By Diane Saeger
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
Nathanial Hawthorn was right, especially when you have depleted time, no focus, or limited skill. And in these moments, it’s time to employ a freelance writer who has the freedom, flexibility, and ability to craft the perfect words for you.
But how do you set up that contractor for success? How do you get the most bang for your buck and the best product in the end?
Here are 5 steps to take when hiring your next freelance writer:
1. Specify the Deliverables
All writing requires the stringing of words and symbols together into sentences. However, asking a freelance writer to draft a white paper is vastly different than asking him or her to draft an ebook. And asking a writer to ghostwrite your blogs doesn’t compare to asking that same writer to compose your pay-per-click ads. Each piece requires a unique skillset. Before you start any content marketing project, define the specific pieces you want to create, set some goals for each piece, and then assign the best writer to each deliverable. Sometimes, the same writer can create all the content pieces for you, and other times you’ll need to assemble a team of writers. It can take more time and effort for the latter, but you’ll receive the best products in the end.
2. Define Target Audiences
One of the first questions any good writer will ask is: “Who is your audience?” Don’t leave your writer guessing as to whom you intend to read your content. For each marketing piece you need created, assemble a list of persona details that add life and personality to your target audience. Your freelance writer can then visualize these fictional characters as they write.
3. Prepare Resources
Every writing project requires some level of research. Point your contractor in the right direction by preparing a list of resources for him/her to explore. Depending on the compensation structure you’ve established, it can streamline the entire content creation process and help keep your costs low. Plus, you’ll ensure your writer focuses on resources that best align with your message.
4. Make Room for Creativity
You have your marketing objectives, and it’s important that your writer meet those objectives in the deliverable he/she creates. To do that well, though, he or she needs room from you to be creative. Nothing stifles great work like hovering over the creator and nitpicking over meaningless details. Provide him or her some general guidelines and boundaries to say within, but then send your writer out to do what he or she does best. Empower and walk away.
5. Give Concrete Feedback
With each draft submitted, provide constructive feedback that helps your writer improve—not only the marketing piece but also his or her understanding of your wishes. If the draft needs too much work for you to even begin editing, send it back with overarching feedback your writer can use to redirect the copy. If it just needs some minor edits that you can simply make on your own, send your writer the final edited copy with some notes on what you changed and why. He or she can then use that as a reference for future work. And finally, if you liked the piece as is, let your contractor know. Don’t leave your writer in the dark, wondering your impressions. Some concrete feedback could be the beginnings of a beautiful freelance writer relationship.