How To Find a Great Writer on Elance on a Low Budget
Posting a writing task (or any other task) on Elance can sometimes be a frustrating experience, mainly because posters don’t know how to make the process easy and fun. In this article, I would like to help you prevent the frustrations of struggling with common Elance questions, such as: What, exactly, should I write in the job description? What’s the right bid amount? How do I choose a writer out of all my proposals? What do I do if, worst of all, I don’t get many proposals?
Before we begin, I want to address a term in the article title: “Low Budget”. This article applies to people with a relatively low budget for a single article. This means $2 – $4 for 100 words (or $10 – $20 for a 500 word article). This budget is relatively low, because there are people who might pay $100 for a 500 word article, and, on the other hand, people who will pay only $1 for a 500 word article. I will elaborate in the next section on why you can find a great writer by paying just $10 – $20 for an article.
Deciding on Your Bid Amount
When I started blogging a few years ago, my bid for a job was less than $1 for 100 words. Most of the proposals I received came from the Far East (Pakistan, India, etc). I thought it made no difference whether or not I posted high-level articles, or if they had spelling and grammar mistakes. Obviously, I was wrong. I don’t think I need to explain why.
After realizing this, I decided to increase my bid to $2 (as usual – for 100 words). Surprisingly (or not), I received more proposals from native speakers with an excellent job history score. After carefully picking a writer and receiving the content, I came to an understanding that it was totally worth it – the content was great.
Later on, I decided to increase the bid even more, to $3 – $4. There was an improvement with the proposals I received, but not a tremendous change. The improvement was mainly in the research writers performed before writing, and in a higher level of English.
All of this brought me to a conclusion, which I’ve stuck with for some time: For general articles, I would bid $2, and for more important articles, I would bid about $3. I’ve never tried a higher bid, so I can only guess the obvious – that a higher bid would lead to even better writers. However, with a relatively low budget, these bids will get you very good results.
How to Actually Write the Proposal
Now that you have decided on your bid, it’s time to write the proposal. The proposal form you have to fill out looks like this:
Lets fill in each field:
- Name your job: Write a few words which describe the job in general, but be specific on the niche. If it’s related to technology or health, then add related words to the title. This could help get more proposals, because writers with an interest in your niche will be curious about the job and more likely to make proposals.
- Describe it: This is probably the most important part. Providing certain details can attract great writers to make proposals. First of all, write a general sentence describing what kind of writer you are looking for. For example: “I am looking for someone who can write a high-level and interesting article related to affiliate marketing.”
Writers prefer a long-term relationship with a client, so they are often willing to compromise on the price if they know you will provide them with ongoing writing tasks. So, add something like “I’m looking for a writer to work with in the long-term”.After the short introduction, you should write your requirements. One thing you do not want to compromise on is the origin of the writer. Only hire native English-speaking writers. Even if someone from, for example, India, offers themselves, saying they have perfect English – don’t hire them. I’m not saying people from India don’t have good English skills, but based on my experience, if someone (and there are, of course, people like that) from India has really good English, they will only work for much higher bids. So, add to your requirements that you are looking for native English speakers from USA, Canada, GB, Australia, etc.
Hiring a native speaker is, surprisingly, not enough. There are many native speakers who commit grammar and spelling mistakes. To prevent them from sending proposals, even partially, write that the English must be perfect, with NO mistakes of any kind.
If the article you need is in a specific field, add that experience in this particular field is an advantage.
Last, provide some technical details, like the total number of words you need for the article, and that the price offered is for that amount of words.
What won’t Elance allow you to write in a description? From what I’ve encountered, Elance will not approve your job if its description contains prices and the word “review” (about a certain website, for example). There are probably more prohibitions, which you’ll have to figure out for yourself.
- Desired skills: I’m not sure how Elance treats jobs with desired skills listed, but it may only narrow the proposals you receive. Unless you need really specific skills, like translating or writing in a certain language – keep this field empty.
- Select the category of work: Choose “Writing & Translation,” and under subcategory, choose whichever suits your needs.
- Set work arrangement: I always go with a fixed price, and I know writers prefer this option as well. An hourly arrangement can only cause problems, as it’s hard to decide on the price, it’s hard to keep track of the writer’s progress (you have to keep checking the screen shots of their work, and figure out if it’s fast enough), etc. So choose a fixed price, and under budget, choose “enter my own range”.
- Job Posting Visibility: Make it a public job, of course. I believe checking “Allow search engines like Google to view this post” makes no difference, and I’m not sure why Elance even offers this option.
- Location and Other Options: Fill in “post this job for” to be at least 7 days, so you will have enough time to get proposals.
After posting your new job, and after Elance approves it, your job will begin receiving proposals. Your goal now is to create a final list of writers, out of which you will pick the winner. To narrow the list, we can filter writers who don’t match some basic criteria. I like to ‘hide’ those proposals, but you can also decline them. However, declining will force you to send the writer a reason for doing so. Just do whichever option you feel comfortable with.
- Origin of writer: As I said previously – only hire writers from English-speaking countries. So hide or decline any proposal with a writer not from the USA, GB, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
- Job history: Hire writers with a history of at least 5 jobs. This is the only way to get genuine feedback on your writer. I’m sure there are excellent writers who only recently signed up for Elance, and were hired for less than 5 jobs (I even found a great writer with zero jobs). However, it’s risky, and you can’t predict the outcome. In addition, there are many experienced writers, so why not pick one of them?After hiding writers with less than 5 jobs, you want to look at the “Average job rating weighted by earnings” (the yellow stars). I tend to hire writers with 4.9 – 5.0 only, but you don’t have to be as strict. The point here is to take a look at the feedback the writer received. Don’t be confused by good, and even glamorous, feedback. Every writer receives that kind of feedback, so it’s useless (and boring) to read it. What you are looking for is the negative feedback. Read all of the negative feedback, and decide if you’re comfortable hiring the person such things have been written about. Maybe there won’t even be any negative feedback, which is great.
Hide all writers with feedback you don’t feel good about. This will narrow your list by a few more.
Get More Proposals
While filtering your proposals, you can use these exact same filters to invite new writers.
Go to the bottom of your proposals page and click “Search & Invite Freelancers”. Filter the results by choosing the right details for you (like country, feedback of at least 5, etc.) and then go through writers and use the same filtering methods you used for your initial proposals. Invite each writer you find compatible with your needs. This way, you can widen your list even more.
Choosing a Winner
Once you have put together a final list of candidates, it’s time to pick your winner. By the time you have reached this point, most likely all of the writers in your list are appropriate. However, you still need to select the best one.
This part might be a bit tricky, because you need to have strong English skills, or know someone who does. Let me explain: Every writer on Elance will attach samples of their work, or will have samples in their profile. You will have to take 1-3 of those samples and read them (or have them read by someone with good English). After doing this, you will certainly know (and feel) which one is the great writer that you have been looking for.