Audrey II (the office orchid, above) and I would like you to know five very important things. These are the five things that the freelance writer you’ve hired would like you to know but is probably too shy to tell you.
- Provide clear project instructions: When you’re working with a freelancer, time is money. Every moment spent working on your project is a moment not spent working on another paying gig. So please respect your freelance writer, graphic designer, web designer and other freelancer’s time. Provide clear instructions, including expectations, deadlines, and background information, at the start of the project. Your freelance writer will thank you.
- Stop tweaking: Most freelance writers, myself included, are happy to make edits. We are not happy when you begin sending the same document back to us multiple times with different edits. If a word choice, phrase, or product detail was correct in version 1, it should be correct in version 3. At some point, you have to stop tweaking a document and, to paraphrase Frozen, let it go.
- Read every word: That said, read every word. Every. Single. Word. Read and double-check telephone numbers, email addresses, URLs, product SKUs and more. “But,” you protest, “isn’t that what I’m paying my writer to do?” Yes but your freelance writer is still a human being. Copywriters get tired, hungry, and interrupted a lot. Mistakes happen. You are the final approval person on any project, so check and double-check all of the copy that your freelance writer sends to you.
- Don’t be surprised when your freelancer works for someone else. They aren’t employees. They will write for other clients, oftentimes on the same topics. That’s because freelance writers, marketing writers and other copywriters gain a reputation for writing about specific subjects, and as such, they’re called upon by others to write on that topic. You wouldn’t be shocked to find that the man painting your house is painting another house down the street, nor would you insist he sign an exclusive contract with you not to paint any other house on the block. By the same token, however, you do expect discretion; if he hears you discussing your medication on the telephone with your doctor, he shouldn’t blab to the neighbors about it when he paints their house. Freelance writers should ALWAYS write unique copy for each client. They nearly always write for many clients in the same industry, but recycling text is a no-no. Expect freelancers to freelance…it’s what we do. Otherwise, we’d be your employee. And you’d have to provide me with paid vacation and medical benefits.
- Pay promptly, and if paying by PayPal, absorb the fees. Unless you and your freelancer have agreed on specific net terms, payment is due upon completion of the project and receipt of the freelancer’s invoice. Most freelancers struggle with an uneven cash flow, and they appreciate it when clients pay promptly. Another thing they really appreciate is clients who pay them the full amount by absorbing transaction fees in PayPal. Most freelance writers, myself included, accept payments via PayPal. I agree on my fees with clients as the NET amount I expect to receive. When they pay via PayPal and I am suddenly socked with PayPal fees, it’s short-changing me. I always appreciate it when clients pay me the gross amount and absorb the fees on their end. It is thoughtful and considerate of their freelance writers.
Your freelance copywriter, marketing writer and other freelance professionals are part of your team. They may work from home with a cat draped across the keyboard or they make work parked at a table in the local library or coffee shop. No matter where they hang their shingle, they should be treated as professionals. Just as they treat your firm like a valued client, so too should you treat them like the valued team members they are.
If you are ready to hire a professional, experienced and diligent freelance writer, contact me today. I have over 25 years of experience as a writer and marketing manager. I specialize in long-form content for SEO projects, such as longer online articles, guides, papers and more. Visit Marketing-Writer Jeanne Grunert for details.