Content is at the center of what we do at Stacklist. We interview founders, and our blog is one of the main ways we synthesize our learning to make them accessible and actionable to readers.
So we are almost always in the market for writers. Smart writers. Writers who can work with Stacklist research, understand what’s important to entrepreneurs, elevate the key points and, of course, write beautifully.
We recently ran a new search for writers using six different freelancing tools suggested by founders who have stacklisted. Here is our assessment of each one.
How did we run the process of finding a freelance writer?
- We chose a topic. In this case, we wanted a writer to assess the Stacklist reviews of accounting tools to find those that would be best for taxes.
- We set a rate we would pay for the article.
- We set a deadline and word count.
- We conveyed our preferences, like desirable SEO keywords and the importance of referring to existing stacklist research (market share, founder reviews, etc.).
- We did our best to make all of the above constant across each of the following six tools.
How did we evaluate the experience?
- UX: Good design and UX is not only a core value of most startups but also a necessity of making any freelance hiring process efficient. We looked for a flow that did not stand in the way of getting us to a great writer.
- Hiring Expertise Needed: Many startups who need great content are not yet in a position to hire experienced editorial teams. It’s going to be harder for these companies to find the right writer (sorry) and write effective job descriptions. Thus, we like to recommend platforms that stack the decks for startups by asking them right questions about their goals for the project.
- Quality of Candidates: Given all elements – from job description thoroughness to the quality of the candidate pool – does this platform get a startup quickly to a good candidate?
- Cost: Do you get a good return on what you invest?
WriterAccess is another writing-focused freelancer community. While you do have to make a deposit before you post a project, you get to search the database of writers in advance of any deposit – that way, you can be pretty confident about your options.
- UX: Very friendly. Note that the job description form is long.
- Hiring expertise needed: The upside of the project description being so involved is that, by the end, you can’t help but have created a targeted search for a freelance writer AND conveyed effectively what you are looking for in the project.
- Quality of Candidates: Outstanding. And, better yet, WriterAccess guides you in pricing the project. WriterAccess’ price per word guidelines are all based on the quality and ranking of writers based on the number of projects they’ve completed as well as their clients’ ratings.
- Cost: You can start with a free trial and make a deposit before submitting your first order.
→ Stacklist rating: 4.5 stars
Ed2010 is a unique, highly curated freelance writer site posting only editorial positions: “Ed does not post sales or other non-editorial marketing or advertising positions. He also does not post writing or editing jobs at non-publishing companies or e-commerce websites (i.e., non-magazine brands that are creating their own content).”
- UX: The site is streamlined, but they’re starting to surface more content to help guide editorial teams. The project descriptions form is very short and only covers the basics. No frills.
- Hiring expertise needed: Quite a bit. The onus is on you to cover the specifics in your job description. It’s fine for the Ed2010 community because their target employer is editorial in nature. However, should you be using Ed2010 as a newbie in the world of content, you’ll get very little guidance in crafting a job description that yields the good candidate matching and, ultimately, the output you’re looking for.
- Quality of Candidates: Outstanding.
- Cost: FREE. They strike us as a site that originally started as a passion project for the writing community. They get some money from advertising.
→ Stacklist rating (if you make the cut!): 4.5 stars
Jurnid is a marketplace community specializing exclusively in freelance writing. “Community” because, unlike most other platforms, Jurnid forces you to personally create a profile not only for your company but also for yourself; it’s personal. It is also gated community, and the hiring party cannot submit an order until they make a deposit.
- UX: The job description form is aesthetically nice – and unique – but we hit some snags that were not intuitive. Navigating the site was challenging.
- Hiring expertise needed: Jurnid is a pretty safe place for anyone hiring for a writing project. The candidate pool is generally experienced and the community itself is well respected. You’re still going solo when it comes to the specs of the writing, but you’ll be safe regarding candidate quality.
- Quality of Candidates: Solid!
- Cost: (On the basic plan) 7% pitch fee added to each order. While this is technically pay-as-you-go, the gated nature of Jurnid can make it less compelling to the startup who doesn’t necessarily have $100-$300 to deposit before seeing any of the candidates or their sample work.
→ Stacklist rating: 4 stars
We have used Upwork quite a bit at Stacklist, most of the time for sourcing graphics. It’s one of the most popular freelance marketplaces out there and extremely popular among startups.
- UX: We really like Upwork’s UX. Their form is not short – they ask for a lot of info. But it flows very well, is very well designed and is rather delightful to complete.
- Hiring Expertise Needed: One of the perks of Upwork is that you can create a fairly precise job post without being an expert in the field. At most points in the form for creating a job post, Upwork suggests answers that are specific to your needs. For example, when Upwork asks you to enter skills needed, they also provide a dropdown of skills that would be relevant to, in our case, blog writing. This is great for companies who do not have much expertise in their hiring area.
- Quality of Candidates: For graphics work, we always find good candidates on Upwork. For writing, it was harder. Many of the top candidates suggested were way out of our price range. We also were less sure of the quality of the work they were doing; while well-rated by their clients, we couldn’t find much evidence of writing for high-quality blogs and publications. We ended up trying one of the candidates suggested by Upwork. While communication and process were very good, the final output needed a tremendous amount of editing.
- Cost: FREE. You sent your rate; the freelancers pay a commission.
→ Stacklist rating: 3.5 stars
Fiverr is a lot like Upwork, though substantially less popular among startups. It’s another large freelance marketplace, but the projects are treated more like a simple transaction than the beginning of a relationship with a creative freelancer. Ergo, it makes sense that everyone is called either a “buyer” or a “seller,” not a freelancer, a business, a client, etc.
- UX: The site is very navigable by project type. And the project submission form is short and not at all rigorous. Very easy to fill out.
- Hiring expertise needed: Quite a bit, especially for more involved projects like a quality blog post. The extent of the job form and search filters does not even broach the creative aspects of the project – only specifics like language, turnaround time and seller level.
- Quality of Candidates: For producing a well-researched, high-quality blog post, you will not get good candidates. You’ll get great candidates for producing a massive amount of content, quickly. But for finding a freelancer that will be a partner in producing excellent content on an ongoing basis, you will have to look long and hard on this platform.
- Cost: FREE.
→ Stacklist rating: 2 stars
You know what Craigslist is. We won’t bother explaining it. We will say that we keep it in almost hiring toolbox because it almost always turns up one (but only one) great candidate. That said, we do not know of other startups who have the same returns on their efforts – so it’s hard for us to give it a rave review.
- Job form UX: Um, internet 1.0
- Hiring expertise needed: It’s definitely all on you to craft the right candidate targeting and project description.
- Quality of Candidates: Craigslist is the entire US. See above.
- Cost: Free
→ Stacklist rating: 2 stars