Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to hire a freelance writer to handle your website content needs. Keeping your content up-to-date and adding new content on a regular basis can help you rank for your preferred keywords and help you attain a high page rank in Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other search engines. However, there are a few things you should never include in your article directions.
1. You Understand that I Can Post This Under My Name…
Freelance writers sell full rights unless otherwise stated. This means that once you purchase the content, it is yours to do with as you see fit. You can edit it, add your name as the creator and spin it. The content is entirely yours and the freelance writer does not retain any rights after payment has been made.
2. Must Be Grammatically Correct
Freelance writers understand this and would never knowingly hand you content that is grammatically incorrect. The best case scenario here is that your freelance writer realizes that you may have had one or more bad experiences on extremely cheap content sites where you got a new or inexperienced writer that handed you a few pieces of content with subject/verb disagreements or that you are new to the world of content creation. The worst case scenario is that your freelance writer thinks you may be a nitpicky asshole. If the latter is suspected, your freelancer has two choices. They can politely decline your content or triple their rates in anticipation of many many time-consuming revision requests.
3. I Will Reject the Content IF…
No matter how you finish this sentence, it’s a bad thing. If you are already thinking about rejecting the content your writer is about to create for you, you’re in the wrong mindset. Clients typically use this phrasing when they are extremely frustrated and have been handed numerous pieces of content that needed extreme editing or were completely unusable. These types of scenarios typically happen on very cheap content sites where you are paying less than a penny a word. While that makes the content extremely affordable, it doesn’t allow your content writer to spend much time on your content.
At 500 words at .01 cents a word, your writer is getting paid $5 at most. You’ll be lucky if your writer spent 10 minutes on your content. This means that it doesn’t get researched. It doesn’t get spell checked. They’re not going to run it through Grammarly. You may get a plagiarism check by the content site, but that’s all you’re going to get, and the reason is simple. Your article was one of 20 that the writer had to complete that day in order to meet their financial quota, and they won’t have time to complete any revisions. Instead, they’ll throw your article back in the queue and keep moving forward on other pieces that may be accepted on sight.
4. I Hated My Last Writer(s)
If you hated your last writer or writers, there’s a good chance you’re going to hate your next writer. There are a couple reasons for this. The first reason is that you went to an extremely cheap content site. Content sites that only pay their writers a penny or less per word tend to attract new writers. While these sites are a great way for new freelancers to gain experience, they also often result in content that needs heavily edited, which can result spending more time on the content than you would have liked. If you don’t mind this, by all means, give a new freelancer a shot. They really do need to buildup their skills. If doing this resulted in hating the writer, I’d recommend paying a little more for a more experienced freelancer.
The second reason is that you have extreme requirements or unrealistic expectations. Content writers are not mind-readers. They’re going to strive to give you high-quality content that is SEO optimized for your industry and business location. If your directions have a lot of details, there’s a good chance your writer is going to miss one of those details, and it won’t be on purpose. As I said, most freelancers will do their best to hand you an article you can immediately post to your website.
5. Your Directions Are Longer than the Piece of Content
If you need a 500 word article, and you have three Google documents, a detailed outline, a list of Do’s and Don’t’s and formatting requirements, you’re going to have a hard time finding a writer. The only writers that take these pieces of content are the ones writing content at $1 to $2 a word. That’s $500 to $1,000 per blog post or content article. This is because it may take your writer a day to go through all of your requirements before they can even begin writing it. Then, it may take another day to write and check the content against your requirements and directions. That’s a lot of time to spend on one article, and most content writers can’t afford to do that for $50 or even $150.
6. You Used Expletives in Your Directions
I’ve seen content order directions with expletives, and I move right along to the next order when I see it. The best case scenario is that your freelancer simply thinks you are unprofessional. The worst case scenario is that your writer thinks you are a nasty son-of-a-bitch that is going to make any type of working relationship a living nightmare. Most freelancers are going to avoid writing anything that has expletives in the directions. Any writer you might get is going to be desperate for the money, so much so that they are willing to take a chance on what might be a very bad client.
7. Your Timeframe Is Unrealistic
Unrealistic timeframes are another reason freelancers pass on writing certain pieces of content. Most freelancers I know can’t get to a piece of content within 24 hours. Their schedules are already full for at least the next day and possibly the next two days. For this reason, all content should have a minimum of 48 and 72 hours for the completion deadline. After that, 24 hours should be added for every additional 500 words after the first 500. This means that if you have a 1,500-word article, you should give the writer between 96 and 120 hours or four to five days. Timeframes that are shorter than that usually require a rush fee due to the freelancer having to move other clients articles further into the week or to cram more content into a day than they would really prefer due to the risk of brain fry or churning out content that may have unintentional errors.
8. You Used Obnoxious Colors in Your Directions
Directions for content articles should be colored black. If you have something that you want to make sure your writer doesn’t miss, you can bold it. What you shouldn’t do is highlight it in yellow, red or any other color or change the color of the text. This can make you appear rude and/or render the text unreadable. If you really feel like you must use a different color to highlight very important areas of your directions, I would suggest using dark blue or dark green, but again, I caution against changing the text color to any other color other than black.
9. I Can’t Wait to See Your First Draft
Professional freelance writers don’t submit drafts as a general rule. What you receive when the writer submits your content is a complete article, webpage or blog post that you are free to use immediately upon rendering payment. Submitting an obvious draft version is considered a waste of your time and the writer’s time. The exception to this is if the content is extremely technical or niche. The writer may want you to look at it to make sure they are on the right track and to avoid any unnecessary revisions or the need for a complete article rewrite, which can result in delays.
10. Must Not Contain Any Fluff
What’s your definition of fluff? The term Fluff varies greatly between writers and clients. Some clients consider fluff to be connecting words and words that are meant to improve the flow and readability of the content. Writers tend to consider fluff to be large sections that are off-topic or contain a lot of internal monologue type content, but this depends on the tone of your blog or website. If every blog on your site contains a section about your day or your random thoughts before getting to the topic, your writer is going to emulate that, but most of us consider that fluff.
11. Must Be Perfect
This is code for nitpicky and unrealistic expectations. Every freelancer wants you to have the best possible content for your website, and they want the content to be immediately usable and useful. Freelancers, however, are not perfect. That’s part of the human condition. We strive for perfection, but we are not perfect. If you know you are going to get upset over a typo, or that your freelancer doesn’t have telepathic abilities, you might be better off writing that content yourself and saving yourself some money in the process.
If you avoid doing these things in your content directions, you will be much more likely to have your order accepted by the freelance writer and get that content in a timely manner. Not to mention, you’ll start off on a professional footing and be more likely to work with each other in the future.