Content marketing is powerful. It’s an affordable way to engage customers and drive sales, but it’s a time-consuming task. To create content, it requires time to research, write articles, design infographics, produce videos, format content on the site, promote it on social – the list goes on and on.
To succeed, many companies hire freelance copywriters or designers to help ease the workload. I am one of those freelancers.
My husband and I run a content marketing company that helps businesses drive sales through amazing content. I love my job. I really do. I work with some amazing clients. But, there’s always a client or two that just doesn’t get it.
Everyone has a coworker (or three) that they just don’t work well with. I get that. But, when you’re working with a freelancer remotely, relationships are different. Sometimes, marketers don’t even know they’re irritating the crap out of me.
What are marketers doing that’s so frustrating? And, more importantly, how can you avoid it? Here’s a look at some of the ways you can irritate the crap out freelancers:
- Asking for 52 revisions
Unlike some freelancers, I’m not married to the words I write. I have no problem revising content – within reason. And that’s where some marketers get hung up.
When you review a piece of content, by all means, mark it up and ask for changes, if necessary. But, what you shouldn’t do is get a round of revisions back and then decide you want to add a section and rearrange a paragraph. And then, once those revisions are made, decide to add examples and swap statistics for another source.
Takeaway: When you review an article, do it once. Put all of your requests on paper and don’t hand it back to the writer until you’ve really reviewed the piece.
If you want more control, you could discuss the possibility of creating an outline before the piece is written. During the outline process, you can make suggestions so the final piece is exactly what you’re looking for.
- Asking for a rewrite after approving an outline
When I work with a client, I provide a list of content ideas, what format the content should take (like a blog post or infographic), SEO keywords that will be included in the piece, and a description of the article.
Nine times out of ten, this is all that’s needed. The list is tweaked, approved, and I get to work.
However, when I work with a client that has a tendency to ask for 52 revisions, I’ll suggest creating an outline, as I mentioned above.
The outline provides a very detailed picture of what the blog article will look like, and yet, I have had clients ask me to replace or add entire sections after approving the outline. So, why did I create the outline? Talk about frustrating.
Takeaway: Take time to review an outline and think about the finished product. If you want to make large-scale additions or changes, do so during the outline process.
- Keeping a writer in the dark
Freelancers usually work remotely. Since we’re not in the office with you, we don’t know what’s going on at your business internally.
If your company is going through a rebrand, tightening budgets, or downsizing your department, a freelancer is usually the last to know.
I had a client go radio silent once. We were creating content together for about a year. I was responsible for crafting blog articles and infographics monthly, and then, nothing. She disappeared.
As it turns out, the company was struggling. About 30% of employees were cut and marketing budgets were slashed. The marketer that I worked with lost her job.
But, she never said a word to me. I had to send an email to her boss to hear the news, and as it turns out, she knew about her position being eliminated five months in advance.
I’m sorry she lost her job, but why on earth wouldn’t you just send me an email to let me know?
Takeaway: Don’t keep freelancers in the dark. If you’re leaving your job, cutting back on content, or managing a problem that effects the freelancer you work with – SAY SOMETHING.
It’s hard to maintain a steady salary as a freelancer, so please, do us the courtesy of informing us of changes.
- Not paying in a timely fashion
Most employees get paid every two weeks. Freelancers typically aren’t awarded the same luxury. And, you know what? That’s ok. A lot of my clients have Net 30 payment terms and I’m fine with that.
But, under no circumstances should I have to hound you for payment. Ninety percent of my clients pay on time, every time. But, I’ve had a few clients that require reminders…and another…and another.
If you can’t pay a freelancer, don’t hire one. If I have trouble receiving payment, I cut ties. I don’t work for free.
Takeaway: Pay your freelancers. Period. When you begin a relationship, set payment terms. You should agree on a price for each piece of content, how frequently invoices will be sent, and when invoices will be paid. Once everything is agreed upon, stick to it.
With the surge in content marketing, hiring a freelancer is a great way to keep fresh content streaming in. The best way to maintain a healthy relationship with a freelancer is to provide clear direction, have realistic expectations, and keep him or her informed of changes. Do that, and you’ll have a great, long-term relationship.