If you’ve ever tried to assemble a marketing campaign without the assistance of a content creation platform, you probably already know what a godsend they can be.
A centralized location staffed with talented, vetted writers that are available virtually 24/7 for even the most urgent last-minute projects.
While using a freelance marketplace is a great way to improve your ROI and efficiency, using it well can take your content game to a completely different level.
Before you hop into your usual workflow of hiring a copywriter, make sure these ten common mistakes aren’t holding you back:
1.) Unclear/Incomplete Directions
Professional writers generally don’t need a manifesto to get their bearings, but the more they know about you and your project, the better the content they are able to produce for you.
At a bare minimum, you should always include links to the site or product you’re hiring for, and if it isn’t built yet, something similar within the industry.
Flesh out where and how you’ll be using the content, and some important points you’d like it to convey.
2) Ignoring Casting Call or Writer Test Features
These are offered on writer service sites for a very important reason – matching you with the perfect writer for your needs.
Asking for pitches or ideas will help you get a feel for a given writer.
Bear in mind that it’s considered polite to hire the writer that produced the ideas you liked, rather than mixing and matching ideas and writers.
However, if a general concept sparked some ideas for you, feel free to suggest them to the writer you invite to the project.
3) Ordering the Wrong Quality Level
While every writer tries their hardest and offers professional results, not all scribes are created equal.
Some specialize in small, informal blurbs while others are well-vetted in producing lengthy, research-backed white papers.
Know what level of quality you’re aiming for, and carefully review the samples or suggestions for each level in your freelance marketplace of choice.
4) Not Understanding the UI
The idea of a “user-friendly” site can be very subjective, particularly if you don’t spend a lot of time looking at similar websites.
The time to iron out issues with the UI of your writer-for-hire site isn’t the day of the deadline. Take a few minutes to poke around and familiarize yourself with a new writing website before placing your first order.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. Site staff and writers alike can usually help you find a solution if you get stuck.
5) Poor Scheduling
There will be times where a last-minute content need pops up at a less-than-convenient hour. But in general you should try to schedule your projects to appear during business and/or daylight hours.
This will ensure they’re visible to the largest pool of potential writers, increasing your chances of having the job picked up and finished quickly.
6) Expecting Non-Platform Extras
Once again, while writers are generally happy to do all they can to meet your needs, when you’re hiring a copywriter you shouldn’t expect a graphic designer, coder, or advertiser as well.
While there are a few exceptions – some platforms allow you to pay a small fee to display a writer’s byline, for example – you should endeavor to source your own images.
Avoid asking writers to promote or post your content unless they agree beforehand and an additional cost is negotiated.
7) Not Communicating
If your writer has a question about your product, service or the content itself, they need to be able to reach you in order to proceed.
Make sure your platform account is properly linked to your email, and answer in a timely fashion whenever possible.
Note that on most platforms, a question will “pause the clock” on deadlines, and may need to be manually restarted after the writer’s question is answered.
8) Communicating Off-Platform
The writer service you’re using has a messaging system built-in to ensure protection for both client and writer if a problem arises.
Communicating off the platform – i.e. asking a writer for their private email or phone number, or offering yours – can remove that protection.
Keep your communication on-platform. Both you and your writer likely agreed to do so when you initially signed up.
9) Ignoring Favorite Lists and Solo Features
Nothing’s worse than getting a fantastic piece of content and “losing” that fantastic writer the next time you place an order.
Keep track of your best content producers by using favorites lists or teams, which allow you to quickly reference writers you’ve worked with or would like to work with moving forward.
Solo features allow you to send a job directly to a favorite writer, ensuring a consistent stream of quality content and peace of mind.
10) Forgetting your Freelancer is Human
Your writers absolutely understand that you have deadlines, and will work hard to meet them. But if you post an order at 3am, don’t expect them to see it until the following morning.
Many freelancers are parents, have unusual schedules, are caring for a family member, or may be across the country from you.
That means you might need to build in a little wiggle room when starting a rapport with a new writer. This is one of the many reasons that using casting calls and favorites lists will always work in your favor.
When your team knows what to expect from you, you’ll know what to expect from them, and your content will always be there on time.
Keep these ten potential pitfalls in mind and you’ll be using your selected platform(s) like a pro in no time.
There will always be a learning curve where structured business meets freelancing, but the gap is typically not as wide as you fear, and far easier to bridge than a glance would suggest.
Creating fantastic content for your business is just a matter of getting comfortable with the right tools and teams, and the freelance marketplace has everything you need to make it happen.
Delany M is a writer who works with small-to-medium businesses, agencies, and our Fortune 1000 clients. She excels at being flexible with requests, deadlines, and even attending Content Marketing Conference!
To find more writers offering a similar level of excellence (sorry she’s one of a kind), take a look at the talented freelance writers offered within your industry!