You’ve got a great idea for an article that will drive traffic to your website and make money for your business, but you can’t write it yourself. “Let me get a top-notch freelancer,” you figure; after all, these guys are the best. They can do everything you can’t.
At that exact moment, your vision for the article is forever compromised. Letting someone else in on your ideas is a sure-fire way to ensure that they will never end up on paper exactly as you planned. While there’s a chance a writer can make your original idea better, there’s also a chance he or she misses the point entirely. That’s one of the many risks you take every time you hire a freelancer.
The question, then, becomes this: “What am I paying for?” That is to say, if there’s no guarantee you’re going to get what you want when you bring in a freelance writer, what exactly are you getting? Here’s a guide for what you should expect any time you fork money over to a writer for content services.
The most obvious expectation you should have is clean copy – specifically, no spelling errors, no blatant grammar errors, and no erroneous facts. Now, even freelance writers aren’t perfect, so you might get a funny-looking sentence here or there, and you might have a fact that’s missing a citation. At minimum, though, you should get a piece that doesn’t lie, doesn’t look unprofessional, and can easily be tweaked to suit your needs.
Writers aren’t mind readers, so it’s up to you to articulate your vision to them as best you can. A good freelancer can write in any style about any topic you can fathom, so be specific with your initial instructions. Anything that is open to interpretation is an area where the writer can deviate from your vision. Instead of praying the writer gets it right, remove any areas where he or she may stray from the intended path. This is the best way to ensure you get what you’re paying for.
When you hire a freelancer, you assume the risk that the writer can go in a different direction than you envisioned. When that happens, you’re within your rights to ask the writer to make any changes necessary to achieve your initial vision. Don’t worry about hurting the writer’s feelings – remember, you’re paying the writer – but don’t attack his or her abilities. Try to be encouraging and focus on one or two areas where the writer can make the changes necessary to turn a dud into a stud.
One of the best things about WriterAccess is that you can gauge your expectations based on the writer’s level. If you’re paying Level 5 rate, you should expect total perfection in each of these categories. As the level decreases, so, too, should your adherence to these rules. Paying a Level 2 writer means you’ll get something that resembles your vision, but it will probably be rough around the edges. You get what you pay for in freelance writing, and if you make a writer’s life easier, he or she will reward you with great content.
Bryan B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.