Sometimes, selecting a writer who fits perfectly into your content strategy, brand, and voice can be challenging. If you’ve had a difficult time finding the right writer (or holding onto a great one), you might be guilty of one or more transgressions of working with freelance writers. Avoiding these no-nos will help you find a team of writers who complement your content strategy and can’t wait to write for you until their fingers cramp.
Avoid These 7 Transgressions for All-Around Success with Your Freelancers
Ghosting lands on the top of this list because it’s not just a faux-pas in the world of modern dating; it’s also a problem freelance writers encounter with clients. Making writers aware of your intended content schedule, volume needs, and order frequency is extremely helpful to writers trying to juggle numerous clients and countless deadlines on an ever-shifting work calendar. When — poof — a client seemingly disappears into thin air, you’re ghosting us, and that can quickly toss a freelancer’s schedule into chaos, leaving blank spaces in a work day and uncertainty about the future.
2. Offering Too Little Compensation
For a freelance writer, time equals money. It’s our most valuable resource (followed closely by internet connectivity). When beginning a relationship with a writer, it’s okay to have an up-front conversation about compensation, your budget, and your writer’s expectations. Keep in mind the amount of time, effort, and skill required to write your content. More technical topics, in-depth articles, and voice-heavy pieces require intensive research, citations, and a highly skilled writer.
3. Being Non-Communicative
Not being available to answer your writer’s questions, especially when first working with a new writer, can put a hamper on the content you receive. While writers understand that their clients have busy lives, too, it is helpful if clients are available to answer questions regarding their specific requirements and expectations for the work at hand. Being slow to answer questions not only delays turnaround, it also eats up the time your writer has available to work on your content. Keep an eye on your email and messaging to watch for questions and comments from your writers. You can even consider scheduling a conference call with a new writer to discuss your brand and content marketing goals, while establishing positive rapport from the start.
4. Not Requesting Revisions When Desired
For seasoned writers, revisions are par for the course. We expect requests for them, especially when working with a new client. If you’re not completely satisfied with the content you receive, you can request a revision from your writer. Using the annotations feature, you can also leave specific comments on the bits of content you want changed.
Be mindful, however, that revisions aren’t always necessary. If you just want a word changed here or there, it’s often much easier to make the changes yourself, rather than sending it back for a revision. Of course, the best way to avoid the need for revisions at all is to ensure you’re on the same page with your writer from the very start.
5. Not Discussing Your Content Goals
Understanding the purpose of content is immensely helpful to the writer piecing it together. The goal of your content not only informs the content’s subject and focus, but also the way in which it’s organized from top to bottom and also the way it’s written (for an expert or lay audience). Be sure to share your content goals (motivate to purchase, drive traffic to the website, gain followers, or amass subscribers) and information about your audience (customer personas and customer journey maps) with your team of freelancers to ensure you receive content that helps you achieve your ultimate content strategy goals.
6. Expecting Writers to Read Minds
We can work magic with a keyboard, but we’re not great with crystal balls. If you don’t ask us for something directly, there’s only a small chance we’ll think to do it. When completing a content order, include as much information as you can. You don’t have to write a novel to order a high quality blog post, but be sure to include information about your audience, your website and where the content will be published, any desired keywords, and desired links. You can even include examples of voice, branding, or other content you like. This will give your writers clarity and help them deliver the content you hope to receive.
7. Providing Zero Feedback
If you liked the content, loved the content, or were just okay with the content, please let your writer know. Telling us what you loved, what could be improved, and why will help your working relationship flourish.
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Jennifer G is a full-time freelance writer and editor with a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Montana. She enjoys researching and writing creative content to engage readers and developing professional voices for clients across all industries. She specializes in medical, health, veterinary, and financial writing. Having worked nearly thirteen years in finance, Jennifer applies her experience in the banking industry (marketing, social media management, consumer and commercial lending, customer service, accounts, and bookkeeping) to her writing work within the industry.