Everything they Haven’t Told you About Managing Freelancers

Hiring the right people is just the beginning

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So, you’re launching your first project with a freelancer. Congratulations! You’ve made an excellent decision. Bringing in specialty writers is a wise idea for your project. The beginning of your freelancer program is meant to take your content and marketing initiatives to new heights, but there’s a lot that comes with such ambitions. You quickly have access to an expert in specific fields of content. Everything you’ve read online says that your business is headed towards accelerated growth, but there’s a bridge to cross before your program reaches its glory days.

Reaching your KPIs with the ideal fit for your team can be easy if you know what you’re doing. But today, hiring the right remote group is getting more complicated. Finding the freelance writer is a strategic and sometimes laborious search, yet onboarding this team is where startups can sink or swim. As a startup looking to grow, you understand how valuable time is. That’s why you need a quality team to succeed.

But it’s not just hiring the right people that will make or break the campaign. Not at all. It all starts internally. Specifically, you. That’s why this article will ensure that your campaign is in the best possible position to succeed.

Have a practice for vetting freelance writers

UberEATS Marketing Manager Paige Graham nailed it when she wrote, “Deciding to bring in experts to do the job is a great first move. Unfortunately, looking for the perfect writer isn’t always an easy task, especially if you want someone who specializes in your niche.”

You’d be amazed at how many excellent managers trip up right out the hiring gate. While us writers appreciate the thoughts, we’re not all experts across content. Some high-quality technical writers can do social media, but not all can. A great social writer might make a bad fit as an e-Book writer. Make sure their past work matches what you need written.

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To ensure your hiring goes well, have a process in place. This process includes writing style and schedule. You’ll need your freelancer to exceed the bandwidth you need for your project. Choose wisely. The most successful freelance onboarding will entail a series of steps that vet writers for their true passion, their ability to adapt to your guidelines, and a genuine understanding of your target audience.

Creating a Google Doc that asks writers for topics that fit your existing content is an excellent way to evaluate potential hires. From there, it’s easy to commission a sample article to help decide which writers from your pool would be a good fit for your marketing initiatives.

Defining a system for communication

A 2014 Pew Research poll found that email and the Internet are the most essential tools for online workers. No surprise, right? However, it might surprise you to see how easily communication can go awry when using these tools.

You might forget to establish clear deadlines and meeting times. Maybe you got lost in the array of communication options ‒ slack, email, phone calls, not to mention video meetings. These problems happen more frequently when managing freelancers.

That’s why it’s essential that you define your system for communication with your freelancers from day one. Although, this could become a look in the mirror: have you even solidified how your company and internal teams communicate?

Choose an all-in-one platform for brainstorming and streamlining discussions so that you’re being productive and executing the tasks ahead as a team. Keep your choices minimal and efficient. Sure, there are lots of options out there. But this isn’t Pokemon. No need to catch ‘em all.

Be a bit more thorough than you think you should be. Being thorough is good. The most efficient way to do so is to decide on a central form of communication. If you prefer 1:1 or group chat, choose a team messaging tool like Slack or Hipchat. There are also all-encompassing platforms like Redbooth that are built for managing projects and collaborating on tasks, aiding freelance programs and remote teams.

Setting a strategic roadmap

Remember before we all had GPS? How about before we had maps? It was a lot tougher navigating unknown territory. Actually, looking back it seems almost impossible.

It’s the same for your freelancer. It’s time to give them your brand’s proverbial GPS.

Do you have your project roadmap in place? If you answered ‘no,’ then it’s time to devise one. Lay out your goals, expectations, deadlines, style guide, content calendar and more in your roadmap. That might have gotten your eyes a little wider, but trust me, it pays off. You don’t want to experience the collapse on the backend, creating this solid foundation up front is essential for a successful freelancer program.

These timely plans might seem tedious, but it will provide you and your freelancer with the clearest vision possible. This typically eliminates guesswork for the freelancer and minimizes edit rounds. Just think, those few extra hours spent in the infancy stages of your project could save you both beaucoup amounts of time later on.

Paying attention to project management

Even if you’ve laid out your roadmap, mistakes will happen. Your writers will go off course as creatives do from time to time. Remain diligent and precise when revisions are needed. Even better, make yourself available to answer questions whenever possible. Although, defining how projects are managed is a good way to streamline collaboration to minimize these times of confusion.

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You have to be an active manager of your freelancers. Make sure your deadlines align with your writers. Read their content thoroughly, even if you’re not the direct editor. Your feedback and expertise matter. Sometimes you’ll have all your writers on one schedule. Other times, you’ve arranged a cohort to solely focus on larger content pieces you have in the pipeline.

Most teams that are serious about freelancer success and keeping everyone on the same page will adopt a central platform for managing projects and organizing tasks, even with external users.

Redbooth is a platform that does just that for thousands of customers across the globe, therefore we’re quite familiar with the do’s and don’t’s of freelancer onboarding.