Best Practices for Managing Remote Freelance Writers
Managing a team of remote freelance writers is like putting a puzzle together. When all the pieces are in place, the result is a visual message. So it is with writers creating content for your business when certain “pieces” are in place.
An independent contractor’s clear statement of what writing for your company will entail is something many freelancers expect. A well-defined contract lays out information such as what the project covers, contract timeframe, pay rate and method, rights retained by the writer and the company, deadlines, liability, plagiarism, copyright infringement, and termination, to name a few.
Management and Communication
Once a contract is signed and in place, the next step is assigning a project manager and a method of contact. Some companies use a business email addresses, individual email addresses, Skype, or the phone for communication. Whichever method is used, providing a means of communication between both parties provides an opportunity for the clarification of questions and ensures that problems (or writing emergencies) are addressed in a timely manner.
As good as professional freelance writers are at their craft, one thing they can’t do is read minds. The responsibility of creating clear, concise instructions falls to the project manager. Whether your need is for an in-depth article about company services, a company history page, blog post on an upcoming special, social media post, or an email campaign promoting your business, several things must be crystal clear. These include:
- The tone of voice (would you like your content to sound business professional, straight-forward yet light and casual, humorous, cut and dry, or creative?)
- Do you want first, second or third person perspective?
- Word count.
- A list of optimized SEO keywords and the number of times they are to be used.
- If you require links, note types that are and aren’t acceptable.
- Be clear about citing sources and any websites that are not to be used or linked to.
- Any special instructions.
Deadlines and Accountability
Be clear about deadline dates. This gives your project manager time to proof all work for accuracy and content requirements. If you’re using a third party site to manage the editing portion, decide whether they will handle edits or if the writer will be required to make revisions, herself.
Unforeseen situations may arise that hinder a writer from completing an assignment. When you have writers with a proven track record, it’s in your best interest to keep them. Let your team know you will work with them, whenever possible and within reason, should they find themselves in a time crunch.
Last but not least, respect is a two-way street. If you’ve brought writers onboard to create content, they’re part of a team. Respect their years of experience, their knowledge about content and copywriting, and their “spin” on what you’ve requested. Set the tone from the beginning with clear instructions and on-going communication so writers are at ease and can discuss the work with you in a professional and friendly manner.
With these key elements in place, quality content is guaranteed.
Vickie F‘s diverse writing background includes several years as a Senior Managing Editor. That experience gave her a first-hand look, and perspective, of what it means to work with a variety of freelance egos, including her own.