To keep up with the time demands of a consistent content publishing schedule, it’s often impossible for companies to solely rely on internal subject matter experts (SMEs). Freelance writers are an important tactic for keeping your blog schedule on track. So how can you overcome the lack of face-to-face communication and initial expertise to produce the ? How do you manage day-to-day communications with freelance writers?
As a content manager for freelancers myself, I have a few suggestions for how to solve these problems. Today, I'd like to highlight five common situations I've faced and how to achieve the quality of work you need on a day-to-day basis.
1. Should I Request Revisions from the Writer or Revise Internally?
Once you’ve posted an assignment title on a freelance writer marketplace for a writer to claim, it’s important to have a well-planned editing strategy. A brand new writer is unlikely to master a topic the very first time, so the best strategy is to send the first article back to the writer for revisions. You’ll want to consider sending the document back with comments and suggestions for improvement, so the writer can see exactly where changes must be made.
This hands-on approach is the most effective way to help new writers learn the ropes, and sets a precedent for the quality expected from your assignments. Once you’ve established a rapport with specific writers, you’ll be more inclined to handle smaller revisions internally without putting extra work on the freelancer.
2. When is it Time to Move on From a Writer?
Some content management platforms allow you to assign a topic to a single freelance writer rather than posting to the open “marketplace” for any writer to claim. If this is the case, it’s likely you’ve built a trusting relationship with that writer. But what if the quality of this writer’s work declines over time? When is it appropriate to cut ties and move assignments to another writer? Here are a few ways to navigate the situation:
Err on the side of communication. It could be that the writer has a part- or even full-time job and has been busier than normal lately, or that they’re bogged down with assignments from other buyers. Whatever the case, it’s important to be transparent and keep an open dialogue with the writer about possible roadblocks the writer is facing.
Leave the writer room for improvement. After the initial conversation about challenges the writer is facing, leave a window for 2-3 articles and see if there’s a noticeable improvement in their work. It’s likely that the writer will respond positively to your feedback, and if not, it’s appropriate to cut ties and start posting topics elsewhere.
The last thing you want to do is go "cold turkey" and avoid assigning articles to a writer without an explanation, so be sure to communicate effectively to get to the root of the problem first.
3. What’s the Next Step After a Missed Deadline?
Freelance writers often have a plethora of assignments stewing in the pot at once, which makes it difficult for them to hit every deadline. The foolproof way to avoid a potential issue with missed deadlines is to post topics at least two weeks ahead of the intended publish date. This leaves enough time to send the article back to the same writer or post the topic to other writers, while still leaving enough time for internal review.
4. What’s the Best Way to Keep up With Eager Writers?
Some specific writers are always eager for more assignments and won’t hesitate to ask for more work. To ensure that writers' you’ve established a rapport with are satisfied, it’s important to build out an editorial calendar at least one month ahead so you have the option to assign articles more than two weeks in advance.
5. What Should I Do When the Writer Doesn't Follow Directions?
While it’s definitely frustrating to receive an assignment that misses the point, writers are bound to overlook details in assignment direction sometimes. Don’t spend time making these revisions internally, but send the article back to the writer for a second draft. This holds the writer accountable and makes it less likely the same mistake will happen again.
Keep Your Editorial Plan on Track With Freelancers
You’re bound to encounter at least a few of these situations when you begin working with freelancers instead of internal SMEs, and the solutions are fairly simple—it only takes communication and attention to detail on both sides. Whether you’re posting topics to a writer marketplace or want to establish credibility with a select few writers, these content management tips can help you keep a consistent publishing schedule with very few hiccups.