Managing Freelance Writing HelpFebruary 5th 2015 Sally Ormond Freelance copywriting, freelance writing, working freelance, working with a freelance writer
The chances are you don’t have the time or energy to produce all the content your company needs.
Whether it’s website copy or articles for your blog, writing and research take time so it can be more cost effective for you to hire in freelance help.
Once you’ve done your research and found the writers you need you have to learn how to manage them.
They will probably be working remotely, so your usual management style won’t work. Plus, they are freelance and not permanent members of your team, which can lead to issues.
If you want great work you have to manage your freelance writers effectively. Here are a few tips to help you out.
To get the best work from someone you have to get to know them. You must also make sure they feel valued. The best way to do that is to maintain regular phone contact with them.
Make a point of calling them every month or week. Whether you just want to have a chat and catch-up, or have some content to discuss, your freelancer will welcome being treated like a member of the team rather than the remote hired help.
2. Clear guidelines
You have to remember that your freelance writer is not a mind reader. Just because they write for a living does not mean they know what you what instinctively.
It’s important you give them clear guidance: word count, topics, tone, links, audience etc. In other words, everything they need to start writing.
If you don’t know what you want, tell them and ask for their input. Some writers will be happy to work this way, whereas others want to be directed. Don’t assume anything, be open, honest and work out the best way to work for both of you.
Working with freelancers isn’t all one way, it’s also important you listen to them. They will have ideas and bring a fresh pair of eyes to the table helping you see things you may have previously overlooked. Be open to what they have to say and use their experience to your advantage.
Make sure you set clear deadlines for work. Between you come up with an editorial calendar to make sure deadlines are met. If you work by the “get it to me as soon as you can” method you’ll end up with a mess.
5. What do you need?
I mentioned in number 3 it’s important to remember that working with freelancers isn’t all one way, that’s why it’s important to ask what they need.
They may tell you they want more communication from you, more ideas, clearer instruction or faster feedback. Whatever it is, listen and take action because it will help make the whole content producing mill work a lot smoother.
6. What do you like?
One of the hardest things a freelancer has to deal with is getting the right tone of voice.
It’s very easy for you to chat at length about how you want to come across, but invariably, once you see the results, you’ll decide that’s not what you where after. If you have a style in mind it’s more than likely you have an example of it. If you do show your writer so they can see your vision. Tell them what you like about it and they can take those elements and use them to create a unique voice for your work.
Every relationship thrives on feedback. When you get the articles from your writer, good constructive feedback will help them hone the style until it matches exactly what you need. A good writer won’t need to be constantly told what to do. They will have the experience they need to bring your content to life and will also understand SEO so don’t try to tell them how to do their job. Granted, if they have a knowledge gap in relation to your business you’ll need to tell them, but if it’s an issue of style or SEO optimisation, listen to their guidance because they are the experts in that area.
8. Pay well
Most people’s view is “it’s only writing” and expect it for peanuts.
If you want the best freelance talent you’ll have to pay for it. They don’t come cheap, but they are not as expensive as hiring someone full-time.
When you find a good writer make sure you remunerate well to keep them.
The management of your freelancers is the key to a successful relationship. When things go wrong it often comes down to mismanagement rather than the ability of the writer. Building a strong relationship is vital. With them by your side you will receive valuable advice and guidance that will see your marketing strategy thrive.