You can have the best developers and graphic designers create a beautiful homepage. Expert social media managers can help increase your brand presence and recognition. All these, however, wouldn’t matter if you don’t have content – the heart and soul of your website. As you surmised, there are thousands of Filipino freelance writers for hire. All you need to do is find the right people – those who are excellent and super reliable.
Hire Filipino Freelance Writers for the Right Reasons
Many online freelancer platforms sell the notion that Filipino freelancers are cheap. I agree but only to a degree. If the pay rate is the same as in your country, why bother hiring remote workers? Unfortunately, some clients put a cap on salary based on the minimum wage in the Philippines.
How has that worked out for you?
Here are some problems you may have encountered:
- Submitted articles don’t make sense
- Discovering a freelance writer providing plagiarized content
- Cheating the time tracker by padding up the hours worked
- Freelancers bailing out on you without a word
- Losing talented freelancers
These issues, in fairness, aren’t exclusive to freelancers. I can go as far as saying there are lousy clients, which is why they keep encountering the same problems.
Your mistake is to offer a pay rate based on minimum wage in the Philippines instead of service quality.
If you try to hire a freelancer for $10 per 1,000 words, you only attract “aspiring” writers. The truly talented writers, on the other hand, ignore you.
Is it possible to find “affordable” freelance writers who are good enough?
In my experience, I have met plenty of aspiring freelancers who are average. In due time, they learned and became terrific writers. Although some of them leave for the proverbial greener pasture, most stay. That is because Filipinos generally are loyal people, especially when they feel appreciated.
Try to go cheap on talented writers, and you’re back to square one.
Hiring Talented Filipino Content Writers Is a Process
Hiring Filipino freelancers isn’t a privilege you grant to “third-world” country people. In as much as remote workers profit from the livelihood, you are also benefitting – much more so. For instance, many clients could not have launched and sustained their businesses if they had not tapped into the Philippine gig economy.
Would you happen to be one of them?
Once you’ve hired and worked with enough freelancers, you’d already know what to expect from your compensation rate. $10 for 1000 words, for sure, is not the same as $20 or more.
Instead of sticking to perceived market rates, pay according to the perceived value of the content.
Here’s something that you may not realize. Suppose you have a good web content strategy and structure in place and well-written articles. In that case, each article’s value in conjunction with others increases over time. Your website becomes more authoritative and trustworthy. Along with prestige, your website also becomes more prominent in search results. Only the best freelance writers can do that for you. Hence, you have to compensate them accordingly.
Can paying higher rates guarantee you’ll be hiring talented freelance writers?
Unfortunately, no. But you’ll have better chances.
I. Understanding and Breaking the Cultural Barrier
You may be a likable client. But even if you hired a talented Filipino freelancer, your relationship may not be smooth. It can’t be the language barrier. English, after all, is the secondary and also an official language of the Philippines.
Bridging the gaps between cultural differences promotes a better working relationship. The burden is on you, not only on Filipino freelance writers.
Many companies that found massive success with the Filipino workforce in the BPO industry broke the cultural barrier. Filipinos, by nature, love to please and serve – which is why the service sector accounts for 61% of the country’s GDP (O’Neill).
Filipinos are family-oriented. Not only do they live in large households (by western standards), but they also provide for their entire family. Yes, the more people, the more distractions. But these are the people that fuel their desire to persevere, keep learning, and excel at work.
Visitors of the country can bring back photos of remarkable sights. For many of them, their lasting memory is the warmth and friendship offered by the people. Filipinos are friendly, helpful, and respectful. They say “yes” even if it is “no” or are unsure – not because they are shy but also to avoid offending you. Not speaking up, as a result, can lead to misunderstanding.
Encourage freelancers to ask if they need you to clarify instructions. Ask for their opinion, too, and you may discover gems. Make them feel human and appreciated. In due time, they will reward you with dedication and loyalty.
One more thing. Many Filipino freelancers tend to do more than asked for and keep it to themselves. Smash the cultural barrier, and you can get the most out of the relationship.
II. Vetting Applicants
Suppose you’re asking for the sun and the moon. You should at least know some of the stars. You may not be a writer, but you should know enough to make sound judgment when hiring people.
How do you post jobs?
Serious applicants need details. It is impossible to pitch properly when applicants do not know what you need. They need information such as topics, article type, level of detail, intended audience.
How do you check candidates?
You have your way of screening applicants but let’s compare notes. Here’s my process.
- I always ask applicants to apply by email. Following instructions as provided is of utmost importance. Fail to do so, and they and up in the archive.
- For the remaining applicants, I read their samples. Usually, I run them through grammar and plagiarism checkers. Once satisfied, I break down the article to analyze the content. Some of the things I consider are:
- Reader-friendly structure and organization with the effective use of headings
- Enough details provided in each section
- A clear message in each paragraph, not mixed up
- Good flow of idea from one sentence (and paragraph) to the next
- Focused on the subject matter
- Non-essential but helpful information kept to a minimum
- No excessive word padding or keyword stuffing
- As part of evaluating samples, I have to gauge the potential of applicants. One of the indicators I look for is signs of analytical thinking – a common trait of talented writers.
- I ask for a custom-written trial article to test their comprehension skill. It also helps me drop those who submitted heavily edited samples.
- Lastly, I ask them to explain their understanding of SEO and workflow.
III. Keeping Talented Freelancers
There are thousands of potential applicants for crappy articles. You may know from first-hand experience that the higher the quality of content required, the fewer the qualified freelance writers. Not only that, but they also charge higher rates. Granted that you are compensating them accordingly, how can you ensure that they do not leave and take their “talent” elsewhere?
For one, do not be an asshole because that is the top reason employees leave (Goler et al.). Being the professional that you are, I suppose that is not an issue.
Your loss becoming someone else’s problem is better than losing a talented freelance writer for someone else’s gain, for that would be a pity.
In basketball, a coach’s job is to develop strategies and plays to put players in the best position to score or defend. In a similar fashion, you want to allow your freelance writers to excel. For instance, you could give them more responsibilities. Let them grow as they help your business grow, and give them their due compensation.
You can take the relationship to a higher level by not depriving them of their rights to fair labor practices. For example, offer to share in the cost of social services and health insurance. Holidays are a time for the family to get together, so try providing paid leaves if they work full-time.
Finding and Retaining the Best Freelance Writers Is a Choice
Only recently, I asked about a writing gig. What happened next was “unexpected.” The client and I never had a discussion. Instead, I received an email with a link to expectations and pay rates. He also added me to their project management platform. In doing so, I have access to the rest of the team (other writers), completed, pending, and upcoming tasks.
I did not take that job.
The best Filipino freelance writers know their value and choose clients the same way clients choose freelancers.
It is a great privilege for freelancers to work with the best clients. Likewise, the best clients are also the ones who value deserving people.
Finding talented freelancers is not an easy task. You can screen the applicants to drop nuisance and unqualified applicants. By analyzing samples and trial articles, you may find suitable writers. Yet, until you have worked with them, there is no guarantee that they will be excellent at what they do. You can’t even be sure if they have the right attitude, dedication, and professionalism.
If hiring freelancers has been a frustrating process, you are not alone. A survey of HR professionals showed 68% having difficulty filling up positions for their organizations (Schramm).
Given all the challenges of hiring talented Filipino freelance writers, the best you can do for the gems is to do everything possible to keep them.
Sources and Further Reading
Goler, Lori, et al. “Why People Really Quit Their Jobs.” Harvard Business Review, 11 Jan. 2018, hbr.org/2018/01/why-people-really-quit-their-jobs. Accessed 28 Apr. 2021.
O’Neill, Aaron. “Philippines: Share of Economic Sectors in the Gross Domestic Product 2017.” Statista, 1 Apr. 2021, www.statista.com/statistics/578787/share-of-economic-sectors-in-the-gdp-in-philippines/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2021.
Schramm, Jen. “Survey: Qualified Workers Are Harder to Find.” Society for Human Resource Management, 1 June 2016, www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0616/pages/0616-hr-recruiting-difficulties-rise.aspx. Accessed 28 Apr. 2021.