Choose a freelancer with as much care as you would a full-time hire.
When I began freelancing “full-time” long ago, many prospective clients thought it was a euphemism for “out of work.” Would I be reliable? Although these days it’s an honored profession, some freelancers writers actually are between full-time jobs … or are new to copywriting … or new at running a solo business.
Can you get effective copy or quality content out of a newbie? Will a novice have the discipline required to serve you with the dedication and expertise you would expect of a full-time employee? Do they understand that, in marketing, great copy is a skilled mix of speaking to your prospect’s interest while simultaneously furthering yours? In other words, do they understand not just writing, but also sales?
You can find those qualities in a newly minted solo copywriter.
Or rather, there’s no reason to think the new freelancer will be any less good and reliable than a full-time employee. Many freelancers have been full-time copywriters for years — fully professional, very qualified providers, available now on a contract basis. The only difference now is that they must find you, and must be disciplined to keep to their own daily schedule.
Even if you encounter a novice writer, you might hire a novice for your staff, too, right? The only difference in that case is that on staff it may be easier to direct their focus and to show them your ropes.
Ultimately, finding a reliable freelance copywriter is the same a finding a reliable staff employee.
The two roles should be similar in another way, too.
With an increasingly gig-based economy, a client might be tempted to play the field, hiring help one gig a time. That may be partly why you’ve found the quality of freelance writers to be so varied.
You keep trying new writers, hoping that the next one will be the one of your marketing dreams. Or maybe a new writer will come up with ideas that the previous one(s) did not.
The problem is that such a flighty hiring approach contributes to the very problems you’re trying to avoid. Your writer never really gets to know your business. And you.
For greater reliability, commit to a longer term.
No one writer is best at every type of writing to every kind of market, especially with all the many peripheral tasks you may need them to perform. An interested professional CAN learn to perform excellently if you allow them to learn about you and your business. That’s not going to happen if the relationship is just a short “gig.”
You may never really get to know what they can do.
Better yet, don’t think of your copywriter as an employee. Think of them as a another business partner.
Although I have worked on countless one-off projects in my solo copywriting career, and I have valued all of them, the most valuable clients are those who regard me as an ongoing partner in their marketing efforts. We grow with each other, and in some cases have grown ON each other in a good way. They’ve become professional friends. Some have become personal friends, as well.
In summary …
Simply look for stability, good references, good work, relevant interests, and an interest in whatever it is you need sold or written about. (Did I say “simply”? Well, everything is relative.)
Remember that nobody knows your business as thoroughly as you, so don’t be stingy with your deadline and background information, and do be clear and realistic about your goals. It often takes an extra bit of time to digest all that, let it gestate and come up with solutions. You’ll both find it time well invested. It becomes the foundation on which to build.
More on choosing a
contract writer for your business:
For a more detailed list of considerations in choosing a freelance B2B copywriter, see my web page, How to find a good freelance copywriter?
Or contact me and let’s chat.
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