How to Hire Writers for Niche & Authority Sites (without stress)

This post may contain affiliate links so I earn a commission. Please read my disclosure for more info.

I didn’t realize I have a superpower until earlier this year.

I can fly. Just kidding!

My superpower is…

I can hire several freelance writers and editors to work in parallel without stress.

It takes focus and concentration just like anything worthwhile, but it’s a powerful skill with niche and authority sites.
This is part 2 in a series about Content for Niche & Authority Sites. Here’s part 1 if you missed it and it covers the FAQ & RPM techniques.

Want to learn more?? Check out a webinar replay on hiring writers. I’ll cover hiring writers & content services.

I get content questions every day.

Here are some facts:

  • I hire writers from Upwork.
  • I pay about $14-15 for 1,000 words on average.
  • I pay people more if they’re good.
  • I pay a content manager/editor $10 – $20 per hour.
  • It takes the content manager/editor about 45 – 60 minutes to edit one post.
  • I hire about twice as many writers as I think I need to find the good ones.

Three things you should understand:

  1. The goal is not to pay the cheapest amount.
  2. The goal is to get the best ROI for each dollar. So yeah, I could beat people up on rates and save money, but…
  3. I want to work with professionals because I’m a professional. Pros don’t work for pennies.


You’ll learn:

  • My Silly and Dumb Mistakes
  • My TWO-Strike System
  • Why I don’t like “partial” content services
  • 3 White Glove Content Services that I trust
  • My EXACT Upwork job posting for writers
  • 3 Tips that will completely change the way you work with Virtual Assistants and maybe blow your mind.

REMEMBER: I wasn’t good at hiring writers at first.

I learned along the way and improved over time.

You can do the same.

It’s not really a superpower…it’s just practice.

(And just because I wear a cape when I hire writers doesn’t make me have a superpower. I’m just a weird guy wearing a bed sheet like a cape.)

Mistakes I Made With Hiring Writers

I paid $5 for content and expected it to be reasonable. It wasn’t.

I started hiring writers within the first 45 days of my online journey.

I knew it’d be a great way to leverage my time — and remember, I have a fear of writing. So I welcomed the ability to not work on things I don’t enjoy.

Here were the best/worst mistakes:

Hiring writers from Fiverr.

I paid $5 for content and expected it to be reasonable. It wasn’t.

One of two things happened:

  1. It was broken English and made no sense.
  2. It was rewritten content from a software based “content spinner” that works by replacing words with synonyms.

I believe you can get better content if you upgrade the gig and pay more money.

Not leaving much feedback on Upwork after the gig. 

Freelancers want and need to get more feedback, hopefully positive feedback. So if you leave detailed feedback and make it positive, you’ll be able to hire them for another job. That’s ideal once you go through the trouble to hire someone.

Bad job postings on Upwork.

If you look at job postings on Upwork, you’ll see a lot of really bad ones. They’ll say, “I need 5,000 words on Mongolian Throat Singing tomorrow. But I don’t have much budget.”

And that’s literally it! So, I beefed up my job listing and made it thorough, clear, and professional. The quality of applicants went up dramatically.

Excepting Excuses.

Someone will be late in submitting work. It happens.

“The plague is going around my neighborhood, but I’m better now…”

They’ll have an excuse like…

  • “My brother got sick…I’ll have it done tonight.”
  • “The power went out for 18 hours and our food went bad. I’ll write it immediately.”
  • “The plague is going around my neighborhood, but I’m better now…”

In each case, nothing happens and you get another even MORE impressive excuse.

I have a TWO Strike system to deal with this. Look, I know life gets in the way sometimes.

A freelancer gets one excuse and that’s it. If the deliverable is late or another excuse is given, I’ll end the contract.

Hiring writers from Text Broker. 

I thought it was a good way to get writers to work in parallel without the overhead of hiring each person individually. The biggest problem was that I was too cheap to pay for the high tier writers.

I expect the pro writers were charging more. And going from the middle to the high tiers was a lot more expensive.

Check out the pricing:

Speaking of being cheap…

Paying too little.

You get what you pay for and going for the bottom dollar may save you money but often costs you time. I got some cheaper content but then had to rewrite most of it.

Where can you get content?

Here are your main options…

You Write It

Well, you guessed it. This is where you use the FAQ Technique or RPM (Read Part 1 for details) and use the outlines to write it yourself.


It’s the cheapest but takes the most time. This is what I did starting out when I didn’t have a budget to invest in content.

The great part is that you learn a lot about the niche and that’s a useful thing.

Hire Individual Freelancers

This is what I do — like I said my super power is being able to hire competent writers at fair rates so that everyone is happy.


It’s right in the middle for cost and time. I believe the writing is better than most other options. I regularly hire journalists and English majors that write way better than me. They know their verbs from their gerunds and other things I don’t understand. (And don’t want to understand!)

**I’ll tell you about hiring on Upwork below.

Hire a Partial-Service Content Company

These are your iWriters and TextBroker type companies. They take care of getting the writers and you just submit your job to a pool of writers.


It’s a little pricier, and for my money, the quality of the writing is bad. It’s cheaper than the Full-Service option though. Typically, you get very fast turnaround times but the quality suffers.

Hire a FULL-Service Content Team

You supply the basic keyword and the team will do a deep dive to find related keywords. Then, they write and format the content for you.

If you want, they’ll even draft the content in WordPress for you. That fulfills the role of a content manager and editor, too. I hire for those roles individually.


This is the most expensive, but it takes virtually no time. Hey, it’s a Full-Service, White-Glove package.

I’m an affiliate for three of these services so I get a commission if you use my link. No pressure, though…

I know the people personally that run the services above and I trust them. I’ve either used the services personally or talked to multiple people that have. Each of them are very good to excellent in terms of quality and formatting.

The prices vary widely. Different writers work on the content so I have to imagine the quality can vary depending on who writes it.

I recommend that you test out the service before you go all in and order 8 blog posts.

Each service works a little differently, and you might like one better than the others.

It’s best to work within the processes of the service — don’t try to get the service to conform to your process. That won’t work well for anyone.

So don’t try to give the service a full outline (like from RPM or FAQ) if they just want a keyword.

All the services will post to your WP site which covers the role of Content Manager on my team.

The Content Manager role is what accelerated my business in the last year.

I didn’t know how much the addition of that role would elevate my business.

Things That Help You Avoid Mistakes

I’ve made so many mistakes…I can’t remember them all. But here are three things to help you out.

These are guides and aren’t all inclusive. They will get you thinking about what to do to be successful when working with freelance writers. If you’re in the Five Figure Niche Site course, you have thorough instructions, templates, and more in Unit 4. And you can just email me and ask questions, if needed.

  1. Provide Instructions with Actual Details. A lot of people don’t have good instructions about what they want from a writer. They just give the writer a headline, like “Best Banjo Fingerpicks for Feet” then they are disappointed when they get back the article. You should give the writer a template (like the Perfect Amazon Review) and instructions about what should be included and not included. Here are some ideas about things to include:
    • Use the Perfect Amazon Review Template as a guide.
    • Use the provided outline for the content.
    • Here are five products that should be reviewed [list of products with links].
    • Use the product details from Amazon to get info and read the manufacturers website.
    • Don’t list any Amazon prices.
    • List pros and cons for each item. No product is perfect so it’s okay to talk about defects and bad designs.
  2. Provide a Style Guide. It can and should be simple. But it sets the stage and makes the content consistent. Here is a good starting point (so don’t copy this directly):
    • Use Arial, 20 pt font
    • Double spaces after periods at the end of sentences
    • Paragraphs should be short (2-3 sentences) for a blog audience
    • Use the first person to make it feel like a conversation (avoid academic/business writing)
    • Use Heading 2 subheadings often
  3. Ask for edits if the content is bad. You’re paying for the content so it’s okay to ask for edits if it’s not what you want. If you ask for changes, then you have to be specific about what the issue is and what you expect to be changed. Here are three examples:
    • “Prices are listed for [item x] and [item y], and they shouldn’t be per the instructions. Please make the updates and let me know when it’s done.”
    • “The paragraphs should be short per the instructions, but many are ten sentences or longer. Please make the updates and let me know when it’s done.”
    • “There aren’t any subheadings and there should be several. Please make the updates and let me know when it’s done.”

Upwork Job Listing For A Writer

I’ll post an image of exactly what a job listing might look like. It’s a screenshot from my account and I’ve literally hired dozens of writers using a listing like this one.

It’s going to be boring if you read this far because I’ve revealed my strategies and ideas already. Here it is:


Here’s a common question that I want to answer:

What should I do if I’m not a native English speaker?

Here is what I would do:

  • Hire a full-service option from above.

If you’re on a tighter budget, I’d hire writers from Upwork. Then, I’d hire an editor to take care of the technical part of content: Grammar.

You’ll notice that this is exactly what I do:

  1. Hire a writer.
  2. Hire an editor.

So if you need content in a language you don’t speak, it shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll be following the same process as me.


Let’s Review

I told you about how to streamline your content in part 1.

I told you how to hire a writer (or two) right here in part 2.

What about scaling?? That’s part 3.

How to Scale Content – 200+ posts in 5 months

  • A Lean content team org chart – My Modular Team
  • Checklist for Content Managers/Editors
  • The #1 thing that saved me about 24,360 minutes in 2016.

There’s a free webinar training session on Thursday, August 10 at 10 AM MT. I’ll cover hiring writers & content services.

About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

Featured or Mentioned on


Niche Website Builders help their customers build and grow more profitable content sites. They offer a fully hands-off approach for all the services that they offer.For example, their content creation service includes their proprietary keyword research process, articles are written by in-house native English speakers, formatted using review templates that are proven to convert and uploaded to WordPress with affiliate links added so that all you need to do is review and click publish.

This makes their service perfect for both beginners wondering where to start, through to experienced portfolio owners looking to scale their operations

They also offer ‘done for you’ site builds and link building services.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jasmine

    Once you have selected the writers you want to hire, do you have a contract they sign? And how do you verify that it is original content?

    • I have a working agreement on Upwork – not a contract exactly, but good enough.
      I usually just trust that my writers are professionals. I pay a little more for content than other people so I expect original content.

      • Jasmine

        Thanks! I am in the process of hiring my first writer thanks to this series. Love your site!!

  • Matt

    Do you have any insight into why the huge price discrepancy between Human Proof Designs and Content Refined? Is Content Refined a lot higher quality? They are charging more than double for the same services that HPD has. Just curious. I almost want to pay a higher price IF they are that much better.

    • Matt – No, I’m not sure why there is a difference. I’d ask for a sample of each before testing…see what they say.

  • Matt

    Hello Doug,
    If I listened correctly to your you tube video around the FAQ method you mentioned you used researchers first and then writers. How does this work practically? DO the researchers provide framework and meat of content that is used by writers to produce the final post? Thanks

    • Matt – thanks for reading and watching!

      How does this work practically? DO the researchers provide framework and meat of content that is used by writers to produce the final post?
      Honestly, you can do it however you want. I’d just have a researcher create a one page outline, then provide that to the writer. Simple is best.

      Does that help?

      • Matt

        Yes, thanks for taking the time to respond

  • What do you suggest for beginners bloggers with low bugets , in my case I found really good writer but I couldn’t keep him busy only for my contents so Hired by big company and he refused my work.

    • Write it yourself or save up and reinvest your earnings. You need to have money or time.

  • Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the great article, somehow I managed to put all those points together while hiring and firing different writers, but it’s nice knowing that I am doing something right.

    I am the one of those whose English is not the native language. The issue for me is that it’s hard to tell whether the quality of the article is that is written by myself is good. If it’s written by someone else is what I am paying for ($17/1k).

    So, at the moment I am writing articles myself and running them through Premium Grammarly.

    In addition, I also have a writer and the information he is providing is good and helpful, but I am not sure about the grammar as it is hard to tell for me, and he is not native.

    I am running those articles through my flatmate who is native British and he says it makes sense so, guess I am alright.

    Just wanted to share the experience as a non-native.

    • Nice work, Eugen!
      I think that’s a fair rate, and I just started using Grammarly again. It used to be buggy but it’s been working great for me recently. In fact, I’m an affiliate now. 🙂 In case people are interested, you can get the free version here. I get a commission if you use my link- thanks!

  • Mike Syms

    Thanks for the info Doug. It is tricky finding the right balance between quality content and upfront cost. It is interesting to me that you hire a writer for about 1.5 cents per word and then a content manager/editor for about the same amount.
    Do you think you get better overall content doing it this way rather then paying for a higher value writer? Or, is it more to do with the hands off approach if the content manager is doing the formatting and posting?