you can use a “filtering test word” to eliminate 80% of those applications. 

Lots of people mass-apply to jobs without reading the descriptions. Others are just bad at following directions.

Your filtering test word will weed all those people out.

All it takes is to ask them to write a specific word in all caps at the beginning of their application.

Like “ABSOLUTELY.”

It’s best to mention this toward the middle of the job description. Don’t put it at the very beginning or end, where it’s easy for skimmers to spot.

Then as the applications roll in, you can filter out anyone who didn’t write ABSOLUTELY at the beginning of their cover letter.

On freelance platforms like Upwork, you can see whether they followed your instructions without even clicking through to their applications. Like this:

Filtering out upwork applicants

If you had writers apply via Google Forms, you can skim through those results just as quickly. You just have to display their answers in a spreadsheet first.

To do that, simply click on the Google Sheets icon in your Google Form questionnaire. It looks like this:

Google forms sheets icon

Each question from your Google Form will now be displayed as a column in a Google Sheet. With the candidates and their answers in the rows underneath.

Google Forms example of filtering test word for hiring writers

And that’s how you can use a filtering test word to quickly eliminate 80% of bad applicants.

But there’s one more trick to get rid of even more of them.

More specifically, to get rid of plagiarists.

I reviewed hundreds of articles in my research for this post. And a full 34% of them were plagiarized.

In other words, more than a third of the content that businesses are outsourcing can potentially get them into legal trouble. Or seriously damage their reputation.

Which is why I also include a “plagiarism trap” in every job listing.

To set a plagiarism trap, simply include a separate question in your application form that asks candidates to define a term. It should be a term that’s loosely relevant to the work… but that most writers will need to look up.

For example:

“What is search intent?”

Most of the plagiarists will Google the answer. And then copy and paste the top result into their application.

What is search intent - google result 1

To catch them, all you have to do Google it yourself. And eliminate anyone who copied the top result.

(As well as anyone who couldn’t write a decent answer.)

Step 4: Publish your job listing, then hire the best applicants for your test project.

With all of that set up, it’s time to publish your job listing.

And wait.

After 5-7 days (or more if you want to be patient), you should have a good number of applicants. 

Like I said, there’s no way to know who the best writer is until you have them complete an actual assignment. 

So now you’ll hire multiple candidates to do exactly that.

Here’s how to choose which ones to hire for the test assignment.

First, if you’re using a freelance platform, look at the candidates’ ratings. I automatically decline anyone with under 4.5 stars or 90% job success.

Next, eliminate any candidates who failed your filtering test word or plagiarism trap.

After that, look at the remaining candidates’ applications and writing samples. And decide which ones to hire for the test project.

Aim to hire at least two.

Better yet, around 4-5. (Assuming you have the budget and there are enough promising candidates.)

When you hire them, it’s time to give them the test project assignment.

I like to send everyone a link to the same Google Doc with all the details, like this one:

Google doc test assignment for hiring a writer

Here’s a link to the full Google Doc, if you’d like to use it as a template.

Be sure to include these details:

  • The format you want them to use. I like to ask for a Google Doc with their name and date in the document name.
  • The topic and/or title of what you want.
  • One or two links to example pieces of content in the style you’re looking for. For example, past blog posts you’ve published on your site.
  • Any other pointers or guidelines.
  • Optionally, you can also give them a detailed content brief or outline of the content you want them to write. You’ll generally get the best work that way. But I would only do that if that’s how you plan to work with them in the future. If you need a writer who can come up with their own ideas, then don’t provide them for the test project.
  • And ask them what date they’ll have it done. You can let them set their own deadline, but make sure they tell you a date. That way you can gauge their reliability when they turn it in.

Step 5: Evaluate the test projects.

Once you have the test assignments back, it’s time to evaluate them.

If you’ve been writing your own content up to this point, you probably know good writing when you see it.

And of course, the style of writing you’ll want depends on the publication and audience.

But here are some things I look for personally:

  • Is it easy to read, skim, and understand?
  • Does it flow logically and make clear points?
  • Can it hold your attention? Is it concise, or does it ramble and repeat itself?
  • Is it accurate and trustworthy? (Does it back up its arguments with statistics and link to sources when necessary?)
  • Would your readers find it useful?
  • Is it original, non-plagiarized content?

On that last point, lots of freelancers use article spinning software or AI writers to make small changes to content from other sites. And then try to pass it off as their own.

The worst offenders give themselves away with odd phrasing or sentences that don’t make sense. Or words with randomly capitalized letters in the Middle of sentences Like This.

But more advanced plagiarists hide it much better.

Like this example from my Verblio review above:

Spun vs original content example

The best way to detect plagiarism is to copy and paste several different sentences from the work into Google. And see how similar the wording is compared to what’s already out there.

Try it with metaphors or creatively-worded sentences, especially.

(Tools like Copyscape, Grammarly and SpinMeNot can also help you detect plagiarized content. But they aren’t as reliable as Google.)

Step 6: Create a contract and move forward with the best writer.

The final step is to let the best writer know you’d like to continue working with them, and start giving them regular assignments.

It’s a good idea to have them sign a contract, too. If you don’t already have a standard contract, RocketLawyer’s free template can get you started.

Rocketlawyer freelance writer contract

But what if you’re still not sure which writer to hire?

Three options:

A) Have them do another test project.

B) Move forward with more than one.

C) Pass on all of them, and start the hiring process over with a new job listing.

If you decide to start over, you can either post your job in the same place again, or try another job board or freelance platform.

Conclusion

That wraps up this guide.

To recap, we covered:

Now I’d love to know what you thought.

Are you planning to hire a writer soon? Did this guide help, or is there something else you wish I’d covered?

Let me know in the comments below.