Hiring a freelance marketing pro, copywriter, web designer, etc. is a great way to get fantastic results without laying out the cash required for a full-service agency or full-time employee. But hiring a freelance pro is not the same as ordering a pizza for delivery; you will have to put a little work into making sure your freelancer has what they need to succeed. And doing it right isn’t that complicated, it just takes a little concentration and a brief conversation before the project begins.
Knowing what to expect and what is expected of you will help your project go smoothly and ensure you get the best possible results. Your pro should actually help guide you through these three steps - if they don’t, proceed with caution.
1) Be prepared to bring your freelancer up to speed. No matter how qualified, experienced or specialized your pro is, if he or she has never worked for your company before you will need to give them what they need to hit the ground running. For most projects this can be a link to your website and a copy of any style or messaging guides you have developed. It is helpful to send this over before the first project meeting so that your pro has a chance to look it over and prepare any questions.
2) Be specific about what you want. Professional or not, freelancers aren’t mind readers, and there are a lot of industry terms that get thrown around pretty loosely. If you’re talking about a “white paper” but what you really mean is a case study or solution brief, you’re not going to be happy with results. Talk about length, audience, tone and content. Send over some examples of similar work you have admired. Your pro can guide you to the right terminology.
3) Give appropriate feedback. Let’s say after all the prep work you still got something that wasn’t exactly what you were expecting. Shooting back a terse email that says “This isn’t what I wanted – try again” is a sure-fire way to not get what you want on the revision either. Give specific feedback on content (Is it correct? Is it covering what you wanted it to?), messaging (Is it addressing the right audience? Is it conveying the right message?), tone, length, and purpose will make your revision rounds much more productive.
Hiring a freelancer is easier than doing it yourself, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little prep work involved on your side. Knowing what to expect and being prepared for the experience can lead to a smooth happy experience for everyone.
Freelancers and employers - Do you have any more tips on how to make projects run more smoothly? Share them in the comments section!