One approach to planning content is to micro-manage down to the last comma, leave nothing to chance, and make sure that your article writers never have a chance to take the initiative on any project. This approach can work. It’s not a lot of fun, but the upside is that you don’t need great writers if you’re only going to ask them to follow a rigid set of directions.
Another approach, an approach that relies on trust between yourself and your team, an approach that may call for a little trial and error, is to develop a marketing plan based on the strengths of your team, giving them assignments that are not so much a list of steps to follow, but a platform from which they can excel, creating content that exceeds your loftiest expectations.
Here’s how you can play to the strengths of your freelancers:
Learn Their Strengths
The best way to learn where your writers and designers excel is to give them a little breathing room. Don’t tell your web designer exactly where to place every single pixel, trust their instincts and let them surprise you. It can be more rewarding, and less time consuming on your end, to let them come up with something based on a few basic prompts, and then request adjustments after they show you a few mockups, rather than design the whole website in your head, feed your designer paragraphs and paragraphs of instructions, and then feel disappointed when it doesn’t look quite like you were expecting.
Put Your Team To The Challenge
The easiest way to challenge your team is to pay them less than they’re worth, and hit them with tight deadlines. That’s a great way to get sloppy, rushed content. A better way to challenge your team: treat them like collaborators. Ask them to bring their own ideas to the table, give them the time and the resources that will allow them to do their best work.
Hold Your Team To Higher Standards
Anybody can spin an existing article and stuff it with keywords. Not every writer can bring something new to the table, not every web designer can create a site that is visually stunning without being confusing to look at. Seek out people who are great at what they do, and don’t waste your time and money on freelancers who don’t know how to react when you give them an opportunity to impress you, to do more than crank out sentences until they hit their wordcount.
The ideal freelancer is somebody who understands your vision, and who understands how their own abilities and insights fit into that vision. The ideal client is someone who challenges and trusts that freelancer to surprise them with something outstanding.
Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in Bluewater, New Mexico with his wife, and his dog, Sir Kay