When it comes to content marketing, your freelance contributors can be one of your most valuable business partners. They’ll help you cultivate your brand’s strategy and share insights about what they’re seeing — every day — on the playing field. Building a strong relationship with your freelancers is key to creating a successful partnership. Below are ten tips to help you build a long lasting and strong relationship with your freelancers.
1. Share your brand strategy, editorial guidelines, and goals
Content marketing is strategy-driven. Your freelancers will be well-positioned to deliver great content when they can wholly understand the goals behind your marketing campaign. The more they understand your brand’s needs, the more empowered they’ll be to recommend ideas and insights as well.
2. Work with a consistent team of freelancers
Your freelancers are in it for the long haul. They care about your brand and want to help you succeed. These relationships take time to fully cultivate. A consistent team of freelancers will take the time to learn and care about your company’s marketing goals.
3. Assess your freelancers’ strengths and passions
Top freelancers are in tune with their skillsets. Give them the flexibility to create what makes them passionate. This enthusiasm will take a project from ‘good’ to ‘amazing.’
4. Pay freelancers immediately
Every freelancer — at some point — has been burned by non-paying clients. Paying freelancers immediately is invaluable for building trust. While your freelancers may not be starving, they are likely wondering whether they’ll get paid. Independent contractors don’t have the same legal safety nets of a big brand. Paying freelancers upon submission is a powerful sign that your brand values the business relationship.
5. Set expectations
Failed business relationships are, more often than not, the result of one major pain point: failed communication. Brands need to keep the dialogue open with freelancers. Let them know ahead of time how much (and when) they’ll be compensated, how well- researched a piece needs to be, as well as the formatting requirements and number of editing cycles expected of the freelancer. Setting expectations ahead of time will save time by minimizing the revision process. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
6. Make freelancers a part of your marketing team
Be as transparent as possible. Share planning documents, editorial calendars, and content performance. Freelancers work with multiple clients and are valuable consultants for your brand. They’re on your site and want to help your company reach key performance goals.
7. Let them know how their work performs
Freelancers care about your company and will do everything in their power to help your marketing initiatives succeed. Like you, they are excited to test new ideas and add maximum value with their work.
8. Provide constructive feedback
Not happy? Talk to your freelancers about it. They’re human and open to learning. Work together, grow together, and strive to improve as a team. Your freelancers appreciate the feedback and are always striving to become better in their work.
9. Give Freelancers beats and areas of focus
Trusted freelancers can be given “beats,” much like a newsroom, or other areas of creative specialty. Trust your team to pitch stories in their areas of interest and expertise. These beats will make a brand editor’s job much easier — spend more time optimizing your marketing program and less time brainstorming ideas to write about.
10. Give credit to your freelancers
Your freelancers are proud of their work. They’re excited to share bylined pieces with their social media communities and other clients. Freelancers depend on their track records to secure new business and evolve in their careers. Give credit by giving them bylines and providing great testimonials. Remember that a simple ‘thank you’ can amplify the success of a business relationship.
Your freelancers have the potential to be invaluable business partners for your brand. Take time to get to know them and work with them to cultivate great ideas from their contributor networks.
Originally published on Apr 1, 2014 3:51 PM, updated Feb 10, 2016