8 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Freelance Writer
Mistake 1: Why’re you outsourcing? No clue!
Primary reasons why agencies/businesses outsource content to freelance writers are
- Lack of resources
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of time
- Producing enough content varieties
- Lack of budget.
What’s your reason for outsourcing content? Think over these questions first –
- Can your in-house team do it efficiently?
- What’s the investment from your side? Number of resources you would need to co-ordinate with the freelancers; remuneration of the freelancers; time spent on co-ordination etc.
- Will they be able to deliver by set deadlines? If not, then what’ll be your Plan B?
- What guidance will they need to complete the assignment?
The whole purpose is to analyse whether you need freelance writers or not? This will save a lot of trouble down the line. I’ve seen a lot of businesses hiring freelance writers then realizing that their in-house team can do it better than freelance writers. Which, if you ask me is a waste of time for both the parties.
Mistake 2: Define the person first
The pragmatic advice by Lou Adler – Define the job before defining the person. Mention in your posting these important things:
a) What kind of content the writer will be working on? Will it be blogs, newsletter, social media posts, brochures, case studies or press releases?
According to B2B Content Marketing Report the most outsourced content formats are
According to B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends, B2C outsource more content than B2B companies.
b) What’s the purpose of the content? Is it traffic? Engagement on social media? Branding?
c) For which industry you need the content? Is it real estate, finance, lifestyle etc? You don’t have to tell all about the client in the posting. But, a brief overview of the client’s business will ease out a lot of ambiguity.
d) Who’ll he/she be coordinating with? The marketing or the creative team?
e) Does the writer need to do the research or your in-house team will provide the data?
f) Where’s the client based? This is important Because British and American English are as different as chalk and cheese.
g) Does the writer need to go on a client call? If yes, then how frequently? If the client is based in the US and you’re hiring an Indian content writer then sort it out first.
Then comes defining the person
a) He/she should be grammatically sound.
b) Must have a prior experience writing for similar industry.
c) Consider deadline as sacred.
d) Can write content that relates to the goals.
Mistake 3: Not checking the CV
Sounds absurd, right? A lot of companies when hiring freelance writers don’t even bother to check the CVs. The only criterion for selection is how they write the sample topic. But that’s not the correct way to go about hiring. Often it also happens that freelance writers don’t email their CVs, they only send you a couple of their sample articles. In such cases ask the writer to email you the CV.
Important things to check in the CV
- Are they currently working? If yes, then ask how frequently they can submit the assignments? Suppose you need 5 blogs per day from the writer – will her/his schedule allow it?
- Check previous employment. Are they writers by chance or passion? I get a lot of CVs from event managers to engineering students – all trying to dabble in content writing. 9 out of 10 times I’ve seen their passion for writing dwindling after first assignment.
- Check the references and call them.
Mistake 4: No contract
No contract = a lot of trouble. The contract between your company/agency and the freelance writer should include these points –
- services the writer will provide
- response time
- originality of the work
- payment & collection.
Mistake 5: No guidelines on communication
Are there any guidelines regarding who’ll communicate with the freelancers, what’ll be the mode of communication, time etc. Where I work we always communicate via email; so both the parties have all the important things in writing. The reason for doing so isn’t lack of trust but clarity.
Mistake 6: Not interacting at all
Sadly a lot of companies hire freelance writers without even talking to them. I think one should talk to the writer at least once before hiring. After all, you don’t want to work with a person whose DNA doesn’t match with that of your company.
Ask them behavior based questions and check how they’re responding. Also, note whether they’re asking questions or not. You can understand many things about a person based on the questions he/she asks.
Mistake 7: Selecting only on the basis of price
What a writer quotes isn’t in anyway related to the quality of the article he/she’s capable of submitting. I’ve seen writers who come with a higher price tag delivering content that in one word can be described as gibberish.
Mistake 8: “I don’t need you” attitude
Seriously? Remember content is the king? And good content writers are the queen. Having a team of creative, grammatically sound, intelligent & honest freelance content writers is an asset. It requires a lot of hard work, patience and time. Don’t ruin it with your I-really-don’t-need-you attitude.