Photo of a pink haired content writer working with pen and paper at her desk in derby

There’s nothing worse than outsourcing your writing to a freelancer, or agency, and the finished piece being nothing like you had imagined.


A copywriter on a typewriter writing about outsourcing

There are several reasons why this might turn out to be the case – poor communication, poor understanding, or even just a poor writer to begin with!

There, I said it. There are poor writers out there.

It’s essential when you outsource any writing to a freelancer that you have a vision in your mind of what the finished copy or content will look like.

You see, that’s part of the problem.

Quite often I’ll get a client come to me saying ‘I want a blog on x topic’.

OK. Seems simple enough, right?

Until you stop to consider that the topic in question is pretty huge.

So, you ask ‘any particular part you want me to focus on?’ – ‘not really, just a blog that tells people we offer it’…

If you’re going to be vague with your copywriter, or blogger, or content marketer – you’re going to get broad pieces of writing back as a result.

They’re not going to be specific to you, to your business, or suitable for why you commissioned the copy in the first place.

And you will be disappointed.

A road sign saying disappointment road to avert the dangers of outsourcing without planning

So here are my unconventional tips for outsourcing your writing to a freelancer – or are they?

Know what you want them to do

  • What’s the purpose of the writing?
  • Where is it going to end up?
  • Who’s going to be reading it, and what do you want your audience to do after reading it?

Once you understand those questions, you’ll be able to brief your writer on what you actually need – rather than what you think you need.

If you're not sure how to pinpoint your target audience, check out my free worksheet that'll guide you through the process.

Provide a very specific brief

Now you know what you want your writer to do, be specific in briefing them.

  • How many words
  • what are the keywords
  • what’s the tone and language

A good copywriter will ask those questions before they even start writing, but if you can go directly to the writer with a clear and direct brief – the process will run much more smoothly.

Picture of a competent and experienced content writer in Derb holding a screen with business terms jumping off the screen

Respect your copywriter’s experience

This one can be difficult, no-one knows your business like you, right?

Except, you’ve outsourced for a reason, and that reason is more than likely because you’re not sure how to write marketing copy, or a blog article, or social media content.

So, if the finished product isn’t quite what you expected – listen to the reasons why.

Perfect English grammar doesn’t work online, and who goes on social media to be lectured to?

Make sure you double check the 'scope of work'

Unless you have an on-going arrangement with a writer (in which case, you’re probably more than happy and have no need to be reading this!), you should be receiving a scope of work outlining:

  • what will be written
  • the time it’ll take
  • things they need you to do
  • and how many revisions you can expect.

This is the time to be asking questions, and ensuring that you’ll get what you want at the end of the it.

Make sure you’re aware of what the writer needs you to do, and that you deliver it in plenty of time. Failure to do so can mean your project gets put on hold, and deadlines potentially missed.

Be aware that you’re not their sole client

A good writer is like gold dust, so expect them to have a busy schedule.

That means your emails might not get answered straight away – they’re working on other projects, and they’re not going to drop everything you get your work done first (unless you pay them a handsome rush fee).

I don’t know why, but a lot of people really do seem to think that writers are sat waiting at their Victorian writing bureau with a quill pen in hand ready to start work as soon as they snap their fingers.

The reality is we’re business owners like everyone else, and we have a thousand and one tasks to be getting on with too.

Picture of a female copywriter using a typewriter in Derby

You get what you pay for

It can be tempting to cut costs and opt for a cheap freelancing website like Fiverr, or People Per Hour, but you really do get what you pay for.

A 500 word blog for £5?

Sounds great, but that writer is going to have to write 10 blogs or articles per day to make a living out of it.

Writing 10 blogs per day means no time for effective research, keyword analysis, or even well written copy.

Yes, there are some great writers out there who are getting started and building up their portfolio, but the norm is often content mills, rehashed content, and sometimes even plagiarism.

If you’re not sure what you should be paying for a copywriter, check out this guide from the Professional Copywriter’s Network – you might be surprised!

Listen, don’t be put off thinking that hiring a professional writer is more trouble than it’s worth… good copy and content is far more valuable than the price tag it comes with.

It is worth taking the time to get things right, and building a great working relationship with your copywriter.

To find out more about the writing services I offer, click here and get in touch a friendly chat.

About the Author Zoe Hughes

Zoe is an experienced content writer specialising in the health and wellness sector. Zoe now combines her writing skills with marketing and search engine optimisation to provide a complete content marketing solution to her clients.

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