I love this description of writing because it inextricably links the thinking and the writing – one cannot happen without the other. When you hire a writer you are getting a whole lot more than a word count.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true…bad writing confuses the reader with ambiguous meaning. Confusion around your business message is severely detrimental to your success and poorly written content does not represent your business’s quality. You know this and have decided to hire a freelance writer to sort out the words part for you.
Hiring a freelance writer
But a brief visit to one of the many online freelancer agencies can leave you with more questions than answers: Do I need a copywriter or content writer? What on earth is a ghost writer? Isn’t marketing, advertising and sales writing all the same thing?
This array of industry specific vocabulary is actually a barrier to potential clients. My advice is to ignore it all; you do not need to know what all these terms mean. As far as I’m concerned, you just need to know what you want me to write.
I can only vouch for my own process, but from what I’ve read, most freelance writers work on similar lines. A simple five-step process that involves both you (the client) and me (your writer) at each point.
- You get in touch by email or phone.
- We schedule a time for your free half-hour meeting to establish the details of your requirements. This is structured by my Briefing Questions (more about this in ‘Hiring Your Freelance Writer – Part Two’). If you are unable to have a chat, this can be done via email.
- After thinking through our briefing meeting, I will get back to you with a breakdown of the job, quote, deadline and, for longer jobs, a timeline of shorter steps. This is your opportunity to get back to me with any information or other ideas that have arisen since our conversation.
- I get to work! I will check in, by email, as I go along. Usually this is to confirm I am using the correct tone of voice and that you are getting what you expected. This is particularly important for longer jobs and if it is the first time we have worked together.
- I submit the work by the agreed deadline. You read your completed job, suggest any minor tweaks and approve the final version.
All jobs are calculated on an individual basis because every job is different.
There are three options:
- Hourly: You set the maximum number of hours, I invoice you upon completion of those hours at our prearranged rate.
- Weekly/Monthly: You pay for a certain number of hours every week or month. This is a particularly useful arrangement if you have a backlog of work or require regular, new content. It ensures that you never go over budget.
- Project: Half paid upfront and half on completion. It is more efficient to have short-term steps set up on longer projects. It ensures a fair deal for us both.
- No surprise extra costs
- I will never go over our agreed budget
- If a project is going to take longer than I first estimated, I will let you know as a matter of urgency and won’t proceed without your consent
- I never give a quote ‘per number of words’.
Additional work will be charged additionally! I will ‘tweak’ any finished piece of work, to adjust minor details, that take up to half an hour. Anything new (“could you just add in a section about…”) is additional work and will incur an extra cost.
Very tight deadlines can sometimes be met, depending on my workload, and will incur an extra fee.
That’s the practicalities taken care of! No mysterious language, no hidden layers of pricing, just me and you working together to express your message to your clients.
In Part Two I’m going to romp through the thinking behind my Briefing Questions. They apply to every client, no matter what size of writing job, with some variations for different types of writing. For people like me who prefer to think things through before a discussion, they are on my website. But I have found it to be much more useful to talk things through with clients, rather than have them fill out yet another online form.