Usually when customers post orders on WriterAccess to large “Love Lists” or to the “Crowd,” the orders get picked up right away, often within seconds, by writers eager to get to work. Once in a while, though, orders can sit for days without anyone claiming them. In the unlikely event that ever happens to any of your orders, these are the probable reasons along with suggested solutions.
Instructions Are Too Long
Writers who are browsing available orders may move on if they see 1,000 words of instructions for a 500-word assignment. Attachments with additional instructions, including lengthy style sheets, can also be intimidating. Writers may think it will take longer to read and digest the instructions than to do the actual writing.
Keep in mind: The reason this is a problem is that what might be a great system for in-house writers won’t necessarily work for freelancers who work one assignment at a time. Your in-house writers can spend hours studying your style sheets and other requirements because they will be using the knowledge they gain for a long time into the future. They also don’t need to learn everything all at once.
Freelancers, however, especially those you have never worked with before, have no assurance that they will be working with you beyond the single current assignment, and the time investment needed can seem too high for that one assignment.
There are two possible solutions to this problem:
Simplify the instructions. Leave in what is absolutely essential, but edit out the rest. Ideally, instructions should be no more than a few paragraphs long, without additional attachments.
If you need your work to adhere to strict guidelines, consider hiring a WriterAccess editor or using an in-house editor to fine-tune the details, leaving the writer free to concentrate on the bigger picture.
Instead of posting your complex WriterAccess assignments with long instructions as “Love List” or “Crowd” orders, send them to individual writers as “Solo” orders. When you establish working relationships with individual writers, and the writers know that the current assignments aren’t one-shot deals but part of an ongoing series of orders, the writers will be more motivated to invest the time it takes to learn all the details of your system.
Why are people rude to writers they haven’t even met? Who knows, but it’s an unfortunate fact that it happens once in a while. Some customers seem to expect the worst and post orders that take a threatening tone that seem to say: “The assignment must be perfect. If you make any errors I will give you a ‘Did Not Meet Expectations’ rating.” No one wants to be threatened before they’ve even gotten started, and writers will flee from orders like this…even if there’s just a hint of negativity in the order.
A variation that pops up sometimes is when customers express disappointment with work that other writers have done. “My last writer was an idiot who did a terrible job. I expect that you will do much better.” While this might attract the occasional writer who is hyper-competitive or who relishes a challenge, more likely it will make writers think the customer will be impossible to satisfy. Unsatisfied customers may give bad ratings, and bad ratings may cause writers to be penalized. Faced with that possibility, most writers will pass on the assignment.
As someone who is interested enough in what writers think to read this blog, you would probably never do anything like the examples above. For the people who do, though, the solution is simple: Keep all communication on a respectful professional-to-professional level.
There is something about being in an online environment that can make people become, shall we say, just a wee bit unrealistic. On dating sites, you see totally average guys who proudly assert they will settle for nothing less than a supermodel. On WriterAccess, you occasionally see customers who post orders asking for content that will go viral and be read by millions of people, or asking for writers with experience both as bank CEOs and as world class trapeze artists. More often than not, these orders offer lower-level pay rates. Yes, we writers know these customers are dreaming, but there is a risk in taking orders from people whose expectations are impossible to meet.
WriterAccess is not a fantasy land. It is, however, a site that has thousands of writers who can create the content you need for your business. Keep your expectations realistic, and you will be pleased with the results. WriterAccess guarantees it! Ask for the impossible, and you will just scare writers away.
The Solutions Are Easy
Orders that languish for days are the rare exception rather than the rule. But should you ever find that an order you have sent to the Crowd or to a large Love List is not picked up quickly, with just a little tweaking, you can make it rise to the top of the pack.
Marjorie R has written articles online for more than 15 years and has also written humor for American Greetings and crossword puzzles for the New York Times. She wrote an entertainment blog that was consistently in the top 5 in the Google search results, and at its peak was #1 out of a total of 66,499,997 results. She has a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley, an M.A. in Creative Writing/English from SF State, and a J.D. from UC Hastings.