Freelance Writers: How to Get Your Money’s Worth

Posted on April 6, 2011 by Jamie B

As professionals, using a freelance writer can be a daunting task. You may or may not have met them in person, you may or may not be working with them via a recommendation, etc. If this is your first time working with a freelance writer, you might have some reservations—or you might be plain scared.

Fortunately, the vast majority of writers who have devoted themselves to full-time freelance work are creative, organized, disciplined and qualified. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to work from home, where distractions abound. Trust me, from the doorbell, to the dog, to the telephone, distractions abound.

But this is about you, not me.  So, how can you get the most out of working with a freelance writer? Stick with me and I’ll give you the inside scoop!

The Inside Scoop on Working with Freelance Writers

When working with a freelance writer, it is important to understand that to get the most out of the job, you have to be a working participant in the relationship as well. Qualified freelance writers are highly-skilled in their field and will bring much to the table when given the chance. You want quality content and they can provide it, as long as they have the necessary tools.

You are contracting your work out to highly-skilled individuals who know what they are doing and are great at what they do—so let them do it. Once you’ve identified any degrees they might hold, examined their portfolios, talked about recommendations and found the right one, it’s time to let him or her do his or her thing. But first, a little preparation.

Things To Do When Working with a Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, I can tell you there are things which contribute positively to your overall finished product: quality content:

  • Be specific. Freelancers work best when the job description and the client’s needs are specific. You know what you want better than anyone else. Take time to explain it precisely.
  • Talk about your deadline. Discuss when you need to have the completed assignment along with any milestones you would each like to set along the way.  By setting up milestones, you each ensure you’re on the right path to success.
  • Talk about the approval process. How many people need to approve a project before you get the final “OK.”  If you’ll be waiting on Big Boss Bob to say “OK,” tell your freelancer up front.  It keeps them from wondering what the hold up is (and from calling you 24 times a day—ok, 25 times.)
  • Define goals. What is the purpose of the completed assignment? Is it to educate others? Is it to entertain? Be able to identify what you want your audience to do (click a link or request more information, for example).
  • Be able to identify your audience. For example, are they car dealers age 34-49 who drink their coffee with two sugars? The more specific the more effective the content.
  • Identify keywords you want stressed.
  • Define tone. Talk about the overall feel you want for your copy: conversational, humorous, professional, etc. You wouldn’t want your copy to read like Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globe opener, if you were going more for a professional brochure, right?  That would be a first-class ticket back to the drawing board.
  • Be courteous. You are working with someone, not over someone. You have called in a specialist who is really good at what they do; micro-managing only hinders the long-term goal. You can address any issues you have with content during the revision phase, if needed.  No hovering!
  • Be responsive. Nothing can set a project back more than a client too busy to take a phone call from a freelance writer who wants to clarify a few things. On the other hand, if you hired a competent writer and identified specifics up-front, there will be no babysitting needed.
  • Be willing to communicate. Make sure the freelance professional you are working with understands that you are available for any further questions or concerns they have about the content. State the best hours to reach you by phone or email, and find out the best ways and times to reach your freelance writer. By doing this, you encourage communication, which ensures you are both on the same page.

By providing this information up front, you are much more likely to receive quality content with the message your intend. If you are happy, the freelance writer you are working with will also be happy; Win/Win!
Are you a freelance writer? What tips can you give buyers to get the most from the experience?

Are you part of a company that has worked with freelance writers? What tips can you share with others to get the most from the experience?

Jamie B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.


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