8 Tips on How to Choose a Freelance Writer
Social Media Guru Peter Shankman
A study conducted by the National Commission on Writing, a panel established by the College Board, concluded that a third of employees in the nation's (US) blue-chip companies wrote poorly and that businesses were spending as much as $3.1 billion annually on remedial training.
With such poor writing standards, many small and medium business owners rightfully outsource their writing to professional freelance writers. While the age of globalisation open up opportunities to hire the best writers, working with a nameless, faceless freelancer in another country can be daunting. Can that person deliver quality work? Is he reliable? Are his rates reasonable? Is the work original or is it a lawsuit waiting to happen?
Below are 8 tips on how to choose a freelance writer, saving you time, energy and money.
Integrity is Key
A writer who takes pride in his work and cares about his reputation will make sure he only delivers quality work in a timely manner, provide updates, is always willing to clarify and conduct himself in a professional manner at all times.
A sincere writer will set reasonable timeframes and a concrete budget with clear breakdowns of services offered. He is dedicated to creative excellence and has a strong work ethic.
He protects the confidentiality of his clients, guarantees his work is 100% original and will not even think about infringing on anyone else’s copyright. He chooses to build long term relationships based on mutual trust and respect rather than an ineffective one time hit and run.
The Writing Process
Quality of Writing
He has a comprehensive portfolio of work done and there are definitely no glaring grammatical errors. He often has excellent reviews as well.
Gauging the quality of writing is dependent on your personal grasp of the language in question. If you are not a native speaker/writer of the language, are not educated in that language, the best bet is to find someone who is to provide assistance. That could be a business partner, a colleague, relative or a friend.
Professionalism at its Best
A professional writer recognizes that your success is his success. He works tirelessly towards understanding your company so your marketing objectives are met. He realizes every business has its unique challenges, his work is customized to reflect just that.
Remember the adage - If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Forget low bids that you yourself will not do the work for. Some freelancers might bid low but have no intention or are incapable of doing work at that rate. This could be due to lack of experience or in worse case scenarios is an attempt at fraud or copyright infringement,
There is bound to be a revision of rates down the road when he realizes the accurate time taken (especially if he is paid per hour) and disputes for both parties are on the horizon. Resulting is unnecessary frustration and time wasted. As a business owner you have many duties to juggle, do you want to add more frustration to your plate?
Bad Content is Worse than no Content
Established companies like Coca Cola, HP and Mercedes Benz spend billions each year on advertising dollars, hiring advertising agencies/digital medial agencies/PR agencies to come up with professional writing that effectively reach their marketing objectives.
These companies understand that effective professional writing have a host of benefits. It lends credibility; increases brand awareness, boost consumer engagement, drive sales and communicate product benefits, etc. The list goes on.
But that is a large company with an extensive budget you might think. Yes, that is true but the same logic applies here, no matter what your budget is. The quality of writing is intrinscially linked to your company’s reputation especially in the era of ecommerce, content has become more important than ever.
Often times, decisions are based solely on the credibility of a website, blog and social media platforms, each must represent the vision of the company and add rather than take away from achieving marketing objectives.
Unprofessional writing is a direct reflection of your company’s lack of professionalism; it will be circulated over and over again on the web and in marketing activities across the board.
It does more harm than good. An unwise dollar spent is a dollar wasted.
The Godfather of Marketers - Seth Godin on how to spread ideas?
A Reasonable Budget for Effective Marketing
You might find a freelance writer outside of your budget that you wish you can hire. You can go with low quality content at a rock bottom bargain basement rate but is your company a rock bottom bargain basement company?
There are general acceptable standards of writing that all businesses should adhere to. If you are having trouble engaging a writer, often encounter much frustration and feel at the end of the day it just simply isn’t worth the trouble. Perhaps it is time to review your expectations and your budget. It might mean waiting to engage a professional writer when you do have the budget.
Better Safe than Sorry
Unsure whether a writer can deliver? Enquire more about his educational level, ask for samples of work and let him prove to you via a trial run at a reasonable rate. A freelancer isn’t the same as free.
A Comprehensive Brief is Imperative
Scope of Work
Overview of industry
Unique Selling Propositions
Terms & Conditions
Websites for reference
Person in charge
Put Yourself in the Consumer’s Shoes
Is this effective writing that contributes to your marketing goals? Keeping in mind that while you are the business owner, you might not be the target audience. Ask the potential target audience what they think; this would give you an accurate assessment.
Ever encounter websites with rambling About Us sections that do not communicate their Unique Selling Propositions (USPs)? How about product descriptions that confuse rather that clarify? Or blogs that appears amateurish and definitely will not go viral? Is this an accurate reflection of your company?
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