Want to know how to work with a freelancer?
Ready to work with a freelancer, but worried it won’t work out? Or not sure what to expect?
It’s likely you will need the help of an experienced freelancer or contractor at some point. Because, although marketing teams are leaner the work still needs to get done.
Getting help from a freelancer makes sense
Managers seek professional freelancers to fill the gaps in their teams. One of the most significant benefits of hiring freelancers is having access to talent on demand. Freelancers can handle overflow work and step in with expertise your team may not have.
When you hire a freelancer, you’re paying for their time and expertise when you need it. There’s no overhead associated with a full-time employee and you’ll work with someone who does this type of work all the time (not just dabbles in it).
Get it right and it’s amazing. Get it wrong and it’s a right pain.
Working with a freelancer doesn’t always go to plan. There are plenty of horror stories out there. Mis-matched skills, changed briefs half-way through, non-deliverance, ghosting and more!
Having been a freelancer for a number of years now, I thought I’d share what I know to make the whole process run smoother.
Before choosing a freelancer,
make sure you know what you want
The better the brief the better the result
I love briefs! Said no one ever. But it’s worth taking the time to write everything down up-front. In this case, less doesn’t equal more. The more details, the better.
Expect to set time up front to talk it all through. Depending on your project this could be a phone call, a written brief or a workshop.
Your freelancer will likely have a standard briefing form or offer a discovery session if you’re not 100% sure what you need.
Work out what skills you need to deliver before you hire your freelancer
Understand the skill-set you are looking for in a freelancer. There are many areas of disciplines to marketing, and each needs a different skill to do it. You’ll likely need to work with various freelancers with a lead that oversees project management for you.
Not all freelancers do the same type of Marketing
Marketing and Content Strategist
They are the big picture thinkers. Able to get inside your business and create the tactics and key messages to support business goals.
Most will project manage the implementation for you as well.
They are the creative types designing your collateral and brand elements (logos, flyers, brochures, social media graphics, images etc.).
They use specialised design software.
They write the words that connect with your customers.
Great copy really lifts the perception of your brand and makes it easier to read.
(Blogs, Flyers, Websites, Articles, SEO copywriting etc.).
Creates & Implements email campaigns, direct response online ads, manages social media, AdWords & SEO.
Likely to source content from copywriters and work closely with your web developer.
Websites are their main gig.
They design and build the site (but don’t write copy).
Likely to be an agency set up with hosting and maintenance services available.
Be fair and respectful when you work with a freelancer
A freelancer doesn’t mean they work for free. With a freelancer, you’re paying for their up-to-date expertise. Most of us set our rates somewhat (and probably less than we should), so please don’t haggle on price. Rates include Super, operating costs, and our wage.
It’s essential to set up an agreement for each project and outline timings before you begin. That way, you’re both clear on what to expect. If you change your mind halfway through, it’s what’s known as a change in scope. Expect to be charged for a change in direction.
Pay on time. When you pay a freelancer late, the impact on their life is enormous. For smaller jobs, expect to pay up-front.
Help your freelancer work with you – set them up for success
Be prepared to help your freelancer to get to know you and your business. If they’re not provided with the relevant information, expectations may not be met.
You’ll need to provide your freelancer with information about your company;
- Brand Guidelines
- Tone of Voice documents
- Images and Logo
- Any other background information relating to the project.
There are many types of software and programs that both you and your freelancer can use together:
- Dropbox or Google Drive to share documents
- Project Collaboration tools like Asana, Trello, Slack, and Plutio.
- Expect to use Zoom a lot!
Your freelancer can be an extension of your team
Although you’re likely to work remotely with your freelancer, it’s wise to build a relationship from the get-go:
- Set ground rules and expectations for your working relationship.
- Most freelancers prefer an initial face-to-face meeting for complicated briefs, then expect phone calls, email, and video conferences to be the norm. They generally work from home or sometimes in a co-working space
Trust you’ve hired an expert
Remember, you’ve hired a freelance professional for a reason. Be involved, but don’t hover. Trust that your freelancer knows what they are doing and what’s working right now and what isn’t. Keep in mind to not micromanage your freelancer.
Good marketers will be able to back up their ideas with data or facts, so ask questions, but don’t go nuts with the red pen just yet because it’s not how you’d do it.
Do you feel more confident to work with a freelancer now?
Going through all these steps will help you have a good relationship with any freelancers that you hire. Be honest with them in what you’re looking for, and make sure to always keep them in the loop if they’re not meeting your expectations. Sometimes it can just be a lack of communication between both parties and can easily be worked out.
Ready to work with a marketing communications freelancer?
I’m in Sydney, but you can be anywhere.
These days, it’s all over Zoom.