How to Order an Article from a Freelance Writer

books food writer

Courtesy of Agatha Brown

So, you have a great idea. You know exactly what you want. Now, it’s time to translate your idea into instructions so your writer can get to work. Writing instructions for your latest article requires special care, especially if you’re working with a writer who isn’t yet familiar with your specs. The most important thing to remember is that writers are not mind-readers. We might have the feeling that we know what you want and can deliver, but that’s not always the case. After you’ve expressed your general idea, it’s time to think about the specs, the length, the budget, the keywords and the content.

Determining Article Length

Length is a sensitive topic, even for seasoned freelancers. Gauging the number of words that a given topic requires is an art. Here are a few guidelines on article length:

  • Blog posts 250-350 words
  • Articles 400-500 words 
  • Press releases 400-500 words
  • In-depth articles/juicy topics/top 10 lists 600-1,000 words
  • White papers 1,500 words

Consider the nature of the topic. Do you want a 400-word category description on pencil-top erasers? Are you trying to cover the entire city of Chicago in 500 words? Word counts are important decisions. If you want too many words, you’ll end up with a flabby piece that is puffed and padded with “fluff.” If you try to cover too much in one article, you’ll end up with a jumbled piece that dances all over the place but doesn’t have much flow. Think about how exciting your topic is and how many talking points there are. If possible, give the author a general word range within 50 or 100 words of your target. It’s awfully hard to write exactly 550 words every time.

Writing Budget

Budget is also something to think about. How much content can you afford? Would it be better to invest in two smaller articles that cover niche topics? Maybe so. Once you have considered the required word count, you can easily see if the article fits your budget. Remember that many content mills charge as much as 30 percent commission on your order. If you hire independent freelancers like us, you can avoid these fees and enjoy better, faster service. We’re flexible, and we’ll let you know if the word count needs to be adjusted.

Content Outline

As you’re considering how many paragraphs and words your article requires, try to develop a short outline. We allow 100 words for each talking point, as well as another 75-100 words for the intro and the same for the conclusion. You don’t want your article to end practically mid-sentence. So, if we were planning an article on “How to Roast a Chicken,” we’ll have a nice 100 word intro talking about how delicious and satisfying a roast chicken is. In the second paragraph, we’ll talk about preparing the chicken and using safe food handling practices. Within the third paragraph, we’ll be pre-heating the oven and rubbing down the bird with butter, oil, herbs and spices. In the fourth paragraph, we’ll cover roasting times and how to carve the chicken when it pops out of the oven. Finally, we’ll have a short conclusion. So in theory, the article “How to Roast a Chicken” might require 450-550 words. Is it us, or do we always mention food in our examples?

Feel free to include a very general outline, but never tell a writer how to do their job. If you’re ordering a press release and say what you want, there’s no need to include six links on “How to Write a Press Release,” because, if you’re like us, you’ve already written hundreds.

Choosing Keywords

Playing with keywords is dangerous; it’s also a good way to P.O. your valued writer. When it comes to keywords, less is more. If you need certain key phrases, say so, but don’t make the writer copy illiterate keywords verbatim. Not that you are illiterate, but nobody wants to work in the phrase “kitchen DIY design” or a keyword with an obvious typo. Whenever possible, give the writer keyword freedom, especially if you want a natural sounding result. We can handle singular and plural variations. If you need a geo-targeted article, just mention that you need the city and state mentioned at least two times.

Last but totally not least, remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Writers are people. Don’t treat them like a number, even if they’re writer 223458123.

That’s all. We hope this makes article ordering easier for you. Have you run into article-ordering troubles?