5 golden rules for publishers managing freelancers

How much do you know about your freelancers? Most of us are so busy managing our permanent staff that we just don’t have the time to do the same with our freelancers. But if you talk to any freelancer, they’ll tell you that for certain regular clients they’ll go the extra mile (or two) irrespective of how well they pay. This is because these clients have made the effort to know more about them and improve the way they work together.

Want to get better quality work from your freelancers? Follow these five golden rules.

Pay on time

Chasing invoices can cause real stress for freelancers who, just like permanent staff, have bills to pay and mouths to feed. And when a freelancer starts adding the daily 8.5% late interest charge to your invoice it costs your business money too. But worst of all, it will cost you the best people. Because in-demand freelancers simply won’t work for late payers.

Keep notes on performance

Somewhere in a parallel universe you look like a movie star, go to the gym each morning and enjoy wheatgrass smoothies! In this parallel universe you brief and

commission a freelancer. He/she answers that brief by producing a great piece of content and everyone rejoices. Back on Earth, things don’t go quite so smoothly.

One freelancer misinterprets the brief, another submits something good but late, and another is already booked on a job so can’t do the work. All this could have been prevented if you’d kept a few notes on your freelancers. Your best freelancer always files a day late? Then keep a note and build in some extra time.

Another produces great work but needs a super tight brief to get it right? Again, make a note. Simple.

Communicate better

Speak to any freelance content creator and they’ll tell you that communication is a major issue with many publishers. All too often they receive a vague brief, followed by silence, followed by a panicked change in brief two days before deadline, followed by more silence after they’ve submitted the work. Can you imagine your colleagues communicating like this? By writing proper briefs, answering emails quickly and acknowledging their work, you’ll soon be one step ahead of your competitors.

Respect regular gigs

While most publishers appreciate that freelancers are juggling multiple jobs at once, many don’t realise, or forget about, their regular gigs. Most content creators will have a few regular gigs that vary in size. This is their bread and butter work. It probably doesn’t drive them wild with excitement, but it does pay the mortgage. Understanding your freelancer’s workflows – so knowing that

Andrew spends every Wednesday working for one particular client, for example
– will help you commission people at times when they have the flexibility – and energy! – to work on your projects.

Show appreciation

So a deadline has been brought forward suddenly and you need your best freelancer to work on a project urgently. Ideally you want him or her to drop
everything to help you out. Your chances of this happening dramatically increase the moment you start showing more gratitude to your freelancers. If you pay them on time, communicate effectively, brief clearly and show gratitude for their work, your favourite freelancers will drop everything to help you out when the time comes. There are many ways you can show appreciation, such as sending nice emails and inviting freelancers to work socials or the Christmas party.

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