All freelance writers for hire understand the importance of staying true to their word and submitting their assignments on time. After all, if they weren’t reliable, they wouldn’t be employed for long. To be sure, no freelance writer ever wants to miss a deadline. Unfortunately, there’s this pesky thing called real life that often gets in the way of any writer’s best laid plans. Kids get sick. Cars break down. It is what it is.
However, deadlines don’t just affect writers. We often forget that on the other side of every deadline is a client who needs an article written. And quite often, a delayed submission can create major headaches for a client who needs the piece sooner rather than later.
Of course, there’s no way to totally eliminate the potential of a missed deadline. As long as the universe continues to exist, there will always be some reason why a piece might not get done on time. Having said that, there are ways to minimize the chances of any snafus in the process.
Setting Early Deadlines
Some people consider “on time” to be 15 minutes early. This way, they’re covered if something goes wrong. The same principle can be applied to writing. If you’re looking for a piece to post to your website on Friday, set a deadline for Wednesday night. This gives you an extra day of slack in case there are any unexpected delays. It also gives you the chance to review the piece and make sure everything is perfect before it goes live.
Reach Out Early
In most cases, clients and writers are on the same page when it comes to the expectations for a given piece. But this level of syncopation is far from universal, and it shouldn’t be assumed that a writer is cool with your deadline. Always make sure that the writer is okay with the timeframe, and suggest that the writer contact you if there are any issues with the deadline. Addressing these issues well before the due date will help you both as you move forward with the process.
Get Ahead of the Curve
One sure-fire way to avoid problems with writer is to answer their questions before the writer even has a chance to ask. The more information you can give the writer in terms of what you’re expecting, the easier it will be for that writer to deliver the goods. Send examples of the style you want, and don’t be shy about sending along useful reference materials. You don’t have to do all of the research yourself, but it never hurts to show an example of the type of source you think the writer should use.
Set a Good Example
What’s the very best way to get a writer to submit their pieces as soon as possible? Give them the best possible incentive to send in their work. Review and approve the work you receive promptly, and pay your writers for your work without delay. Doing this sends two messages. First, it’s a sign of good faith that shows your writers that you care about their work. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it shows the level of professionalism you expect from those who produce content for you. If you can and approve their work right away, they’re more likely to get cracking shortly after you request work.
Of course, deadlines are a two-way street. There may be times when you need a piece in advance of your pre-established deadline. In these times, the professionalism you’ve exhibited will be a major asset as you try to work something out with the writer. Many writers will be happy with a little extra cash, but a genuine display of appreciation can be just as good. Anything that builds up the trust within the client-writer relationship will go a long way in the event that a deadline needs to be changed for any reason.
Bryan B is is a freelance writer based in Long Island, NY. He plans on sending himself flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day.