When you work with freelance writers, you get the benefits of accurate, well-written content without having to hire a full-time writer or assign extra tasks to busy in-house team members. As for finding freelancers, it’s easier than ever. According to CNBC, the gig economy has grown over 15% from 2010 to 2020 as more Americans enter the freelance workforce. This trend toward freelance work has continued to accelerate during the COVID-19 pandemic, with estimates from the World Economic Forum predicting a global growth rate of 17% per year for the gig economy.
The Benefits of Hiring Freelance Writers to Create Content
When you’re contemplating whether to rely on your in-house team or work with freelance writers to create content, there are plenty of reasons to choose freelancers. Some of the biggest benefits of hiring freelance writers for content creation include:
Keeping a full-time writer on staff can put a big dent in your budget, especially if your content needs are inconsistent or change with the seasons. Hiring freelancers means you only pay for professional writing when you need it, and you don’t have to deal with the overhead costs of adding a new employee.
Bad grammar and poor word choice can turn off potential customers, costing you sales and hampering your ability to make a profit. According to CXL, poor grammar can affect your site’s credibility, particularly if typos and nonstandard phrasing occur on static business pages or product pages. Professional freelance writers have the experience necessary to create error-free content so your business makes a great first impression. Freelance writers also know how to craft content that captures attention. With expertise in marketing, search engine optimization and best practices for web writing, a freelancer helps ensure your content achieves your goals.
Writer expertise isn’t just about grammar and keywording, though. It also involves building your brand identity. Freelance writers are experts at adding the right style and tone to your content so readers remain interested and engaged.
Freelancers bring specialized knowledge to your project that you might not otherwise be able to find. Some have niche expertise in specific fields, such as medical degrees or prior industry experience. Others might offer specializations in particular types of writing, such as product descriptions, social media posts or long-form content. Because freelancers come from diverse backgrounds and have expertise in a variety of fields, you can easily find a writer or team of writers perfect for your project.
Offsite Project Completion
With an in-house writer, you need to provide office space and equipment. Freelancers work remotely, and they’re used to working independently and meeting deadlines, so you can rest assured the content you need gets done on the timeline you require. Using freelancers typically doesn’t require you to restructure your existing teams, either. So there’s no downtime involved when you add a freelancer to your existing project structure.
Outsourcing your content writing to freelancers can speed up your overall timeline. Freelance writers deliver high-quality content quickly, and you can specify the deadline to make planning easier. Writing projects assigned to your in-house team could get sidelined as other tasks come up, but a professional freelance writer can prioritize your content and keep your editorial content calendar on track. Freelancers also work all through the day, so you might be able to get a quicker turnaround from a freelance team than you could from employees who are limited to working a 9-to-5 shift in the office. If you need content within an extremely short time frame, such as less than 24 hours, a freelancer may be your best option.
Agility and Trend Spotting
Freelancers tend to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world of content creation and SEO. While full-time employees might have too much on their plates to track the latest Google search engine algorithm adjustment or trending keywords, freelancers know the latest best practices to get your page to rise in the rankings and capture reader attention. According to Quick Sprout, 42% of companies lack the skills in-house for effective content marketing, which makes hiring a freelancer with that expertise the wise choice.
Providing Relief to Your In-House Team
Overburdening your in-house employees can lead to unwanted turnover and missed deadlines. Hiring a freelance writer frees up employees to do what they’re best at instead of concentrating on trying to produce the next blog post or product description for your site. Alleviating the workload of your internal employees also helps build morale and reduces burnout.
Leveraging Freelancers to Support Your In-House Team
Hiring freelancers to supplement the work your in-house team is already doing can help speed up production and ease the burden on busy employees. Leveraging the talents of freelance writers is different from managing your regular team of full-time employees, though, and you need to determine where each fits into your overall business structure. Some things to consider when using freelance writers to support a team of in-house employees include:
Establishing the Parameters of the Job
While hiring new employees typically means bringing them through an onboarding process, freelancers don’t require onboarding. Instead, working with freelancers involves defining the parameters of what you need them to do for you. Before hiring freelance workers to take on your long-form content creation or social media posts, establish the scope of the job. Determine the budget, timeline and specific requirements of each piece of content you intend to outsource. Have an end goal in mind, including what you want the written content to accomplish. For example, if you’re outsourcing blog post creation, do you want that content to bring new visitors to your site, convert casual readers to buyers or establish your company as an authority in the industry? The goals of your content help determine the type of content you need.
Assign a Dedicated Project Lead to Deal with Freelancers
Talk to your existing team to determine where freelancer-produced content fits into your existing structure, and assign someone to take charge of scheduling and posting the content once it’s in your hands. Having a single person as the point of contact for freelancers ensures you aren’t providing conflicting information to your writers and keeps everyone accountable. Your project lead can also communicate with in-house teams to make sure the content is adhering to overall company guidelines and meeting the needs of different internal departments.
Automate Content Distribution
Hiring a freelance writer to create great content is only part of the process. You also need to get it onto your site and post links on social media. Automated tools can help you move content from your inbox to your live webpage. You can also create content calendars that give your internal team and site visitors an idea of when new content goes live. Automation can help you maintain consistency so a blog post always goes up on the same day of the week or social media posts appear within a certain time frame after an article is posted. The project lead in charge of content can handle setting up when and how to post the content your freelancers provide.
Use Freelancers Strategically
While it can be tempting to assign all your writing tasks to a freelancer, you and your team may be better served by taking a more strategic approach. Decide what content is essential for your current business needs and establish specific, measurable goals for that content before hiring a freelancer.
If you need to completely revamp your website or create one from scratch, decide what pages are necessary for your initial launch or rebranding and which can wait for a later update. You might want to start with the front-facing landing page and some pages describing your services and company history, or you might need 10 blog posts to start establishing a regular blog posting schedule right away. Established companies with an existing web presence may want to bolster their social media or update product category pages, which could necessitate a different type of content strategy. Planning out your content needs and timeline makes it easier to figure out when in the process to hire a freelance writer.
Some types of projects work better with freelancers, so part of your company strategy should involve assessing projects and finding the right ones to turn over to a writing team. Things to consider when deciding whether to use a freelance writer include:
- Whether the project has a measurable, well-defined objective
- Whether the timeline and scope are appropriate for a freelance contract
- Whether any regulatory guidelines or privacy concerns prohibit the use of freelance talent for the project
- Whether you have the skills in-house and whether your employees with applicable skills have the time to complete the project on their own
How to Work With Freelance Writers to Optimize Your Success
Working with freelancers can maximize the effectiveness of your entire team, and there are ways to set up the freelance job to simplify the process. For a successful long-term relationship with a freelance writing team, check out these tips:
Make Your Content Guidelines Crystal Clear
The more detail you can include in your content guidelines, the more easily a freelancer can create the content you need. You may want to establish separate written documents as brand guidelines and specific guidelines for each writing task. Your brand guidelines include details such as your overall brand tone, information about your target audience and examples of content you want to emulate. Content guidelines for a specific project lay out the details of that particular piece of content, such as a blog post or social media update. Here are some specifics you may need to include in your content guidelines:
- Specific keywords you want to use and keyword placement
- Linking requirements to internal pages or external expert content
- Any metadata you want included
- Whether you want a call to action and how you want it framed
Establish Routine Check-Ins
If you’re hiring freelancers to provide content on a specific schedule, set up regular check-ins to assess how well the content is working and whether you need to make changes to your content plans. For example, a company that needs weekly blog content might reevaluate its content needs after a few months once it becomes clear which posts are doing best in terms of reader engagement and conversions. Writers producing social media posts may want frequent updates of new products and services you offer so they can include those things in the posts they write.
Consider Offering Bylines
While some types of content need to remain anonymous or give the impression it was created in-house, other content might be better served by having a writer’s name attached. Offering to attach the freelance writer’s name to the content can be a way to establish a relationship with that writer and keep them producing the kind of content you need. Hiring the same writer or a small team of writers every time helps establish a consistent tone for your website, press releases or blog.
Provide the Necessary Information for Freelancers to Get the Job Done
In addition to a well-defined content brief that outlines the details you need included in your project, you may also have to provide other information that helps your writer accomplish your objectives. Including links to similar ranked content by competitors can help your freelancer create content that outperforms others in your industry. Freelancers also need to know what you want out of your content. If you want specific links included, you should provide those. Sometimes content creation also involves knowing more about your company, so you may want to send details about your mission statement or how you’re positioned within the industry.
Start with a Calibration Round or Test Project
If you plan to establish a long-term relationship with your freelance writing team, consider running a paid test project or calibration round before turning over the entire project for rapid content creation. During a test project, you provide the basic guidelines for your project and the freelancers create sample content for you to peruse. Together, you and the freelance team can make changes to the guidelines or format of the project before anything goes live. You might discover that your word count or keyword guidelines need some minor adjustments, or you may decide that an SEO suggestion by the freelance writing team would work well for your project. Test projects are typically paid and may involve a few rounds back and forth before you settle on the content requirements for your job.
Trust Your Freelancers’ Expertise
When it comes down to it, you’re hiring freelance writers because they provide expertise, speed and flexibility your in-house team can’t currently match. Micromanaging your writers can hamper your long-term content goals, so aim for a working relationship that lets you turn over the task to your writers and get stellar content on or before your stated deadline. If the freelancer or manager of a team of freelancers makes suggestions about SEO best practices, you may want to consider incorporating those suggestions into your job to get better results.
Learn About the Writing and Editing Process
If you’re working with a content agency, ask about the writing and editing process. Decide whether your freelance job should be sourced to a specific writer or given to a larger team that can produce content more quickly. Find out whether the work goes through a round of editing before being sent back to you. When you’re working with a team of freelancers, you may be able to request the same writers or specify writers of a particular quality level before you assign the job.
Connect With Freelance Writers Using Crowd Content
Working with freelance writers can be an easy way to increase your work capacity and save money. The first step to outsourcing your company’s freelance writing is to find freelancers who can meet your needs. Visit Crowd Content to connect with over 5,000 professional freelance writers who can help craft content that draws attention, establishes authority and converts browsers to buyers.