I know exactly why you're here, reading this.
Creating content takes a really long time, especially if you're trying to create something new, fresh, and valuable. Most of us just don't have the kind of time needed to write articles that will thrive in an age where SEO is more challenging (and based on quality content) than ever before.
Well, I'm going to let you in on one of the best-kept secrets in business today. Everyone's using freelance writers. 62% of organizations are outsourcing their content, which is pretty staggering when you think about it. However, managing freelance writers isn't always simple. Here are some of the most effective and proven hacks we know to help you succeed:
1. Articulate Your Goals
What exactly is your company trying to accomplish with content? Why do you want freelance writers, anyway? Your answers will probably resemble at least one of the reasons below:
- More website traffic
- Increased lead generation
- New customers and revenue
Content is the perfect way to achieve these objectives. However, it's important to articulate these to your future writers. If you've got a content strategy, rock on. If not, no worries. However, it's pivotal that you know what you're trying to accomplish, and how you'll get there.
2. Profile Your Organization
If your company's website is looking a little sad, giving a freelance writer the link isn't always enough background information. Create a company profile, so they're able to better understand who you are, where you're coming from, and where you hope to go. An effective company profile should include the following:
- Products and Services
- Voice, Branding, and Existing Marketing
3. Introduce Your Customer
Quality isn't just a measure of spelling, grammar, and depth of research. It's also about context and relevance. The more insight you can provide to a writer on your organization's ideal customer, the better.
For instructions on how to profile your customers, check out How to Build an Epic Buyer Persona Profile.
4. Hire Wisely
It's horribly inefficient to have a series of short-term business relationships with writers. You'll waste time, and probably some money. We recommend making a hiring decision based on the following criteria:
- Experience and expertise
- Writing samples (if your writer can't provide these, they're likely less experienced than they claim)
- Ability to communicate (not all professional writers are the best communicators)
Avoid signing any contracts, handing over the keys to your blog, or otherwise making a commitment too early. You may find that your first pick isn't the best.
5. Be an Active Manager
If you think you can hire a freelance writer and walk away, you're unfortunately mistaken. Even though this writer may not be an official employee of your organization, you'll still need to train them. Invest time upfront in providing honest and constructive feedback, and you'll be able to take a few steps back after the road. I recommend hiring a writer with existing expertise in your industry to streamline your training process.
For more information, we like HubSpot's tips on hiring to the best of your advantage.
6. Provide Examples of What You Like
If your website's current content doesn't represent your goals, don't despair. Provide your writer with links to exactly what you want, like Corey Eridon recommends. Truly proficient writers can adopt various voices and tones, and examples can be enormously helpful.
7. Create Outlines
Before you run away in terror, stop. Your outlines don't need to be as detailed as what you had to turn in to your college English Professor. You don't need to use Roman numerals or any specific format. However, if you have an idea of the concepts or opinion you'd like to include, add this to your writer's instructions.
8. Be Available
You don't need to stand by your email 24/7, but answer questions quickly as they come up. Providing detailed answers will result in a b better product. Best of all, be clear with your freelance writers from the start about your availability for answering queries.
9. Set Deadlines
Sometimes, being vague about deadlines can be a recipe for disaster. Let your writer know when you need the content back by, and be firm. Effective writers can adhere to deadlines, and you shouldn't have to expect otherwise.
10. Ask for Feedback
Your writer knows best what they need in order to be as successful as possible creating content for your organization. Are you providing too much direction, or too little? Are they struggling to find research resources? Asking how you can be a better manager may seem radical, but it's likely to improve the outcomes.
Feeling confident that you're reading to manage some freelance writers? Check out Writtent's talented team!