A company looking for new content often gets excited over the prospects of what freelance writers can offer. However, freelancers are only as good as the tools they are given to work with. When clients neglect instructions or clutter guidelines with unnecessary information, writers struggle to create what a client wants in an assignment. By offering error-free instructions that get to the point, clients can get the most out of their freelancers and build a working relationship that can lead to ongoing projects.
What Am I Doing?
Some clients request work without stating the topic or point of the article. There might be a lot of information regarding the client’s company, their recent blog history, and the style of writing they would like to see — but if there are no instructions to that effect, the freelancer is left with no direction. Some writers see this lack of information as a cue to present whatever they feel like. More often than not this approach results in an unhappy client and a disgruntled writer. If the article is intended to be open-ended, clients can inform writers of this freedom while offering some examples or broad guidelines to make sure the article fits in the same realm.
The 411 on Avoiding the 404
Providing links can be a helpful way to gear freelancers in the right direction, yet it is also one of the most common areas where clients mess up their instructions. It is easy to mistype URLs, link to the wrong page or provide a website that has since changed or contains confusing or contradictory information. Instead of just offering web links, clients can add a comment pertaining to what exactly is being linked to, whether naming a particular article, pointing out a certain section of an about page or indicating a product description in a list of similar items. Links should be directly copied into instructions and double-checked for error by recopying and pasting back into the browser.
Keeping Communication Open
Many clients are open to receiving feedback and questions from freelancers regarding an assignment. However, if this fact is not mentioned within the instructions, certain writers may hesitate to pose a question. Those clients looking to establish contact can state so within the instructions and, if possible, leave a name for writers to address questions to. Clients who will not be able to respond to questions should let freelancers know that they will be unavailable. This ensures that writers do not wait around for a question to be answered before working on the assignment.
Better Instructions Means Better Business
Clients experiencing difficulties with writers following instructions should revisit the information they provided. Too much unnecessary information means the crucial points might go unnoticed. Keep instructions organized, concise and easy to interpret. Not only will this prevent mishaps, it also can encourage writers to pick up assignments they might have turned down otherwise. Great writers appreciate good instructions and will be eager to provide more content for such clients in the future.
Daniel M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.