Hiring a Freelancer Is like Buying a Suit: It Has to Be a Good Fit

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“An Oxford man? Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit!” F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

As a television and pop culture zeitgeist, Mad Men has probably reached its creative peak, but Don Draper’s charcoal and mid-tone grey suits remain as impeccably tailored and razor-sharp as they were in season one. Draper’s an ad man after all, so style and marketing go together like narrow lapels and skinny ties.

It doesn’t take suspension of disbelief or a stretch of the imagination to compare hiring a freelance writer to buying a good suit. When a client or company looks to hire a freelance writer, they’re searching for a content specialist (just like those famous tailors on Savile Row, in Central London) who has the tone and style that suits their brand. However, too many posts have been stuffed like sloppy, ill-fitting keywords with tips and pointers discussing how writers should adjust their style to better please clients. Let’s flip the idea and take a look at how clients need to learn how to become better content shoppers. In other words, if you’re a Brooks Brothers kind of guy, then you’re going to be unhappy with the showcase of suits at J. Crew. The same rule of thumb holds true when you’re looking to hire a freelance writer.

Some freelancers angle for sharp, clean prose and a prep school polish. In a sense, their writing style is a lot like the well-cut suits worn by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Other scribes, however, opt for a breezier and more colloquial tone, a sort of laid back and leisurely panache reminiscent of Ralph Lauren. What about those caustic, irreverent and cooler than thou Brooklyn hipster blogs that clients sometime require? It can go two ways, actually: Abercrombie & Fitch, or those pompous and decadently annoying white suits that writer/journalist Tom Wolfe is so fond of.

As a client or company looking for a freelancer, you need to now what your style is in order to find the writer that fits the job. Of course, it’s not uncommon to think you like Banana Republic only to discover you’re a serious fan of Harris Tweed. You never know what’s going to happen when you try on something new, and that’s especially true when you’re sampling an extensive collection of freelance writers.

Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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