#DearMegan Discusses How to Retain & Reward Your Top Freelance Writers

Twice a month, #DearMegan doles out some pretty rad writing and grammar advice via Periscope. Here's a transcript of her second broadcast.

Periscope Transcript, Issue 2

It’s that time again — time for another installment of Dear Megan. This is where we take the #DearMegan Periscope broadcasts and transcribe them into blog posts. Why? Because smart content marketers repurpose their content. It’s like the BOGO of content. Here’s the video from the broadcast:

And now, let’s get to it:

Hey everybody!

Dear Megan here. I’m managing editor at ClearVoice, a complete content marketing platform headquartered in Phoenix. Welcome, if you’re new out there! If you want to pose a question or make a comment, please do — just start typing in the “say anything” box.

Today we’re talking how to retain and reward your top freelance writers. If you work with freelancers regularly, you know it’s difficult to find reliable, wonderful freelancers who just take away your headaches, who make your life easy. When you do stumble across one of those gems, you want to keep them. We’re going to talk about how you can retain your favorite freelance writers.

Nos. 1 & 2: Money talks

Numbers one and two on my list make up about 80 percent of the equation here. It’s financial, right? That’s what’s driving this relationship — money. Which brings me to my first tip:

Pay them fairly. Pay them well. Now you might want to know, “Well, what’s fair to pay a freelance writer?” Last year, ClearVoice conducted a survey that asked our publishers and freelance writers what they’re paying for or what they’re getting paid for content. Here’s what we found: 40 percent of our respondents got paid between $100 and $300 per project. That’s slides right in with what I was going to recommend, which is about $150 a post. Almost half of the respondents, 47 percent of them, said that they made between $30 and $50 an hour. Now, if you’re paying people just $30 for 500 words, you going to get what you pay for, right? Go about $150 for a 750-word blog post. I think that that’s fair. Those are decent wages.

If you want to learn more about what our survey found, you can go check it out on the ClearVoice blog.

Number two on our list: Pay them promptly. Every freelancer has a horror story about waiting six months for payment or never receiving payment. The second best thing you can do is pay them promptly. I think two weeks is fair. Even better is immediate. If you use ClearVoice, for example, when an editor approves what a writer has submitted, the payment is immediate. It goes straight into their Paypal. Bam, done. Number one and number two: Pay them well, pay them promptly.

No. 3: R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Show respect for them. Show respect for their time. They’re not glorified secretaries, these freelancers. They do research. They have home lives. They have other clients. They have kids. They have PTA meetings. They’ve got spin class or Lord knows what. Be respectful of their time. Give them enough lead time. Be super clear in your expectations. Be super clear in your guidelines. Don’t just say, “Hey, give me 550 words on how to dig holes in the ground with this widget.” Give them more guidance than that. That way, they can turn around the content that you’re looking for. Develop a relationship with them. These are people, right? Yes! Ask them how they’re doing. Learn about them. They want to have that kind of relationship with you, too.Top Freelance Writers

No. 4: Provide them with a little stability

Here’s the deal with freelance writing careers: It’s hard to plan and to budget and to just live in general when you’re not sure what your income stream is going to look like a month down the road. If you know you have a certain amount of work coming up, jot them an email and let them know what’s coming down the pike. Anything you can do to help them plan is better for you. They’re going to appreciate that.

No. 5 & 6: Refer & promote them

Give them referrals. Help them get more work. Post a positive recommendation on LinkedIn. Let your colleagues and your co-workers know about them. Leave a positive review if they have their own writer website, and help them get more work. They would totally dig that, because again, it’s all financial, right?

Then in a related one, number six: Promote their work on your own social channels — this helps their career. They will appreciate if you, as a client, go ahead and give them some social love. Help them with their career. They’re going to love it.

Finally, No. 7: Give feedback & love

The final thing I have for you to help you reward and retain your best freelance writers: Provide them with feedback. Be constructive. They want to improve their craft. Nothing’s worse than submitting an article somewhere and you just never hear back. Maybe it was good. Maybe it was on the mark. Maybe it sucked. Who knows? Provide them with that feedback. Give them constructive criticism.

And while you’re at it, give them some praise. Give them some love. Everybody likes a little praise every now and then. This also feeds into develop a relationship with them. In the past, if I’ve loved someone’s lead, if it made me laugh out loud, I’ll send them an email, “Oh my gosh, this lead made me laugh right at my desk.” It takes 30 seconds. Tell them, “I love how you did A, B and C.” Let them know that they’re on the right track and doing the right thing.

Any questions?

Alright then, I’m going to close up shop. We do #DearMegan the first and third Tuesday at about 1 pm Pacific time. Again, I’m with ClearVoice. Go check out the ClearVoice platform at ClearVoice.com. See you next time!

Do you have any tips that #DearMegan missed? Share them in the comments below.

Tags: #DearMegan, content marketing, freelancers

Category: Writing
Megan Krause

About Megan

Megan Krause is the managing editor at ClearVoice, where she helps brands create great content and manage the content creation process. She also writes a regular writing and grammar column titled Dear Megan – ask her your burning questions @ClearVoice using #DearMegan, and follow her on Twitter.