With 62% of organizations outsourcing content marketing, hiring a freelance writer for your organization just makes sense.
A Freelance Writer Can Save You Money
For one, you’re saving loads of money by hiring a writer, about 20% to 30% of your payroll costs.
Your savings become especially apparent when you consider that you won’t be paying a salary, dolling out benefits, and your writing professional won’t eat all the snacks in your break room!
A freelance writer merely works when you have work to assign, which is the way efficient content creation should be done.
Put Your Brand’s Best Foot Forward
Of course, the greatest benefit to hiring a freelance writer is that you’ll have at your disposal the writing services of a tried and true professional anytime you need.
Assuming you’ve hired a writer of the highest caliber, your writer can be put to good use developing content your audience readily responds to.
It’s said that 80% of people appreciate learning more about a company through custom content. With a freelance writer, you’ll not only have that custom content, but you’ll be able to keep your writer working to deliver consistently relevant content long into the future.
It’s every marketer’s dream!
All of your content will have a professional polish, and every customer-facing piece of collateral will be designed to boost loyalty and facilitate mass conversions.
However, merely hiring a freelance writer isn’t enough. As the writer’s client, here are some best practices to follow if you want the most value from your freelance writer.
Assessing the Quality of Your Freelance Writer
First, let’s make sure you have on hand the best writer for the job.
The ideal freelance writer will be:
Experienced with Relevant Expertise
The ideal writer will have worked with others of similar pursuits. If you work in B2B marketing, your writer will have written B2B collateral for agencies and other marketers in the past.
Ask for examples and only hire the writer who displays the writing chops you’re after.
An Extreme Go-Getter
The writer worthy of your time and money doesn’t have to be prodded to work. The person is quick to respond to your emails and does a job well done every time, and always on time.
Skilled at Writing
Not everyone can write well, and that’s okay. But they shouldn’t call themselves writers.
Unfortunately, ease of access today allows anyone with a laptop and some time to call themselves a writer.
Find and hire your writer based on reviews and client testimonials. A paid-upon-acceptance writing test can also weed out would-be writers from the real deal.
Hopefully, your freelance writer passes muster. If so, and if you want to get the most value from your freelance writer, here are the simple steps to follow.
Getting the Most Value After Hiring Your Freelance Writer
1. Keep Your Freelance Writer Busy
If you have the budget, there is no excuse for not giving your writer plenty of work to do. Blog posts can help build your audience, as companies that blog produce 67% more leads per month!
The same goes for whitepapers, ebooks, and email newsletters.
From product descriptions and press release writing to video scripts and case study writing, there are numerous projects your writer could be working on. Each project is another chance to improve your company’s online reputation, attract more leads, and convert loads more paying customers.
2. Be Reasonable with Schedules & Deadlines
With experience comes faster completion times, which means your writer may be able to churn out a quality blog post in just a few hours. However, there is a fine line between a job that is produced quickly and one that is rushed.
Project schedules and time-frames can vary depending on a variety of factors, namely the project type. Blog posts are going to take less time than full-length books, for example.
Therefore, asking your writer to produce two long-form blogs per week can be reasonable. Asking your writer to write a full-length book in a week is not reasonable at all, at least not if you want a polished product submitted by the deadline.
Ask your writer what timeframe they prefer and do your best to come up with a schedule and deadline regimen you can both work with.
Ideally, you’ll produce a content calendar. That way, your writer will have a blueprint to work off of and there will be no question as to what projects are due and by what time. That’s an efficient system that can be followed long into the future, producing quality work that always gets results.
3. Streamline Communication & Processes
For best results, pick a single way of communicating with your freelance writer and a single method for submitted projects. This creates a streamlined system that allows for quality and consistent content development.
Some clients like to communicate via Skype and Slack and email and social, sometimes employing all of these for varying occasions. When you have too many methods of communicating with your freelancer, you risk messages getting muddled or lost.
Email works well when communicating with your freelance writer. IM messaging programs can become problematic, as the more times you ping your writer, the less focus your professional might put into the writing being completed.
Likewise, too many methods for submitting projects can become confusing, especially if the writer is required to submit to multiple people.
A platform like Trello used in conjunction with Google Docs can keep projects organized and efficient, even across multiple projects.
The key is to come up with standard operating procedures. Keep things simple, especially communication and project submissions, and you’re sure to get the most benefit from your freelance writer.
4. Provide Clear Instructions
Your writer isn’t a mind reader and has no idea what you expect when you assign a blog post, ebook, or email newsletter.
For this reason, it helps to provide your writer with a detailed project brief.
The brief doesn’t need to be so detailed that you practically write the project for your writer, but it should include all the necessary details.
Generally speaking, your brief should include:
· Background about your organization
· The scope and goal of the piece or project
· Information about your audience (aka your Buyer Persona)
· Key details about the piece, such as critical information to include
· Brand and style guidelines (submit in Google Docs in Arial 12pt, for instance)
· The proposed schedule and deadline
· Proposed budget
You might also include specific keywords, a word count, a title recommendation, links where further research may be required, and anything else that needs to be mentioned.
A skilled and experienced writer will make the best use of your project brief while conducting his or her own research to develop a comprehensive and high-quality finished piece.
Whatever you do, never wait until your writer has turned something in to say, “Oh, wait, I forgot! I want…”
Your writer puts a lot of time and energy into getting your pieces right the first time around.
For that reason, strive to provide every single detail you can think of ahead of time, and for efficiency’s sake, which of course helps you get the most value from your freelancer.
5. Stick to Writing Projects (Unless Otherwise Specified)
This happens more often than you might suspect. Clients sometimes want to assign writers other tasks in addition to their writing. These non-writing tasks can include WordPress management, client outreach, social media posting and outreach, and so on.
Unless your writer states otherwise, he or she is being paid to write. Why ask a fish to climb a tree or an elephant to swim?
You’ll get the most value from your writer when you allow your artist the ability to thrive at what he or she does best: Finding the right words in their proper order to help your business thrive.
6. Pay a Competitive Fee
In writing and in everything else, you really do get what you pay for.
Hiring a writer to work for peanuts will only bring you lackluster results. On the other hand, when you pay your writer competitive rates, that individual is more likely to feel more loyal toward your brand, and more motivated to produce quality work.
As far as what to charge, exact figures here can be relative. Some writers charge by the word, others by the hour, and some by the project. Then there are those writers that prefer package deals or retainer agreements.
Take a look at the chart below, which is featured on the site Leaving Work Behind. Here you can see a range of fees according to a writer’s experience level. Keep in mind that some writers command higher fees for complex subject matter, such as IT and Medical Technology, for instance.
Offer Your Writer a Byline
If you don’t have a massive budget for writing and you can’t pay competitive fees, consider offering your freelance writer a byline.
Many writers working today are ghostwriters, which means they’re writing behind the scenes and their work is published under someone else’s name.
Offering your writer a byline gives them valuable equity they can use to promote their work. You can offset the cost with this valuable offer and everyone’s happy!
7. Pay On Time
Your freelance writer works hard to submit your work by the deadline. Show your appreciation by paying the writer’s invoice by the due date.
There are always exceptions and missed or late payments can sometimes occur. If it’s a habit, however, don’t be surprised when your writer heads for greener pastures.
When you pay on time, you foster more loyalty between you and your writer. You’ll also be more likely to receive the consistent and high-quality content you need to achieve your business goals.
8. Keep to a Single Point of Contact
There’s a saying that too many cooks spoil the broth, and this applies very well to the freelance/client relationship.
Asking your writer to work on edits provided by numerous people is a cumbersome process that can deliver awful results.
This is also referred to editing by committee, and the process hardly ever works well.
The better way is to have all those individuals pass their notes to a single representative, who will then be the single point of contact for your freelance writer.
When the writer only has to communicate with a single person, the professional can focus on writing well and everyone benefits.
9. Give Regular Feedback
If you like the way your writer is producing quality work, let your praise be known. Many times, writers have no idea how they’re doing. They just know they’re getting paid so the client must be happy. Be free with all positive remarks about the writing, as the work can only benefit.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to let your displeasure be known. As writers, we improve when we’re told we’re not doing well by clients, because we know what to focus on and what to improve.
While you shouldn’t be disparaging to the point where you ruin the relationship altogether, do let your writer know what areas could be improved for even greater results down the line.
10. Be Willing to Accept Valuable Feedback
If you want to get the most value from your freelance writer, ask the individual how you’re doing as a client. You may discover that your instructions could be clearer, your deadlines might be too short, or your fees aren’t quite as competitive as your professional would like.
Only honesty and transparency can foster a strong business relationship that lasts long into the future. Be forthcoming with your freelance writer and you’re sure to get the very best return on your content writing investment.
Half the working population is expected to join the Freelance workforce by 2027. Now is your chance to get in early by hiring a skilled and experienced freelance writer for your needs. Once you have a writer in your sights, nurture your relationship by following these tips for infusing more value into the services you’re offered.
As long as you give your writer plenty of work, be clear about expectations, reasonable with deadlines, and you pay well and on time, you’ll maximize the potential of the freelance/client relationship.
By giving and accepting feedback and creating a more efficient work process, you’ll also maximize results. That means more leads, revenue, and return on investment.
After all, that’s what hiring a freelance writer is all about.
Want to hire a freelance writer who has experience, training, and dedication to a job well done? Now’s your chance. Get a free quote for all your content marketing needs.