Managing a bunch of freelance writers can be a lot like trying to organise a barrel of scholarly, erudite monkeys. That’s because while they can be good at stringing sentences together, they can sometimes be about as organised as your typical banana flinging primate – especially when it comes to deadlines. Freelance writers usually have competing agendas and schedules, so keeping them on task is best achieved via as strict adherence to processes.
That’s where relevant programs and invoice apps come into their own, allowing you a good measure of control in order to effectively coordinate content. But, how to best use these processes? And, what are some top tips to effectively manage freelance writers in general?
1.Invoice the smart way
Doing invoicing the traditional way (printing out a paper copy at the end of the month and mailing it to your clients) is not only labour intensive and bad for the environment – it also wastes so much time in the process. Not only do you have to wait for your client to receive your invoice, but you also have to wait for them to get around to paying it. It’s so easy to create invoices and track them with apps that do all the hard work for you. You’ll save so much time, and be so much more productive. Just think of all that energy you’ll have left for rounding up those monkeys!
- Project manage like a pro
There are a bunch of programs out there that will allow you to project manage and setup workflow.
It’s all about keeping on schedule and making sure that deadlines are met so that your clients stay happy. As your product largely rest in the hands, minds and laptops of your freelancers (they might be the monkeys, but they have all the bananas) you’re going to need to do all that you can to keep track of their work habits and to communicate effectively in order to have them hand over the goods.
You probably would have heard of Asana, Dapulse and Trello, but these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to project management tools. Here’s a handy list of suggestions for what’s currently available, and at no cost for the base package.
- Set parameters
It’s a whole lot easier to manage a relationship with a freelancer if you set the terms from the get go.
Not only will you want to work out the fee structure (hourly or per assignment) and the rate, you’ll also want to take the time to properly outline the parameters of the job.
Setting clear instructions is so important. This often results in less revisions of your freelancer’s work, meaning you save time and you client does not suffer undue frustration. Check out this interesting read for more great tips about this particular aspect of hiring freelancers.
- Communicate effectively
This means letting your contractor know about expectations.
This could include the type and style of content required, research methodology and the specifics when it comes to other deliverables eg. do they need to be able to provide their own photography as a blogger? What’s the word count required and the average time expectation for each assignment?
These are questions that you are going to need to be able to answer and provide detail on before you engage a freelancer – and maybe even before the onset of each task. Once communication has been clearly defined, you can manage your writer according to these set terms. Check in with your team members regularly to see how they are travelling.
- Give feedback
Feedback is an necessary offshoot of any effective communication process.
If there is something about a writer’s style or technique that tends to hit a particular client’s nerve then you will need to make sure you give the appropriate feedback. Take the time to explain the situation with tact and diplomacy and let your writer get a feel for what is actually expected. Not quite sure how do that? This blog is useful in guiding you through the correct approach.
Sometimes it can be as simple as that. Other times a writer may not be the right fit for a particular assignment – or, for a client in general. You don’t want to be performing endless revisions. As with many things in life, it’s about knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. Make sure you give feedback, but also know when to cut your losses
- Make your freelancers a part of the team
Take the time to get to know your outsourced content creators.
Build a relationship with them in order to foster trust and loyalty. Perhaps you might like to consider some Skype sessions to allow them to connect with your business on a real time level? Or, you could throw some perks their way. Maybe a coupon for some free coffees in their local area would give them a nice surprise and jolt their creative spark?
Jokes about monkeys aside, good dependable writers are a precious commodity.
With content creation being such an important part of the digital landscape these days, their skills should never be undervalued. It takes time to scout for a new freelance writer should your existing ones not pan out. Take the time to get to know your contractors as the valuable team members that they are. For more on why you should take the task of hiring writers seriously, have a read of this.
Herding those monkeys and getting a bunch of juicy (content) bananas
Using the right software, apps and tools is just one part of the equation when it comes to managing a team of outsourced content creators. There’s a fair bit of human resource management thrown into the mix. Knowing how to set parameters, communicate effectively, give feedback and how best to develop lasting relationships will have you herding those scurrying scamps (aka freelance writers) in no time at all.