A Few Keys to Understanding Freelance Bloggers

May 16, 2012By

Is your business considering hiring a freelance blogger?

Many businesses are considering working with freelancers as a way to bring their business blogs up to speed. There is opportunity for businesses to increase leads and sales with a blog. The issue is, these businesses, especially the owners and presidents, do not have time to write the posts themselves. As a result, bringing in a freelancer seems like a great way to solve the issue.

But working with freelancers can be tricky. It’s different than working with regular employees.

Here are a few tips for having a successful relationship with freelance bloggers.

How to Work with Freelance Bloggers

What sparked interest in this article was an article on the same topic on Inc. In that article – Rein in Your Freelancers – the authors, Lee Clifford and Julie Schlosser, offer great insight for working with freelancers. It’s worth your time to read the entire article to get even more insight into working with a freelance blogger or even a freelancer in another capacity. A few of my thoughts are similar to theirs, but hopefully I’m adding more to the subject.

Get to Know Them

Getting to know freelance bloggers can be tricky. I’m bad at this myself. I tend to focus on the aspects of work while leaving out the personal aspects of life with my work relationships. I think it’s my introverted nature. But the other areas of life are important too. I’m slowly realizing this.

With co-workers, employees and freelancers, it’s important to understand a bit about them on a personal level. You can ask about their hobbies and what they enjoy most about their work. I find it fascinating to get to know what people like to do when they’re not getting paid. If you can marry up something a person loves doing with something you need done then you’re likely on the way to hiring a great freelancer.

In the case of Ghost Blog Writers, I try to find writers that truly love writing. A great way to find this kind of person is to see if they have a personal blog. You can use this method as well. Look for a blogger that blogs on their own time, without pay. It’s a good sign that they actually like writing.

Respect Their Time

As a business owner or manager, you’re almost entirely invested in the success of your business. It’s difficult to work with freelancers that aren’t entirely devoted to your company. It’s difficult, but you have to be respectful of your freelancer’s time. They have other clients. They have other options. Lee and Julie write about this in the article linked above. If you push your freelancer past the point of comfort with their time they will drop you.

Understand that your freelancer partners have their own schedules. You’re paying them for work to be completed, but allow them time to react with a schedule for completion of that work.

Do Proper Vetting

Let’s touch on vetting once again. I’ve had the most success with vetting new freelancer partners by looking at their actual work. I can’t really remember looking at resumes or cover letters. The initial email is important. I look for basic understanding of language and writing of which I’m not the best myself. I also look for published work examples. The personal blog is a great indicator of a good potential freelance blogging partner.

But to go even a step further I’ve always required bloggers to have a trial period. This involves a sample post and in some cases more than one sample post. It’s kind of a trial period to see if the blogger will work out for a specific situation.

I don’t have an issue with trial periods for freelancers. They need time to get to know you and you need that time to see if they’re a good fit as well.

Judge Based on Deliverables

Another thing I’ve admittingly struggled with regarding freelancers is again based on their time. You can’t (at least in my experience) judge a freelancer by the time they put in. You have to judge them based on the deliverable. You aren’t paying for their time. You’re paying for a completed blog post or a series of posts. Obviously you need to evaluate their ability to provide something based on a schedule or due date, but it’s more about the quality of the deliverable. Don’t expect a freelancer to work nine to five and always be available for you. Focus on the posts they deliver. Don’t worry about the time they put into it.

Final Thoughts

These are a few thoughts from my experience working with freelancers. I’ve been lucky and have worked with some great ones. If I had to list the most important item from this article it would be finding someone that truly loves what they do and in this case that is writing. It’s hard to find this quality. You could go through 20 or more people before finding someone that fits. But the effort up front is well worth it in the long run. You save yourself time of having to find a replacement in a few months if the first doesn’t work.