Enlisting the aid of freelance writers can breathe new life into your business’s various marketing materials. Whether you’re looking to step up the effectiveness of your internal memos, client emails, marketing copy, blogs or social media posts, experienced writers will have you covered. Of course, this isn’t to say that every freelance writer you come across is going to be equally skilled. To help ensure that you only extend opportunities to qualified writers, keep an eye out for the following traits.
Few things are more frustrating than working with people who can’t be depended on – and this is doubly true when working with writers. For example, any freelance writer with whom you do business should be accustomed to dealing with deadlines. Although deadlines are a part of virtually every job, they’re particularly important when it comes to writing. That being the case, any writer who consistently fails to meet mutually agreed-upon deadlines isn’t someone you should be giving your business to. If someone can’t be relied upon to complete work by dates to which they’ve already agreed, writing probably isn’t the right profession for them.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all deadlines are missed because of negligence on the part of writers. In fact, in many cases, missed deadlines are the result of miscommunication at the outset of projects. To nip this problem in the bud, make a point of clearly outlining your expectations at the very beginning of each project and making the deadline abundantly clear. Furthermore, if you don’t have much experience working with freelance writers, ask writers if they believe your desired deadline is reasonable. You should also insist that if a writer is suddenly faced with a personal emergency or encounters any other situation that may warrant a deadline extension, they need to contact you as soon as possible.
As is the case when recruiting for any job, it’s only natural that you’d want the freelance writers you hire to possess relevant experience. For example, if a project is built around search engine optimization, it’s reasonable to expect every writer who applies to provide you with SEO writing samples. Similarly, if a project revolves around programmatic marketing, an applicant asking, “What is programmatic marketing?” isn’t exactly the best sign. While some writers are better at adapting to new tones and styles than others, entrusting writers who lack relevant experience with specialized jobs is unlikely to work out in your favor. Furthermore, you should always be wary of writers who are unable to produce writing samples of any kind, as this suggests a total lack of professional experience.
Willingness to Admit Mistakes
Even the most dependable freelance writers aren’t above making the occasional mistake. Sometimes, mistakes come about as a result of miscommunication. Other times, mistakes stem from writers choosing to deviate from firmly established instructions. However, regardless of why a freelance writer has made a mistake, it’s important that they be willing to acknowledge their error.
No one enjoys working with people who view themselves as infallible. If someone is completely unwilling to make amends for their own blunders, there can be no accountability – and if there’s no accountability, correcting mistakes is liable to be an arduous uphill battle. This isn’t to say that every mistake a writer makes is unequivocally their fault, but if a certain writer refuses to acknowledge any misstep under any circumstances, this is a terrible sign.
Ability to Manage Their Own Time
Since most freelance writers work remotely, clients generally have little to no control over their respective work schedules. As such, you’re placing a great deal of trust in any freelance writer you bring on, and if they’re unable to efficiently manage their time, this doesn’t bode well for the project(s) with which they’ve been entrusted.
Luckily, there are two easy ways to gauge a writer’s time-management skills. First off, if someone consistently submits work well before it’s due, this should be taken as a sign of solid time-management. Secondly, if a writer submits progress updates on a consistent basis, this, too, is a good indicator of efficiency.
Working with freelance writers can take your business’s content creation efforts to the next level. Whether you’re looking to enhance your creative efforts or internal communications, the right scribes will have you covered. However, as is the case with any other type of employee, freelance writers are a mixed bag. While many of them will be able to meet your needs with aplomb, some will fall well short of your expectations. To help ensure that you wind up with the former, remember to keep an eye out for the traits discussed above.