Tag Archives: hiring freelance writers

Make Sure Your Writer Is Right

 

 

Old School Writing -08

Old School Writing -08

 

 

A few weeks ago I met a small business owner who had just hired a freelance copywriter and was worried about her decision. She had interviewed the writer and was so impressed by the writer’s personality that she decided to hire the writer on the spot. While we continued to talk I was starting to realize that she had made the decision to hire solely based on the fact that she liked the person she interviewed. The new writer was not meeting deadlines, didn’t have a good grasp of communicating with my friend’s marketing team and missed an important informational meeting with the client. Red flags were everywhere. She asked me to step in and help, which I was glad to do, but shared with her some of the following things she should have asked before getting into the situation at hand.

 

Here’s a list of important questions you should ask when hiring a freelance writer.

1) What are some of your most recent ad campaigns and how are they working?

This is where you ask to see examples of their work. To me, this is the most important part of the interview. Make sure they tell you why the campaign was developed, how the ideas came to fruition and what the response has been to the campaign

2) What kinds of writing do you do and what is your speciality? 

Many writers say they can write anything for you. This needs to be a red flag instantly. You want to hire someone who has experience writing the format you need. If your company wants to develop a website, make sure the writer you use knows something about keywords and how to make your website searchable. A website that is unsearchable is worthless. So don’t toss your advertising dollars out the window. 

3) What is your work style? 

It’s also equally important to know how your writer plans on working for you. Are they working from home? Do you expect them to come into the office? How do you plan to handle client/writer interactions? What additional resources will they need to get their work completed and done excellently? Setting forth your expectations in advance is key to creating a trusting, working relationship. 

4) Who are your top 3 references and what will they tell me about you?

Always ask for a reference no matter how well you like the writer. This is where the small business owner made her first mistake. You want to know that the writer has a good solid work ethic and that other professionals trust them with their business communications. You also want to ask the writer how those references will speak about their relationship with the writer. It’s good to have a confident writer and one that is well-respected in the industry. If no one has heard of them, that too should be a red flag. With the small business owner, she came to find out that the freelancer she had hired was more of a sales professional and was good at making up stories, not creating marketing messages that generated results.

5) What is your process for working with a new client and what steps do you take to get ready for a new project?

This is also a key question to ask and one that many small business owners don’t. When you bring up this question you are gleaming a wealth of vital information from the writer. This is a great time to talk about the cost of the project, see how organized the writer is with their projects and even determine if the writer is good brainstorming with clients/your team. 

It’s easy to find a writer to carry on a project. It’s much more difficult to find the writer that you want to create a business partnership with for the long haul. Think of it this way, if you are going through writers as

 often as people brush their teeth, you’re loosing a lot of revenue retraining new writers. Think about your choice. After all it’s your choice and it’s your decision. Make it a wise one.

 

All the best-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Small Business Solutions, Writing

5 Reasons You Should Hire a Freelance Writer (Part 3 of a 3 part series)

 

Newburg, Oregon-June 08

Newburg, Oregon-June 08

Flowers come in all shapes, colors and sizes and I think that’s why I am always drawn to their beauty. No two are alike and they always surprise me. Intertwining with other flowers that complement their beauty. I think words often work in the same way.

When you begin to craft your message, you want a person who knows how to arrange and bend words in a fashion that catches attention, complements your your business ideals and produces outstanding results.

This brings us to the final 2 reasons why hiring a freelance writer is key to your messaging success.

4) Well-Crafted Copywriting Skills

When you set out to create a strong message that radiates with your clients, hire a freelance writer with a diverse background of skills.  Why you ask?

It’s been my experience that most of the time when you ask your employees to create the marketing message, they may already be involved with other facets of your company and may not have the time to focus on the messaging development. Furthermore, your employees are geared to get the job completed and on time. They may cut corners when it comes to researching the audience and knowing the competition.

Freelancers are also concerned about meeting deadlines, but this isn’t a primary focus. The number one focus for a freelancer is to be the best writer they can be. Make sure all the “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed, so to speak. After all, they are constantly competing against other writers for projects and at the end of the day, they want to ensure their client is generating the leads they need to grow their business. 

What’s more, if you don’t have a writer at your disposal able to craft headlines generating results for your company, your entire message could get missed. According to advertising great David Ogilvy’s book Ogilvy on Advertising, Ogilvy says that five times as many people read headlines as read body copy. That’s huge. So what your headline says better be a solid first impression. (Look to these checkpoints for strong headline creation-How are your current headlines doing?)

Newburg, OR June 2008

Newburg, OR June 2008

 

 

5) A Full Staff of Writers In One Person-Multiple personalities mean multiple sales

Ask any freelance writer if they spend all of their time writing and you’ll get a unanimous “no”. What were else are the spending their time besides word manipulation? For most, they spend hours being their own editors, researchers and customer care representative. So when you want words that make an impact, yet do so with clarity and results, a freelancer is a solid option.

Many times a staff writer only has time to write, then the copy goes to someone else to proofread. Plus, the writer may have had to get a researcher involved in the process before words went to paper. This causes concern as the person who chose the research may not have the same interpretation of the “marketing objective” as the writer or even the editor. When you use one person, the message has more clarity and is crafted with one idea and not three different ideas. Having a clear and concise message means your customers will understand what you are selling and make your phone ring.

So as you can see, there’s many reasons to hire a freelancer. Maybe you just have extra workflow that your staff can’t get to, or you want a fresh perspective. No matter what your reason for hiring a freelancer it’s a good idea to ask a few questions, get to know their style and always ask to see examples of their work.

Next week, we’ll discuss how to interview a copywriter and some important questions you should have answered before they put pen to paper. 

Best of hiring-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, Uncategorized, Writing

5 Reasons You Should Hire a Freelance Writer (Part 1 of a 3 part series)

 

Foro Romano-Rome Italy-May '07

Foro Romano-Rome, Italy-May 07

 

 

If you want your plantings to complement your house, you hire a landscaping artist. If you want a building to be constructed soundly, you hire an architect.  I believe results-driven writing works the same way. 

Often I am asked by potential clients, “Why should I hire a freelance writer instead of using someone I already have on staff or writing the piece on my own?’  That’s a good question and one that as a marketing manager, communications officer or small business owner you should always ask. If you don’t ask, you could be spinning your wheels and not generating a clear marketing message that grabs your customer’s attention and generates sales. When I hear this question, a few things come to mind 

First of all, have you ever thought that using in-house talent or even writing the message yourself could actually be costing you more than contracting a writing specialist? 

Here are 5 reasons you why you should hire a freelance writer.

(Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 …)

1) Unlimited Perspective – “Are You Talking To Me?”

Often your staff writers have one view and one view only – your company. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a good thing, right? Well it can be, but it can also be very limiting in the sense that a staff writer knows the product/service so well that they miss important messages. I like to call it “talking to ourselves”.  It’s easy to talk about a product/service you know well, but sometimes staff writers forget that their audience doesn’t know the product as well as they do and fail to reach the client because the messaging talks over their heads.

Contracting a freelance writer however, avoids this problem. This breed of writer takes on the project with a fresh perspective and writes with a clear direction. The contract writer doesn’t have a relationship already built with the product. As with all marketing writing, you as a marketing guru must impart messaging that’s direct and focused on their needs.  

 

  • Does your client understand how the product works? 
  • Have your described how the product is more beneficial to the user than say your competitor’s product?
  • Are the words you use within your messaging understandable or are the words empty, leaping over their heads?

 

Additionally, freelance writers work with a variety of clients, having greater exposure and often a more accurate view of what works for other clients, trends within the marketplace and proven results that have worked for their client base. A staff writer usually only knows the product in which the write for and may not have time to research proven tools, tricks and trends that work for other businesses or even your competitors. 
 

2) Brainy ROI-Ramp It Up

What’s Brainy ROI? Well for most company writers, your product’s ROI isn’t factored into their approach. However, freelance writers aren’t shielded from such a reality. As a freelance writer they are constantly competing on metrics and concentrating on bringing in the best ROI to you. After all, that’s what usually creates repeat business and generates a very happy client. Successful freelance writers aren’t looking for the “prettiest words”, they want to create a buzz for your company that is memorable and effective. So expert writers know where to splurge and where to save. That should be music to your ROI. Remember the golden marketing writer rule, “increase response, decrease cost”.

If you’re looking for ways to turn your company around and make a difference in your marketing efforts, stay tuned in for the rest of the top 5 reasons to hire a freelance writer. You won’t want to miss it.

All the best-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

 

 

 

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, Small Business Solutions, Writing