Cruising around the web, I found tons of posts on why companies should outsource their freelance writing. Here’s a sampling of reasons to hire freelance writers:
- Bad writing looks unprofessional.
- You’re too close to the business to write your own content.
- Skilled writers save time.
- Increase output.
- Reduce HR issues. (???)
While I’m certainly all in on companies hiring freelance writers—I know, self-serving—some of these arguments aren’t particularly compelling. So I’d like to offer an alternative and I think more meaningful list: 5 Things that Make a Great Freelance Writer. (And why you should hire them.)
Here goes…Great Freelance Writers:
One: Have Experience Relevant to Your Business/Industry.
If you’re in the healthcare space, it doesn’t make much sense to hire a freelancer who specializes in travel. Likewise, if you’re launching a new line of cosmetics, don’t hire a tech specialist. If you do, you’ll spend needless hours bringing the freelance writer up to speed on your company and industry’s nomenclature. Writers with relevant experience are able to get work quickly and deliver content that’s on point.
Two: Put the Assignment in Context with Your Overall Business Strategy.
Freelance writers are often hired for “one off” projects. And that’s fine. But an experienced writer will want to understand your overall strategy, goals, and brand voice to ensure continuity of message and desired results. Be prepared to share strategy and branding information with your freelancer. This helps avoid content that’s flat, off message and ultimately won’t connect with readers.
Three: Capture Your Voice Perfectly.
Great freelance writers aren’t writing for themselves; they’re writing as you. This is particularly important for blogs, opinion pieces, scripts, and presentations. As a result, great freelance writers are great listeners first. They ask questions. Sometimes a lot of questions. And listen not just to your answers, but how you answer questions. Other than the questions, they may not talk much. In my case, I’ve had people ask during phone interviews, “Are you still there?” Sure am! Just taking copious notes so I can capture their voice perfectly.
Four: Write for the Medium.
Writing sales support literature is a whole lot different than writing blogs as is writing presentations. The first is tight. The second is conversational. And the last is uber conversational, but also a bit more theatrical. A great freelance writer can take the same topic and create content that’s on brand and on message for multiple mediums. Not just any writer can do this. Experience in writing for print, broadcast, web, e-marketing and live delivery is critical to understanding the nuances of each.
Five: Write for How People Read.
As much as I would like to believe that people hang on every word I write, sadly, it’s not the case. Nor should you believe that every written document you put out, digital or print, will be read. Today, most people scan and scroll, stopping only when something captures their attention. It might be a headline. A highlighted quote. Or an infographic. Great freelance writers know how to visualize how the content they’re writing should be organized and presented. They shouldn’t get hung up on presenting reams of endless words. Think first of the reader, what they want and need to know, and deliver content accordingly.
One Last Freebie: Are Great to Work With.
Great freelance writers should be a pleasure to work with, welcome collaboration and take the inevitable edits and changes gracefully and professionally. When projects go smoothly, life is so much better. And happier. Which should lead to more great projects together.
Would you like to meet a great freelance writer? I can put you in touch with one pronto! Start a conversation here >