Pay attention to these key qualities that mean you're working with amazing freelance writers.
Content marketing strategies demand a constant flow of writing across multiple channels. Your social media followers grumble if you don't update frequently, your lead generation falls off when you can't keep up on white paper creation and your poor company blog becomes outdated in the blink of an eye. The Content Marketing Institute found that 60 percent of B2B marketers struggled with creating enough engaging content to meet their ongoing needs. Outsourcing your content production helps you meet the quantity side of the content equation, but you also need quality. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping your freelance writers deliver the complete package, look for these characteristics.
1. They Meet Deadlines
Nothing feels worse than waiting for content that never arrives. Projects go over deadlines enough on their own, so you don't want holdups from your freelance writers too. Good quality freelance writers provide deliverables on or before the stated deadline. These writers have a strong work ethic and the discipline needed to work on tight schedules so you meet your milestones on time, every time. Once you find reliable freelance writers, do everything you can to keep them around. In a content-heavy marketing world, they're worth their weight in gold.
2. They Consistently Deliver on the First Draft
You have an adjustment period when working with any new writer, but the good ones know how to stick closely to your guidelines and brand style. Once you establish a relationship with good writers and they know your guidelines completely, they consistently deliver on the first draft, cutting time off your content production cycle.
3. They Have Good Grammar
A good work ethic and creativity are great attributes for your freelance writers, but you also need them to deliver on the necessary technical skills. Good grammar skills are a must, even if you have editors and proofreaders looking over their work before it's published. Writers with excellent grammar skills deliver clean copy, cutting down revision rounds and improving your content production efficiency.
4. They Ask the Right Questions
Ideally, you have access to freelance writers with subject matter expertise in your industry. You have options if you're in a highly specialized industry or have a niche product, however. Experienced freelance writers might not have the industry expertise you need, but they ask the right questions. These writers gain insight into your industry terminology, pain points and audience perspective, which shows through in the content.
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5. They Have Actionable Suggestions
When you first start out in content marketing, you have a lot to take in. You need to establish your audience, create buyer personas, figure out the best performing channels and match the right content to everything. A good freelance writer has suggestions you can use to improve your overall project, such as ideas on word counts for social media posts or on the direction an e-book could take.
6. They Pay Attention to Details
Detail-oriented freelance writers pay attention to the small things that turn a piece of content from good to great. They follow guidelines perfectly, match your brand's voice so well you'd swear you wrote the content yourself, and put themselves in the shoes of the audience reading the piece.
7. They Are Professional
You want writers who conduct themselves in a professional manner. They aren't sending inappropriate messages, writing inflammatory posts on their business pages, or responding to you with enough emojis to fill a book. Good freelance writers pull off professionalism without being too formal, as you don't want to feel like you're talking with a robot.
8. They Are Responsive
Chances are good that you'll need to reach out to the writer with additional comments, resources or vital project information. Good freelance writers are responsive to communication, getting back to you quickly. These writers are also good at keeping you up-to-date on project progress. Responsiveness is also important if a problem occurs, resulting in a missed deadline. When you know ahead of time you may have delayed content, you can make adjustments.
9. They Accept Editorial Direction
Even the best writers don't always nail copy on the first try. Sometimes the tone isn't quite right, or you need some adjustments on the audience, or you want to emphasize different keyword phrases. Good writers accept editorial direction gracefully, implementing your requested changes into the existing copy. You don't want to struggle with changes because you're dealing with a bad writer who ignores your suggestions or refuses to make revisions.
10. They Make Your Job Easier
The main difference between a good and bad freelance writer is that a good writer makes your job easier. They follow your specifications, understand what you're trying to achieve with your content, and get the project to you on time.
The right freelance writer turns overwhelming content goals into a manageable content marketing strategy. Avoid accumulating nightmare-inducing outsourced writing experiences by looking for these qualities in your next freelance writer or content writing agency. You'll add some time to your freelance writer search looking for these characteristics, but the time you invest gives you an excellent return. You'll reduce your content turnaround time, get the revisions you need without a hassle, and find reliable professionals to help you meet your content marketing goals.
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