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From Onboarding to Ousting: How to Manage Freelance Writers

by Joe Griffin  |  
June 30, 2017

Fully 35% of the American workforce consists of freelancers. Among them are a lot of writers, most of them talented, hard-working people who treat freelancing as a business and are always looking to grow.

Hiring Freelancers

If you are considering hiring freelance writers, you need to be prepared to seek them out. To start, take the following six steps.

1. Define your voice

If you don't have a style guide, take the time to document your company's writing style and tone before approaching writers:

  • What's your tone of voice?
  • Who is your typical audience?
  • Do specific words or phrases embody your brand?

2. Pre-screen them

Before you reach out to freelancers, develop a process to evaluate them. Decide what kind of writer you need. Create standard interview questions and determine who will assess their work and with what criteria.

A resume can tell you the basics about a writer's experience, but to know whether they'll be a good fit you need to ask for samples. (Don't worry if those samples have nothing to do with your industry.) Evaluate their writing style. Someone who wrote a hilarious review for dog treats may be a better fit for your off-beat tech gadget website than the person who painstakingly documented every specification of the latest processor launch.

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Joe Griffin is the CEO and a co-founder of ClearVoice, a content marketing technology company for high-quality blogs and other content destinations.

Twitter: @joegriffin

LinkedIn: Joe Griffin

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  • by Peter Altschuler Fri Jun 30, 2017 via web

    You forgot to include one facet on this gem -- how to avoid behavior that will cause your freelancer to quit. I've walked away from several clients over the years because they
    • ignored research about their buyers and markets
    • focused on what pleased the executives, instead of the prospects and customers
    • refused to provide or share essential information
    • allowed staff members to do re-writes (rather than provide comments and suggestions)
    • expected me, despite the terms of the signed agreement, to pay for outside research, stock photography, etc.
    • didn't pay within the agreed-upon time.

    Each characteristic (except the last two) can lead to inaccurate and ineffective results, and freelancers are obliged to point that out... in writing. If their cautions are ignored, however, it won't be the in-house employees who shoulder the blame -- even if they've been advised of the probable outcome. In those situations, it's vital to have an ally at a senior level (and it's even better to make sure they're in the loop from the start). Otherwise, a freelancer's vulnerable to having their reputation as well as their bank account be adversely affected.

  • by Laura Becker Thu Aug 10, 2017 via mobile

    This is a great article. I hope it gets a ton of traffic!

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