Why Your Small Business Needs a Freelance Writer’s Help

Anything and everything you write in representing your business makes an impression. Your ability to project your capabilities and competence can either build Freelance writercustomer confidence or tear it down.

 

How well do you represent your business in your written communications?

Are you…

  • Interesting and engaging?
  • Professional, yet approachable?
  • Clear and concise?
  • Consistent with your messaging in all your communications?
  • Able to create new content at a pace that keeps up with your competition?

Answering “no” to any of the above might indicate you could benefit from contracting a freelance writer to help you.

But don’t worry; you’re not alone.

According to a 2013 Content Marketing Institute study:

  • Fifty-four percent of small businesses said producing the kind of content that engages is a challenge. Twenty-one percent said that’s their biggest challenge.
  • Sixty-four percent of small businesses said producing enough content is a challenge. Twenty-six percent said that’s their biggest challenge.

Note that “content” can mean more than the published written word, but almost all forms of content need good writing as their foundation.

How Could A Freelance Writer Help You?

Your small business relies on the written word more than you probably realize.

Let’s take inventory.

  • Website pages
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Social media profiles
  • E-newsletters
  • Video scripts
  • Radio commercial scripts
  • Brochures
  • Direct mail postcards
  • Newspaper ads
  • Product and services descriptions
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Magazine articles
  • Text for Infographics
  • Customer service emails
  • Sales letters
  • Marketing emails
  • Newsletters
  • Press releases
  • Follow-up emails to contact form inquiries

I could go on and on and on!

You Haven’t Worked With A Freelance Writer? What’s Stopping You?

As a freelance writer, I know well the arguments against using one.

Fear Of Cutting The Cord

What keeps a lot of small business owners from tapping the talent and know-how of freelance writers is concern over handing their communications over to an outsider. How could a writer possibly know where to begin and how to convey what’s important in a way that sounds like the business?

Make no mistake. When you get a writer’s assistance, you still need to be actively involved. As a writer, I rely on my clients to:

  • Tell me the features and benefits they want to showcase.
  • Share about their company culture and approach to business (casual, formal, edgy, etc.).
  • Share about their target audience.
  • Explain their goals and expectations for specific projects.
  • Provide examples of past communications pieces.
  • Share informational resources they think I should review before beginning a project.

So you see, you’re not completely abdicating your role in your business communications. You won’t be out of touch.

Doling Out Dollars

You might also shy away from hiring a freelance writer because of the cost involved. Yes, you’ll need to part with some dollars, but that money will be well spent.

The help of a freelance writer can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend writing content. For example, how long does it take you to struggle through a 500-word blog post? While it might take you three or four or five hours to get the job done, a skilled, proficient freelance writer can conquer it in a fraction of the time.

Think about what your time is worth. If you hire a freelance writer, you can spend more of it tending to responsibilities that absolutely need your direct attention.

Plus, many writers will work with you if you need to stay within a certain budget. For example, writers might cut you a break on their hourly or project rates if you’re willing to sign a retainer-type agreement that guarantees them income/work for a period of time.

And know that getting the help of a writer doesn’t require an “all or nothing” arrangement. You can keep your costs down if you can provide a rough draft or key details for inclusion so the writer doesn’t need to do as much—or any— research.

Finding A Really Good, Reliable Freelance Writer For A Fair Rate

The operative word here is “fair.” Fair doesn’t mean “cheap.” You can find plenty of writers who work for next to nothing on platforms like Elance and ODesk, but exercise caution when applying “bargain basement” mentality to finding a writing professional. Reputable writers typically will not write a blog post for $1 or $5 or $10 or $25. Writers’ rates vary depending on a number of factors like years of experience, length of posts, complexity of subject matter, research involved, and others.

So where can you go to find a writer you can trust to project your brand’s value?

LinkedIn – Search for professionals with the terms copywriter, freelance writer, or writer.

Other Social Media – Writers with marketing chops will make efforts to stand out on platforms like Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, etc. Search for “freelance writer,” “copywriter,” or “writer” to find relevant profiles and post an update asking your connections if they know of any great writers within their networks.

Local Networking Groups – Ask your area chambers of commerce and other structured networking organizations to make recommendations.

Other Business Professionals – If you notice that a company has exceptional copy, ask the owner or other manager who does their writing. They might be willing to share the writer’s contact info (assuming it’s not one of their employees).

Job Sites Like Elance, ODesk, and Guru – There are quality writers on these platforms. As I said earlier, don’t confuse cheap with value. Good writers typically won’t work for anything resembling minimum wage.

Keep in mind different writers have different specialties and strengths. A single freelance writer might not be able to serve all of your writing needs so carefully consider the types of communications you’ll need help with. Then seek a writer—or writers—who have demonstrated proficiency and experience with those kinds of projects.

And before you work with a writer, ask to see writing samples and for names of references who can vouch for not only the quality of their work, but also their collaborative nature. Some writers are easier to work with than others. Some are very communicative through the process, while others seem to disappear leaving you without really knowing where your project stands. Some take revision requests personally and become defensive, while others realize it’s part of creative process to craft content that best projects your small business brand.

What To Expect When You Work With A Freelance Writer

All writers have their own M.O. (modus operandi), but generally you can expect a writer to:

  1. Ask questions about the project to determine the scope of work, deadline, who else will be involved, who will be approving the content, methods of communicating about the project details, etc.
  2. Send you a proposal/contract with rates, down payment requirements/billing details, terms, conditions, scope of work, flow of work, deadline, communication methods, etc.
  3. Ask you detailed questions designed to draw out information needed for specific parts of the project.
  4. Send you draft content for your review and feedback.
  5. Send you revised content if you’ve asked for changes.

Final Thoughts As You Consider Freelance Writing Help For Your Small Business

While working with a freelance writer might be uncharted territory for you, you’ll quickly learn to enjoy the freedom to focus on other things. Not everyone can—or should—write. If your talents lie elsewhere, why spend more time than you have to on something you can so easily outsource.

A freelance writer, although not hired as a company employee, can become a valuable and indispensable member of your team who helps you succeed in communicating what makes your small business brand so special.

 

Over to you: Have you worked with freelance writers in your business? Please share your experience!

 

Oh, and if you’re looking for a freelance writer to help you get and keep the attention of your customers and prospects, let’s talk!

 

By Dawn Mentzer

6 Ways to Make the Most of Working with a Freelance Writer on your Marketing Projects

Not everyone has the time or the talent to write their own marketing content for their businesses. When you’re running aPen and notebook small business, you’ve got multiple other tasks to tend to that aren’t quite as easy to outsource. And honestly, unless you really have the chops to write content yourself, it will pay you in the long run to farm your writing out to someone who does.

Working with a freelance writer can save the day, and it can save you a ton of time. But before you outsource your marketing content writing, here are some things you need to think about and do to make sure you’ll get the most for your money – and give freelance writers what they need to do the best job possible for you…

  • Have a grip on your brand personality and your value proposition.
    If you’re not in tune with your brand’s value and what’s unique about it, now might not be the best time to bring in a freelance writer to help you with your projects. Some writers might have enough marketing experience to help you find your way, but not all are equipped to – or will want to – serve as your marketing strategist. If you’re struggling with your overall marketing strategy, there are free resources (like SCORE) and for-hire marketing consultants out there who can help you get on firm ground. After you’ve planted your feet is when you’ll be able to give a writer better insight into what  should be highlighted in your marketing messaging.
  • Share what you know about your customers.
    The more info you can share about your target market, the better your writer will be able to tailor the messages – and call to actions – to your audience.
  • Share what you want to accomplish.
    Though your writer will most likely not be the person managing and tracking the results of a marketing project or campaign, the more you can share with them about your goals, the better able they will be to craft a particular marketing piece so that it will fit into your master strategy.
  • Plan ahead and set a realistic deadline.
    Keep in mind that established and reputable writers will have multiple clients, and that means they probably can’t drop everything to work on a project that you didn’t plan far enough in advance for. If you’ve got a marketing project in mind, contact your writer as soon as possible to get a quote and make a commitment so you can get on their radar and their project calendar. Note that some writers will take on eleventh hour work, but prepare to pay extra for it.
  • Share any specific details that you want to include in the content.
    Tell writers if there are particulars that absolutely need to appear in the content. Don’t assume that a writer will just know what’s most important to you and your brand. Point them to web links with relevant info, email them a list of bullet points, and email them documents that give them the details they’ll need. And be sure that writers know (in advance of quoting you a rate and signing a contract) which pieces of info you’ll be providing directly to them and what elements they’ll need to research. Writers factor research time into their project quotes, so it’s important to be clear about what you can provide to them and what you’re expecting them to round up.
  • Provide timely feedback and communicate it clearly – via email
    To keep your project moving, try to review draft content and provide feedback as promptly as possible. Some writers will only honor revisions up to a certain amount of days after they submitted their initial draft to you. And some will commit to a limited number of revisions. To avoid extra cost and to address changes when your project is fresh in everyone’s mind, get back to your writer as quickly as you can and communicate change requests as clearly as possible so the next draft will be the final one (or very close to it!). And communicate changes in writing via email. Having a “paper trail” of what you discussed makes things easier for all!

By paying mind to these things, not only will you get the most for your outsourcing dollars, but you’ll also be setting the stage for a professional relationship that will give you great marketing content – and streamline your efforts – as it progresses. The more writers work with you, the greater their understanding of your business and your brand – which means they’ll consistently produce content that’s the right fit, and they’ll need less and less supervisory time from you on projects.

And now for what you think! If you’ve worked with freelance marketing writers, what other tips can you share to make the most of those relationships?

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