freelance writer skills

Freelance Writer Skills – Generalist vs. Specialist – Which Do You Need?

By Freelance Writer, Rhonda Campbell

freelance writer skills
Pic by Rachmat04

Freelance writer skills vary. Just because a freelancer has been writing for five or more years, doesn’t mean that she will be able to fulfill your organization’s content needs. By reviewing a writer’s resume, you could find out the types of clients the writer has worked for, how much industry experience the writer has and how long the writer has been developing content.

What you may not learn is whether the writer is a generalist or a specialist.

All freelance writer skills are not the same

Generalists are good to hire if you are starting a marketing or content development agency and need freelance writers to cover a broad range of topics. It may also be advantageous to hire professionals with generalist freelance writer skills if you need content for a digital newspaper, magazine or a website or blog that focuses on hot topics regardless of the vertical.

Specialists are like experts. They zone in on certain types of markets, industries, themes or topics. Examples of content that professionals with specialist freelance writer skills create include beauty or hair articles, fashion shows, fashion catalogs and fashion advice and feature interviews, legal web content and legal advice blogs and home design articles.

Freelance writers with specialist skills may have worked in the field that they write about. For example, a writer who covers legal topics may have worked as a legal assistant. Similarly, a freelance writer specialist who writes for human resources journals may have worked as a human resources learning and development specialist, a recruiter or as a human resources analyst.

Not only will you be able to tell when you’re dealing with a specialist versus a generalist, so will your website, social media and blog visitors. A specialist can provide firsthand examples. A specialist also has valuable industry contracts who they can reach out to for feature interviews, quotes and strengthen content and testimonials that could be added to your website.

Some professionals with generalist freelance writer skills also have specialist skills. When you interview freelance writers ask them about areas that they have worked or specialized in. It’s also a good idea to ask writers if they have experience working in the industry that your business operates in, even if they haven’t worked for an employer for several years.

Other things to ask writers after you review their freelance writer skills resume include:

• Have you worked with an editor before?
• How many edits will you complete before we have to pay you extra?
• Do you typically receive lots of guidance from clients on article layout, content focus, etc.?
• What do you like most about your job?
• What do you like least about working as a freelance writer?

Focus on the writer’s rates after you determine if the writer is even a fit. Why do I say this? Even if the writer’s rates are outside your range of pay, if the writer has strong skills, he may be able to recommend another writer to you.

Contact me, Freelance Writer Rhonda Campbell, so that I can use my generalist and specialist freelance writer skills to create communications that are built to help you tell your unique story, connect with your customers and fulfill your business goals. 

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Freelance Writer Skills – Generalist vs. Specialist – Which Do You Need?

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