Businesses that successfully work with freelancers are reaping the benefits of having expertise in one or more areas on tap, without committing to a full time or even part time salary. But for every success story you hear, you’ll hear how another company has been let down by a freelancer who didn’t deliver. So how do you make sure you build a relationship that works?
Top tip no 1: Find the right freelance fit
The first step to building a long-lasting relationship with a freelance copywriter is finding one that fits with your business. What to look for depends on what is important to you. For example, is it more important that you find the right personality type to work with you, or do you want more experience in the field? Perhaps you are not willing to settle for anything other than both of these things.
A good copywriter should be able to work with all sorts of teams and personality types and be able to learn new industries or products, but if these things are important to you, it’s worth taking the time up front to find what works for you. It’s not fair on you or the freelancer if you have decided the relationship isn’t going to work before it has even begun.
Top tip no. 2: Bring them into your team
I can’t really stress how important this point is without using lots of capital letters, and I don’t want to start shouting at you, so please hear me when I say, this is one of the most important ways to make a relationship with a freelancer work!
A freelance copywriter can’t do their job without any input from the company they work for. If you want their expertise on tap for the long term, you need to treat them like part of your team. Give them access to the information they need, respond to their queries to help them stay on track, and employ a consultative approach to the work you have hired them to do so that you get the most from their expertise and they get the most from your insider knowledge.
Top tip no.3: Communication
This is a follow-on point from top tip no.2 because a freelance copywriter isn’t going to feel like part of your team if there is no communication between you. This doesn’t have to be time intensive, in fact after a detailed initial briefing, a good copywriter should be able to drive their project through independently. But there will always be questions that pop up, or feedback needed and so it’s important to keep the lines of communication open.
Some things to consider to ensure you achieve good communication are agreeing up front the best way for you to contact each other and clarifying who the main contact within the company will be. It’s bad enough when you work as an employee and internal business politics come into play but working as a freelancer with no day-to-day context, it becomes very difficult when different people are telling you to do different things and you’re not sure who to listen to.
Top tip no.4: Build a long-term relationship
Of course, not all copywriting projects require a freelance copywriter to be on your books for the long term. However, it might be worth making a list of all your copywriting needs to see how much you could delegate on a regular basis to free up more of your time to run the business or manage your busy marketing department, while at the same time building a worthwhile relationship with a copywriter.
If you have a business blog for example, that often gets forgotten when other deadlines hit, this could be handed over to a copywriter to manage, research and write. This would be a great way for an external copywriter to learn your business too.
Or, perhaps you would love to have more feature length articles in relevant trade magazines but you’re never quite sure how to get what you want to say onto the page, or you simply can’t dedicate the time to writing it yourself. If you are looking for a high impact campaign you could pay a copywriter to produce one article a month for you, or if that sounds like too much for you up front, you could commission 6 pieces a year and either pay on a bi-monthly basis or spread the cost in monthly installments. There are lots of options available if you open a dialogue with the right copywriter.
Working with a freelance copywriter
For some businesses working with freelancers is a no-brainer and something they have always done for maximum flexibility and to benefit from a broad range of expertise. For others it’s daunting because it’s the unknown, or they have suffered a bad experience. Hopefully this article will reassure businesses looking to invest in a vast freelance community, whether for copywriting, design, accountancy, or anything else, that there are steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of your freelance support.