The Problems with Freelancers for Content Writing — People First Content
If you’re like many small businesses, your content needs don’t justify a full-time team. But content creation is just one more thing to add to an already packed schedule as a business owner or one-person marketing team. So, how do you outsource your content writing?
Using the gig economy for content is a good idea in theory. Just Google “freelance content writers,” pick the top result, and get bespoke content tailored for your business. But the process has a lot more steps and qualifiers.
That’s why we will explore the hidden pitfalls of using freelancers for content writing (and the alternatives).
1. The Difficulty of Finding Reliable Freelancers: Screening and Hiring Challenges
We have a more in-depth post on hiring a freelancer, but we’ve outlined the basic steps below. Despite what many freelance writing sites promise, hiring a freelance content writer is time-consuming if you want to find someone reliable, qualified, and affordable.
The steps for hiring a freelancer are:
- Define your requirements internally: Start by clearly outlining what content you need, including topics, word count, and desired writing style.
- Create a detailed job description: You must clearly communicate your expectations and requirements.
- Post on the best websites for freelance writers: Utilize reputable freelance platforms or job boards to reach a wider pool of talented writers.
- Review portfolios and samples: After receiving applications, carefully review each writer’s portfolio and writing samples.
- Give interviews or assessments: Conduct interviews with shortlisted candidates to gauge their communication skills and suitability for the role.
- Check references: Before making a final decision, don’t forget to check references or read the reviews other clients have left them.
- Set clear expectations: Once you’ve selected a freelance content writer, ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of project timelines, deliverables, revisions policy, and payment terms.
As you can see, that’s a solid seven-step hiring process. And because of the nature of the freelance game, this is something you’ll likely have to repeat many, many times.
In the best case scenario, you find a freelance writer who will stick with you and consistently create content that fits your brand’s voice and tone.
But a more realistic projection is to prepare yourself to repeat the hiring process whenever you need more content. You also may have to hire multiple freelancers depending on their skill sets. For example, someone with experience writing blogs may not know how to create an effective email campaign. And content writers and copywriters often have differing skill sets.
2. Keeping Consistent: Inconsistent Output and Lack of Accountability
The other problem with working with freelancers is that you lose some of the accountability and oversight since they’re not a part of your team. This means you have less assurance that your content will be delivered on time and how you want it.
Because of how inconsistent the revenue stream can be, freelancing is often not people’s full-time job and can even be seasonal. Many people freelance while doing school or another part-time job. You may find yourself suddenly without a content creator during crunch time.
Another issue that arises in freelance writing is the lack of accountability. Without a direct supervisor or team to pick up the slack, you may suddenly end up with subpar content.
All of this isn’t to disparage freelancers! Sickness, family emergencies, significant life events, all these things can happen suddenly and without warning.
Unfortunately, when consistently switching between content providers, you lose brand consistency. If your content has consistent dips in quality or deviations from the norm, you won’t be able to establish relationships with your customers through content.
3. The AI Issue
Now, PFC is not anti-AI by any means. AI can create excellent first drafts and save writers time and energy when writing background information.
BUT that comes with a lot of caveats.
AI content should be a first draft thing. It takes a lot of work to turn it into content for humans. AI writing lacks cohesion and personalization. It won’t be able to integrate original research or flavor into your content.
Going back to the accountability problem, with many freelancers, it’s hard to verify if you’re getting original content or just paying for a middleman to copy and paste.
When paying for content, you should know that you’re getting something specifically tailored to your needs and written with your business in mind.
4. Beyond Content: Looking to Strategy
It’s a bit of a trade secret, but did you know that content isn’t just randomly throwing stuff at a wall until something sticks? Crazy, I know.
The thing with content marketing is it’s a long-term strategy. It takes time to accumulate a library of quality blog posts, a social media following, and an email list. And it takes a lot longer to get there without a cohesive content plan.
Ideally, your content collaborators will work with you long enough to help you develop your strategy and execute that vision. They will do more than execute what you’ve told them and use the basics of SEO; they’ll be creative participants who can help you create better content than you otherwise would have.
What’s Your Alternative to Hiring a Freelancer?
So, are you doomed to deal with freelancers or do it all yourself? Luckily, no!
Fractional content teams like People First Content combine the flexibility and low commitment of a freelancer with the stability of an in-house team. We only hire professional content creators. We perform quality control and oversight, so you don’t have to! And since we have a team, we combine our talents and specialties to be the complete package.
We go above and beyond to integrate ourselves into your team to help you craft a vision for your brand. Contact us today to see how People First Content can be your content answer.