Like many other people I know, my professional path has been anything but a straight line from start to here. Opportunities and surprises have cropped up unexpectedly and the best laid plans have sometimes gone awry. But my years of experience as a journalist, government communicator, marketing copywriter, PR professional and creative writer have given me an interesting perspective on how to hire a freelance writer and I’d like to share a few thoughts.
- Different writers have different skill sets. Someone who can put together an amazing review of your Aunt Alice’s life story might not be well-equipped to provide content for your company newsletter or website. If you’re hiring a writer, ask about their past experiences with the written word and measure those against the need at hand.
- A professional writer is focused on professional development. We all have patches where we’re so busy serving clients that we don’t have a lot of time for training. But the strongest writers I know are always striving to be better at what they do. The learning might be focused on something other than writing – for example I’ve embarked upon a year-long business training program which will give me new insights on sales, marketing, audiences, consumer behavior, business planning and business systems.I’ve also started work on a Master’s Degree in English this year so I can bring more depth to my creative writing projects. This is a particularly intense learning year for me but at the end of the day I will be able to make ever more accurate distinctions in my writing that will ultimately serve my clients better. Why am I doing all this after 30 years as a writer? Because there is always more to learn!
- Personality matters. Usually. If the assignment you are handing out involves a lot of inter-personal contact with employees or stakeholders you obviously need a writer who is extremely good at establishing and maintaining rapport. If your project involves the production of a technical manual, then you might want to skew your selection process towards someone who easily understands the technical information and who can clearly communicate meaning to your audience. Professionalism is always key.
There are many strong freelancers working in the business field these days and not every writer is going to be a perfect fit for your ongoing project work. Sometimes you won’t know until you’ve worked together. But the right match between a writer and a client is a magical thing and can go a long way towards improving your productivity while presenting your organization in the best light possible.
Want to learn more about whether you and I might be a perfect match? Contact me today!