You want your small business to become a brand.
You want visitors to recognize it, read its content, subscribe to your newsletters, and – sooner, rather than later – order from you.
For that, you work hard on crafting your business website. UX design, color psychology, UTP, and social proofs are all very well; and you already know who can help you with that.
But the most powerful weapon to communicate your brand message to consumers is… yes, it’s texts. Outstanding content that would engage people, translate your tone of voice, and encourage to buy is what you need right here and on a regular basis.
Savvy freelance writers would solve the problem.
Benefits are many: you save time and money, you don’t spend resources on workplace organization and training of full-time employees, and you get compelling content that drives organic traffic and works on your brand reputation.
But there’s also a reverse of the coin.
Looking for freelancers, you may face irresponsible performers who miss deadlines, ignore instructions, write poor texts, or disappear once they find a client promising to pay $1 more than you.
Outsource is about the interaction of expectations, collaboration, insights, and personal traits: as a small business owner, you want them to be cheaper and faster, while they want to write longer and sell texts higher.
To balance the process for a win-win, learn to work with freelance writers like a boss.
Where to look for freelance writers
Corresponding websites are many. Freelancer, Upwork, Guru, People Per Hour, Fiverr – each of them has own approach but the same essence: post a job description, start receiving proposals, compare candidates’ profiles as well as ratings, prices, and portfolios, and hire those fitting your expectations and business needs most.
Tip: don’t ignore freelancers living and working outside of US. They work just as well as native-speaking writers but may cost you less, so pay attention to professional background and experience rather than country.
How to choose a freelance writer
Sad but true:
Most people believe they can write.
Indeed, five in ten are bloggers today, posting to Facebook or Instagram with hundreds of likes and shares, which inspires them to practice freelancing and earn extra money.
Good luck to them; but when you come to find a professional who would create terrific content for your business website, you have to thread your way through the tons of their profiles… And you simply get lost there.
How to save your time, nerves, and money? How to understand what writer can deliver your business message, not just put words on paper?
Pay attention to these aspects:
- A writer can meet deadlines.
- A writer is creative, with own style and voice, but also adaptable i.e. able to follow your brand tine of voice.
- A writer’s texts are thoughtful and well-researched.
- A writer is flexible, able to deliver content when you need it or revise it according to your feedback.
- A writer is accurate and attentive to details: he formats texts properly, avoid most common spelling and grammar mistakes, crafts content from scratch, and clearly understands what you want from him.
The questions gathered by Corey Wainwright at HubSpot will help you understand if a particular writer meets your business needs. Ask them before hiring.
How to organize your work with freelance writers
First and foremost:
Make it clear for a freelance writer what you want from him. In other words, craft guidelines right and avoid quirky mistakes while training a writer.
Details to include in guidelines:
- Target. Tell a writer about your small business and its target audience, as it will help him create engaging content. Specify a type of content you need from a writer – informative, entertaining, or marketing. Also, explain what message it should communicate to the audience.
Task itself. Include information on formatting and visual elements: how to format headings, lists, citations; paragraphs length; what links to include if any; what words to avoid (if you have a brand style guide, share it with your freelance writer so he could understand your tone of voice better); experts and resources to refer; a deadline.
Comments. Share some content assets for illustrative purposes so a writer could see what you expect from him. Encourage to check a completed task for plagiarism to avoid duplications and unintentional rewrite. Give contacts of whom he could address for comments.
To save time and resources, organize your work with freelance writers effectively.
- Work in Google Docs, as it’s among the best resources to access and manage fast.
- Create a separate folder for your freelancer to save all texts.
- Write a strategic plan and share its part about the content with a writer so he could see deadlines in advance and organize his time properly.
- Create a separate doc with all formatting rules and guidelines so a writer could refer to it whenever needed.
- Discuss payment details in advance; and plan deadlines smart: save some time for revision and edits.
Check the work of your content writers
Don’t forget to control your freelance writer’s work for better efficiency. How much time does he spend on one task? How many tasks does he complete within a definite period of time? How many are still pending a revision or already expired?
Google Calendar and Google Sheets are free yet compelling tools to control a writer. Add tasks, change their status, leave comments for a writer to revise texts accordingly, and analyze their working efficiency with formulas.
Also, you might want to try a specific software, developed for business campaigns management. It analyzes completed tasks, grades them, regulates communication processes, generates reports, calculates expenses for every writer, and more.
Once organized, working with freelance writers will save you tons of time and costs. And nerves, which is sometimes worth more than monetary rewards, isn’t it?
Guest contribution by Lesley Vos, a content strategist, and writer from Chicago. She’s currently associated with Bid4Papers.com blog posts but also contributes to many publications as a freelance writer. Find more works at @LesleyVos on Twitter.
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