One of the greatest frustrations for both freelance writers, and the business owners or managers who hire them is a final product that is not what was wanted. A good freelance writer wants to deliver a good end result to their client and does their best to do so. However, there can be a breakdown in communication over what the deliverable is supposed to look like. Often this can be remedied with just a few simple steps.
Freelance Writing Perfection
In order to achieve perfection, one has to know what perfection is. In gymnastics, a perfect 10 from all of the judges represents perfection. It is not a secret how to achieve such a score. There are published rules regarding what kinds of things the judges must see and what kinds of things they must not see in order to get a 10 score. These rules are specific. They do not say “a flawless routine that is inspiring.” That is what they want, but that is not how to communicate. After all, what is inspiring to one person may be showing-off to another person. However, many clients will give no instruction beyond “something simple, yet inspiring.”
In order to get what they want from a freelancer, clients need to break it out further. In our gymnastics example, it is specified that stepping outside the white mat border will mean a points deduction. Now, the gymnast knows specifically what they cannot do. A freelancer needs the same kind of guidance. The above client has asked for simple, but there are many ways to interpret that. Does he mean black and white? Does he mean short? Does he mean no big words?
Freelance Writing and the Haircut
When a person gets their haircut, they have to tell the stylist what they want. This usually takes place in the form of a conversation. The stylist asks questions to clarify what the client wants. When the client says “short,” the stylist can ask “how much shorter, above the ears?” To which the client can answer, “No, just to the tops of the shoulders.” This illustrates exactly how you should communicate with your freelancer.
When the client says, “simple,” the freelancer should inquire, “No color, or no graphics?” The client can then fill in the details as to what they mean by simple.
Professional Freelance Writers Write First
A professional freelance writer will always try to put your request in writing. At ArcticLlama, LLC we strive to put together a simple looking write up of what the client wants. Of course, if the project is very short, or needed very quickly, this step may need to be skipped. But, if the client has sufficient time, this write up saves frustration for everyone involved. As a client it is important for you to review this document of understanding carefully and make sure that it not only does not say the wrong things, but that it also says all of the right things. So, if your DOC (Document of Understanding) says “A three-page article outlining the current economic environment for rental properties,” and you want a three-page article outlining how the current economic environment affects the people who manage rental properties, now is the time to speak up. The freelancer will now write exactly what you want.
Freelance Writing and Re-writes
Remember, rewrites are not the time to change what is being written. It is a time to add on to what was written, or to take out what was written. It is also the time to add examples, change the “sound” of a line or two, and maybe even to add graphics. Changing the theme, the length, or the audience of the product amounts to starting the project over.
Remember, the point of hiring a freelance writer is to get someone who is an expert at communicating. Use this expertise in the beginning and you won’t go wrong.
If you have any questions or would like to see a sample DOC, please email us or call us.