If you’re struggling to find in-house creative staff, you can blame it on the ‘Rona. Even though the gig economy was on the rise before the global pandemic hit our shores, it absolutely soared once COVID began to spread. Learn how to manage freelance writers so your company can take advantage of this trend.
Having experienced the freedom of working remotely during the height of the pandemic, many creatives made that freedom permanent by switching to freelance work. Consequently, more companies began to use freelancers on their creative teams.
As a 2021 MarketerHire survey revealed, 80% of marketing decision-makers had recently worked with a freelancer. Even more importantly, that same 80% said that they outsource almost half of their marketing tasks to freelancers.
With labor so tough to find during today’s tight market, hiring in-house marketing professionals has become a massive challenge. So, if your company hasn’t hired freelance content creators, chances are good that you will do so in the future.
Then comes the next challenge…managing a growing bullpen of freelancers. We’ve had some experience in this department and today we’re going to share our content operations and governance tips on managing freelance teams.
Hire the Right People for Your Freelance Content Team
First, look for quality creatives, preferably with industry experience. Searching through industry blogs can turn up some promising candidates. So can a LinkedIn, Indeed, or ZipRecruiter search for the type of creative you want. Use these and related keywords to search:
- Content writer
- Marketing videographer
- Graphic designer
- Commercial photographer
Make sure you write a detailed job description, including your requirements, and expectations. Indicate that the position is a freelance one so the applicants know that it’s not an in-house position.
Then, look over their portfolio of work to see if their style aligns with your needs. After creating your shortlist, consider paying your prospects for a test to see if they can follow a brief.
Alternatively, you could work with an agency that pre-vets freelance creatives for you. Many larger companies use freelance agencies so that they can scale up and down as the need arises without a long-term contract.
Clarify Your Expectations During Onboarding
Once you’ve hired them, provide your new team members with a detailed guide that includes your brand style guidelines, contact information for their team leaders and your support team, and your expectations regarding quality, legal, and compliance standards.
Also, include links to tools that help them produce better-quality work, such as a grammar checker, a plagiarism detector, and a readability calculator. Make sure they have access to information about your company – what it does, its products, and its customer support system.
It will also help to list your company’s key differentiators. It will help freelancers – and even new in-house staff – know what benefits to point out in their content.
Additionally, we’d recommend that you give them easy access to subject matter experts, such as developers, engineers, lawyers, or doctors, so that they can engage in content collaboration with trusted sources of information inside your company. Using in-house sources of information supported by outside research positions your brand as an authority in its field.
Don’t Cut Corners on Creative Briefs
Unless they’re newbies, in-house team members usually can often read between the lines if you leave out a few nuances in your briefs. But when you’re working with freelancers who have to juggle several projects for different clients – sometimes in a broad range of industries – be sure to spell out precisely what you mean.
Drop the jargon and communicate clearly. If you want the project to follow a specific outline, indicate it in your creative brief. Include the focus keywords you want to emphasize.
If you want to achieve a particular goal with a piece of content, state that goal in your brief. Be sure to define the target audience so the freelancers know who they’re trying to reach.
When a freelancer first joins your team, be sure to add some links to your competitors’ sites to the briefs. Knowing which companies you want to rank above gives your freelance creative teams a definitive target to hit.
Empower Your Freelancers’ Creativity
So long as they stay within your stated guidelines and goals, give your freelance teams the freedom to exercise their creativity on their assigned projects. Empower them to show you what they can do for your company.
Enable Them to Communicate Easily with Your Editorial Team
Since most freelancers work remotely, be sure to give them access to communicate on your content marketing platform, just as your regular teams do. With instant feedback from your editorial team, your freelancers can tweak their projects quickly without rounds and rounds of revisions.
You, too, need to keep in close touch with your editors. They can give you insight into how well your freelancers are keeping up with their workload in both quality and quantity.
Use Content Analytics to Assess Their Effectiveness
Image: DivvyHQ Analytics – Top Authors metric (example)
With a content analytics solution that you can customize to your company’s exact needs, you can assess your freelance team’s effectiveness in meeting their goals.
If a piece of content they created isn’t connecting with your audience, analyze the content itself and other pieces by the same author. Look for common weaknesses – whether they be outdated statistics, logical fallacies, or ineffective calls to action.
Provide detailed feedback that will help your freelancers overcome any shortcomings. Task them to refresh the content to better meet your objectives.
Likewise, when you find that they’ve created a stellar piece that’s outperforming your expectations, be sure to pour on the praise. Again, provide details so they’ll know exactly what works to please you and engage your audience.
With a central hub where you and your teams can handle every phase in the content production process, managing freelance teams becomes a lot easier. From scheduling every task involved in publishing a piece of content on your content calendar to automating routine publication tasks, DivvyHQ simplifies the process of managing all your teams – both freelance and in-house.
DivvyHQ does all that and much more. With its powerful integration capabilities, you can integrate your content platform with a broad range of other tools, such as digital asset management systems. And, with its content metadata management system, you’ll enjoy a wealth of advantages, including:
- Finding high-performing content assets your teams can link to
- Locating topics where you’re light on coverage
- Identifying user ratings to assess audience sentiment
- Singling out confidential documents that require permission to view
- Classifying each piece of content by target demographics, stage of the buyer’s journey, products promoted, and other variables
No matter if your teams are just outside your office door or halfway around the world, they’ll have everything they need to succeed right at their fingertips when you use DivvyHQ. Try it free for 14 days, starting today!