Freelancers: Without the Cog, Would the Wheel Still Turn?
I spend a lot of time writing and thinking about the digital world that we live in. The beauty of the digital world is that it has truly created a global population that connects innovators, thinkers, and creators with the businesses and organizations who need their help. The challenge of the digital world, is that it is very easy to forget that the freelancer on the other end of the screen is in fact a person and not just a hired entity.
As a writer and content marketer, I spend my days metaphorically putting a face to businesses and brands of all sizes. For this post, I want to spend a little time helping businesses understand how to best put a face to the writers, editors, translators, and content marketers that make up the freelance team here at WriterAccess.
Tip #1 Schedule A Call With Your Freelancers
The easiest way to put a face to a freelancer is to schedule a five-minute introductory call. This call is especially important if you are planning on working with the writer on a long term basis. I recently had a call with a client that I have worked with for the past year. The husband and wife team are based in Maryland and the first thing they asked was “are you originally from South Africa?” I couldn’t help but laugh because as a world traveler I get that comment a lot. Apparently my accent fluctuates and what little Yankee-inspired lingo I had as a child is now supplemented with a mixture of British sayings, southern inflection, and a few turn-of-phrases that I’ve picked up while continent hopping. The point of this little anecdote is that by hearing my voice, the client had a better insight into who I was as a person (and writer).
Tip #2 When In Doubt, Ask
This tip is for both businesses and freelancers. The old rule of thumb, “when in doubt, ask,” should be applied to every single assignment. As a business, you can and should use the comment section to ask your freelancers if they have any questions at the start of the assignment. As freelancers, it is our job to answer this simple question. It is also a great opportunity to start the working relationship off on the right foot. With this in mind, it is crucial that both freelancers and businesses remember this all important rule, “everyone has a different schedule.” I mention this rule because the downfall of the screen is that we often forget the person on the other end has a life and schedule too, which means that it might take them a little time to respond to your questions. Polite, gentle nudges are encouraged when the communication process seems to be delayed; however, it is a fine balance between being polite and pushy, which is why I’ve included the third tip.
Tip #3 Without The Cog, Would The Wheel Still Turn?
Freelancers play a vital role in producing the content that businesses need to reach new levels of success. However, when communication flybys are occurring (i.e. it feels like you are speaking an entirely different language, even though in your head your directions were clear), it’s easy to forget that without the freelancer, your content wouldn’t be created. While the phrase “cog in the wheel” often has a bad connotation, in this case, the cog is actually a brilliant thing; after all, without the cog, your content marketing wheel wouldn’t turn. The key of course is to remember that the cog is in fact a human and not a robot (if we were, then your content marketing pieces would be written in binary code).
The Bottom Line: Perspective Is The Key Ingredient To Success
To any freelancers reading this, remember the importance of perspective. It is your job to keep the content wheel turning. To do your job, you must remember to create an environment of open and clear communications. I suppose you could connect it all together by saying that the initial phone call allows you to introduce yourself, asking questions creates the foundation needed for exceeding expectations, and remembering the vital role that you play delivers the perspective needed to build working relationships.
To all of the WriterAccess clients (and prospective clients) who are reading this, you too should remember the importance of perspective. The introductory call gives you a chance to know your freelancers on both a professional and personal level, using the comment section to facilitate a conversation eliminates the frustration of easily avoided miscommunications, and remembering that freelancers are vital cogs in your content creation wheel offers the perspective needed to achieve new levels of success. By working together, freelancers and businesses can overcome the challenges of the digital world to create positive working relationships that achieve content marketing goals.
Laura P has written 4,000+ articles, blog posts, product reviews, press releases, and website content for a multitude of clients. In the past 7 years, she has developed written, marketing, video, and web content for clients in the real estate, information technology, restaurant, auto, retail, equine sales, oil and gas, and public relations industries. Laura is highly proficient in SEO optimization, particularly in real estate and retail industries. She ghost wrote IT white papers, government contract task orders, RFIs, and RFPs that resulted in millions of dollars won. She has 7-years of experience working with and interviewing olympic athletes, small-business owners, CEOs, SMEs, and entrepreneurs on complex topics. As a professional writer, Laura strives to create content that is both meaningful and relatable to her readers.