Due to the limitations of being an “online working relationship,” communication between a client and their freelance content writer is even more important than in a traditional professional working relationship. After all, you can’t walk into your writer’s office, sit a minute and have a nice chat about the vision you have for a particular piece, your long-term goal for a certain project or easily get systematic progress updates. Therefore, when beginning an online working relationship, as you will with a freelance writer, you need to keep the following tips in mind:
Start Off With an Introduction & Then Ask For Specifics
As in any relationship, no matter if its primarily online or in person, introducing yourself is where you should start. Keep in mind, your writer doesn’t have to know your entire life story. Keep it short, simple and straightforward. Explain how you prefer to communicate and ask your writer how they prefer to communicate. We all communicate differently, as explained by this Harvard article, so it’s important to know if your writer would benefit from a hand’s off approach or prefers more communication throughout the project. The following are some suggestions on how to go about this:
- “Hi, I am (your name) my company is (company’s name). My purpose for beginning this project is to (briefly cover the purpose of your project. Think marketing, to drive readers, educate readers, entertain, etc.)”
- Now, move on to explaining how you like to communicate, such as: “I am frequently out of the office, and prefer touching base a few times a week, does that work for you?”
(The above is, assuming that you are talking about an ongoing project. If you send your writer a project, there is often no need to communicate with them again until you receive your completed content.)
- Ask your writer how often they want to communicate during a project’s duration. Be aware that at WriterAccess, after a project is sent and completed, there is a timer that will start ticking. Once a certain amount of time has passed, a writer can no longer contact you via the messaging system. This puts the burden of communication squarely on your shoulders after a piece of content has been turned in for review or approval.
Realize Your Order Instructions Can be a Huge Help or a Source of Confusion: Construct Them Wisely
After you have communicated your purpose for your order, introduced yourself and have asked how much communication your writer wants throughout an ongoing project, now it’s time to send the actual order. Be aware, what you communicate via your order instructions is just as important, if not more so, than everything just mentioned. Try to be as clear and precise as possible when creating your instructions. Also, don’t hesitate to link to other articles as examples, but do so only if you do like them enough for your writer to emulate the style. Be sure not to overdue the instructions, though.
If you want a 500-word article, 1,000 words of directions might be overkill. If there are points you want to make sure your writer sees, bold them or place them in a special instruction section. There is also an option with WriterAccess that allows you to place special instructions at the bottom of an order, where a writer must check a box that he or she has included a certain element within the content before they can send the order. This is another way to ensure they know what is most important and must be included before sending back to you.
Be Responsive: Don’t Leave Your Writer Hanging
If you learn nothing else from this piece, please take this away: If a writer asks you a question pertaining to an order, get back to them as soon as humanly possible. Writers understand that you also have deadlines and responsibilities that go beyond a single order or project. However, when a writer is waiting for confirmation, clarification or direction in order to be able to complete an order, days in between responses can become problematic. Often, this will result in your writer simply guessing what you want, because a deadline is quickly approaching they must meet. This doesn’t put them or you in a good situation and often doesn’t yield great end results.
Don’t miss these other great articles about writer management!
Take Advantage of The Tools at Hand
Thankfully, at WriterAccess, there is a messaging system and even conference call capability in place that will allow you to communicate with your writer throughout your project and beyond. This gives you the ability to communicate with a writer before, during an even after a project is completed. Take advantage of all these tools to create an ideal professional working relationship with your writer.
Brandie P‘s career as a freelance writer spans several years and encompasses an abundance of niche specialties. Before beginning her writing career, she was an office manager and worked in the medical field. Her experience in these two fields have come in handy when writing topics pertaining to these fields.