This is the second in a series about hiring and working with freelance writers.
It would be great if you could just mind meld with your new freelancer and impress on his brain cells exactly what you want in a piece of content. Sadly, that isn’t possible for humans and, according to Star Trek canon, Vulcans haven’t made themselves known to us yet.
So, when you first engage a writer and for a few assignments after that, open yourself to the possibility that the first effort won’t be exactly what you were looking for. After all, this writer hasn’t produced anything for you yet. You can expect him to check your other content to get an idea, but to do a great job, the writer will want feedback on that first draft.
In fact, depending on the subject matter and the type of article, you may have to go back and forth a few times to get it exactly right. And that’s OK.
So many who hire writers just want to provide a topic, offer a small amount of money, and expect perfection. You know better than that. You understand that great content takes effort and is worth the money you pay. Part of the process is making your business relationship with a freelancer a collaborative effort.
If you think you don’t have time, consider how long it would take you to produce that content yourself. Reading through a piece and providing feedback isn’t nearly as time intensive. And if you find yourself editing every word or wondering how this content relates to what you asked for, at least consider that your instructions may not have been clear.
This doesn’t mean the writer can just blow off what you requested. But for your business relationship to be successful you both have to put forth your best effort. If needed, get on the phone and talk with him. Or, before he writes an entire article, ask him to send you an outline and links to any resources he will use, especially for long form content like white papers.
If the freelancer treats this as a imposition, he or she may not be the right writer for you. A good freelance writer will welcome the chance to develop the best product as quickly as possible. With both of you meeting in the middle you will have the best chance at getting what you need.
Remember your English teacher? Create a first draft, edit, and rewrite. Your freelance writer needs to do the same. Make it easy to do so by quickly reading the completed first draft and offering any edits as quickly as you can. Remember, this content reflects on your company. You want it to be great.
Writers want to be great, too. But it can’t be done in a vacuum. So until those Vulcans show up, remember the writer can’t read your mind. Be ready to do your part to develop and publish content that will drive and convert. Be the editor every writer dreams of having.