How to Manage Freelance Writers - Building the Right Team

By: Brittany Corners | Published: November 18, 2013

ManagingManaging freelancers is very different from managing in-house teams. Professional freelance writers chose this type of work because they like the freedom, flexibility and self-management. You have to balance showing respect for that freedom with accomplishing your business goals. Follow these steps to ensure the best experience for both you and your team.

Get to know them

Once you have curated a group of workers, take time to survey them. A survey is a great way to understand their personal interests and background experience. If you have someone who is an avid foodie, you can match them with writing recipes or restaurant reviews. Do you have someone with previous experience in e-commerce? You may have just identified someone who can write amazing product descriptions.

Select the right person for the job

Hiring a team of freelance content writers often means you will have to forego the traditional interview process. Testing is a great way to screen applicants. It allows potential workers to prove their skills and set themselves apart from other applicants. When you develop your test, look for the applicant’s ability to complete the task, but also include an activity that identifies their ability to follow instructions. Since you will most likely not provide verbal direction, you need to feel comfortable in the freelancer’s ability to interpret your written instructions.

You want me to do what?

No employee is a mind reader. Communicating your expectations is essential when working with professional writers. You will save time, money and energy when you clearly detail the project expectations up front. Also, don’t assume the writer has your same style intention. For example, if you ask for “marketing copy” what does that mean to you? Do you want sales copy or do you want to focus strictly on product benefits? It is helpful to provide examples of previous assignments as a reference for tone and style.

Make feedback readily available

Constructive feedback is the best way to build your relationship with your freelance writing team. It helps build on the expectations set at the beginning of the project. You can provide feedback to an individual through email reviews or provide team feedback through resources like Google hangouts, forums or private Facebook groups. Regardless of how you choose to provide feedback, the important thing to remember is that you provide timely feedback. If a writer asks you for direction during the middle of the project and then you wait to respond until after the assignment is complete, you have not set your project up for success. Feedback early and often will ensure you are tackling obstacles as they arise.

Show your loyalty

When you find a professional writer that you like, by all means, make sure you let him know! Show you respect his work through continuing to give him projects. Ask him for help with new types of projects because you trust his opinion. Most importantly, do not forget to say “thank you” for a job well done.

What actions have you found to be most impactful when cultivating your freelance team?

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