In the world of freelance writing, there are an infinite number of specialties. Some of them are extremely niche, with only a small handful of interested readers in the world. Others are very broad and applicable to millions, even if they're still specialized topics. For example, real estate is a narrow but simultaneously broad niche. It has its own specialties (residential, commercial, undeveloped, reclamation, etc.), and it's all very valuable.
Real estate bloggers come in two forms:
And, of course, there are always other aspects of real estate. Every homeowner has, at some point, needed to consider the intricacies of buying or selling a home and all of the factors that go into owning a home. Many renters who consider buying homes also find themselves in these situations. The advice of a real estate blogger can be applicable to millions at any given time.
So, how do you hire a freelance writer to handle your real estate content?
The first thing you need to do is specify exactly which aspect of real estate you're going to be targeting. There's not really such a thing as a "real estate blog"; there are many different niches and specialties. A blog focusing on multi-million-dollar commercial real estate is going to have very different considerations and perspectives than a site focusing on first-time homeownership.
It's critical that you find someone with the right kind of knowledge and experience, because while some basics can transfer over (like terminology, knowledge of how financing and interest rates work, how mortgages function, and so on), other aspects cannot. There's simply no comparison between purchasing a $10,000,000 apartment complex and a $75,000 starter home.
While an expert writer in one facet can learn to be an expert in another, it's generally easier for you to find someone who already has the knowledge you want them to have.
The exception to this is if you're an expert and you're willing to spend the time necessary to teach everything necessary to write a piece of content. This may be the route to go if you're "writing" (ghostwriting) a personal blog about your own experiences in real estate rather than a more generic real estate advice site.
Next, you need to determine the scope and scale of your needs.
Consider: hiring someone to turn a verbally-recorded interview into an eBook is a very different project from hiring someone to write a 1x 2,000-word blog post each week, which in turn is very different from hiring someone to write 3x 1,000-word blog posts per week. Some writers are better at long-form content, and some are better at short content. Some prefer a more narrative, personal style, while others are experts in marketing but trend toward the impersonal. It all varies, and knowing what you want ahead of time can help you evaluate the prospects you find.
This can also inform you whether or not you'll want to hire more than one writer. A single expert viewpoint blog likely wants one skilled writer to keep a consistent tone and voice. A real estate news, tips, and general advice aggregator can hire many writers to keep up the volume of content.
Another consideration is the market. Are you writing about general real estate around the world, or just in your country, or are you focusing on just your state or even local market? If you're writing specifically for a local market, you may want to look for writers who live in that market, so they have more first-hand knowledge and can come across as more genuine.
At this point, you'll want to set yourself up for success in hiring a writer. This might mean doing some research, or being flexible, or it might mean setting up a process for writers to adhere to. It depends on how rigid you want to be and how many writers you want to work with.
Here are some questions to help you with this:
These considerations can also lead you to making the next decision:
There are a few different kinds of writers out there you can consider for a real estate blog.
The first is a plain old writer. These are people who are themselves subject matter experts and who get a byline on your site. They convey their own opinions and perspectives because they're attaching their name to it, and they can use that to gain more reputation and connections. This works great for an authority site in your industry but less so for building your own reputation.
The second is a freelance ghostwriter. These writers take what you give them, create great content, and sell you the rights to it. They have no byline, but they don't care; they get paid, and that's what matters. This is the most common kind of writer to hire for these kinds of projects.
You can also consider hiring an agency. There are plenty of content marketing agencies out there who can do everything from topic research to publishing to graphic design to the writing itself. You basically hand them the keys to your blog while you focus on other things, like building up your real estate empire. They tend to be pretty expensive, but the full-service nature of an agency can take a lot of the burden of running a blog out of your hands.
There's no right or wrong answer here. You can pick whatever option works best for your needs and your workflow. Maybe you don't have much time on your hands, and rather than let your blog suffer, you hire an agency. Or, maybe you don't want to give away that much control, so you hire a freelancer. Both are perfectly fine options.
Agencies are a whole process, but since today we're talking about hiring freelancers, let's focus on that.
You have two options here. You can go out searching for qualified freelancers and pitch your project to them, or you can put out a job ad and let them come to you.
The first method involves more initial legwork on your part. You need to know what you want to find in a writer, how to interpret the things they say in their profiles on freelancer sites, and how to pitch them in a way that entices them and doesn't drive them away. You also have to be willing to accept rejection; there are plenty of writers who don't keep their profiles active, might miss your emails, are too busy to take on your project, or just don't want to work with you or on your project for one reason or another.
The second method is more traditional from a hiring perspective. You put out a well-written job listing, and you wait for people to apply. When they apply, you vet them and create a shortlist of the best candidates, then figure out which one to hire. It all comes down to interviews, test projects, and your ability to work together. It's just as much work as the first method, but the work is in the vetting, not the search.
If you want to seek out a freelancer, check the freelance profile sites. Sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and others all allow freelancers to create profiles that can be searched. You can also consider looking for people listing themselves as freelance writers on LinkedIn or even on Twitter and see who may be interested.
If you're writing a job ad, make sure you list the niche, the pay rate, the fact that it's a freelancing position rather than an employee position, and any other salient details. There are thousands of similar ads available at all times, so you can just check to see what other people are writing in theirs and model yours after them.
Usually, an interview for a freelance writer is rather cursory. In real estate, you want to go over some topics and questions that can reveal the depth of the skill and knowledge of the writer. You don't need to do a ton of deep fact-finding here, though; your writer doesn't need to be an independent expert if they'll have you as a resource.
Either way, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. That means a test project. A test project should be as close to a real project as possible – in fact, if it turns out good, it should be usable, so make it a real project. Do everything you would normally do for a project, including paying for it. I'll say it time and again; one of the most common scams in freelance writing is companies asking for free test projects, ghosting the writer, and using the work. Many writers won't even give a free test project the time of day.
When the writer hands in writing for your test, evaluate it. Check for grammar and fluency. Check for factual accuracy. Check for adherence to your style guide and requirements for the content. Review it to make sure it follows your guidelines, isn't incorrect in some critical way, and uses your keywords appropriately. Most professional writers should have zero trouble doing this.
Once you've found a good writer and you've had a good experience working with them, congratulations! A good fit is a great thing to find, and it can sometimes take several tries before you find the right kind of person to work with you.
At this stage, get a contract signed and get to work. Long-lived relationships don't waste time, and that means every stage of the process should be ready to go ASAP.
If you aren't sure where to find freelancers, or you can't find any that suit your needs, the job board option is probably your best choice. Write up a good job listing, and post it to the popular writing job boards. In fact, why not give mine a try? I've launched this job board to solve the needs of clients and writers alike, and I'm looking to make it the most effective freelance writing job board out there. That, I can't do without people like you using it to find excellent writers, so give it a try! If you have any questions about it, I'd be more than happy to answer them! Drop me a line!