You’ve scoured the Internet or the content mill where you want to hire your writer, and you can’t find any good samples. You’re either seeing no samples or small excerpts of other pieces. While it is frustrating, it’s quite common. Freelancers tend to sell everything they write, so if you don’t see any samples, you can reasonably assume that they’ve sold everything. That’s not a bad thing, but how do you figure out your chosen freelancer’s writing style if they don’t have any samples?
1. Dig a Little Deeper
If you’re looking at a freelancer’s business website and not a writer profile on a content mill, take a look at the pages. A professional writer is going to maintain a certain level of quality across their website. Read a few articles. While this probably won’t give you their specific professional writing style, it’ll give you an idea of their standard writing style, which is still helpful, especially if you want a very relaxed tone.
2. Look for a Prewritten Content Section
Even if they don’t have any full samples you can read, most freelancers will have some type of Prewritten Content Section. These are articles that the writer wrote on various topics in various industries so that clients can view most of the article then purchase it hassle-free. Reading the 25 or 30 percent of the prewritten article can give you a good idea about your prospective freelancer’s writing style.
If you really can’t find enough content to determine the freelancer’s style, ask. Some freelancers do keep samples on their computers that they will send out to clients when asked, or they may have bi-lined content on other sites where they can direct you (The latter only works if you are using an independent freelancer that’s not bound by the TOS of a content mill.). Other freelancers don’t have any samples available because it’s all been purchased. It really depends on the freelancer. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
4. Order a Sample Article
If you really think the writer is going to work out, but you want to make absolutely sure, most writers will accept paid test orders. This is typically an article topic of your choice between 500 and 1,000 words. You can expect to get anywhere from a 30 to 50 percent discount on the sample order with no obligation to purchase future articles. If you love it, you can order more articles at full price. If you hate it, well you can continue your search for a freelance writer.
It's important to note that if you are using a content mill, the writers have profiles, and everything the writer wants you to see is in that profile. It's unlikely they'll send you a sample even if you ask. The truth is that they can't. They are bound by the TOS and can't point you to any bylined work. If they have a website, professional or otherwise, they can't send you to that either because you're not supposed to contact them outside of the content mill. You are stuck with what you see on the profile.