What You Should Be Looking For When Hiring Freelance Talent

Throughout my career, I have both been a freelancer, and have worked with various freelancers, initially in my role as director of corporate communications/marketing in the education, energy and healthcare industries and, since 2008, as owner of my own content marketing firm, Strategic Communications.  I have also researched and written a few blog posts on the topic, including input from other sources who have worked with freelancers:

Freelancers can be a great way to augment your own in-house resources or an option for companies that have no internal resources. Since the pandemic, the number of freelancers has been growing exponentially. Not all, of course, are equally qualified. So what should you be looking for/looking out for as you consider bringing freelancers on board to help with various marketing tasks?
While the skills needed will vary depending on the type of freelancer being hired – e.g., a content writer, a graphic designer, a web developer, a videographer, etc., in addition to looking for individuals who have the specific job-related skills necessary for the role, there are also some additional attributes that are important to look for when hiring freelancers, based on my experience.
These include:

The ability to think strategically.

When I hire and work with freelancers, I don’t want just individuals who will look to me to tell them specifically what I want them to do and how to do it. In fact, even if I were to ask them produce a blog post, for instance, I’m always impressed when they step back to seek additional information about the target audience, the objectives, the competition, etc., and then perhaps even offer additional, or alternative, ideas about the type of content that might be best. In other words, I don’t want freelancers who just “do tasks.” I want freelancers who think about the big picture, understand well how their work fits into the big picture, and can deliver whatever it is they’re providing in a way that aligns with and supports the entire communication plan and corporate objectives.

The ability to connect with and compel an audience to some desired action.

This is somewhat embedded in the comment above but I think it’s foundational for most of the work any freelancer will do. They really need to be adept at understanding the company’s goal, the audience they are trying to influence and then creating content that will meet that audience’s needs and compel them to some desired action – whether that is simply believing something about the organization and its products or services, or placing an order.

The ability to work collaboratively with others.

No freelancer works within a vacuum – whatever their role, they need to be able to effectively communicate with, and collaborate with, others. That might include their client contact at the organization, the actual client, as well as other individuals who are contributing toward the finished product – writers, designers, SEO experts, etc.

A focus on results.

When I work with freelancers I want them to be interested in and focused on generating desired results. I want them to care about whether what they produced made a difference, achieved goals, could be improved in some way, etc. And I want them to be more focused on those results than they might be on their own profession’s aesthetic ideals, awards, etc. It really doesn’t matter much if a piece is expertly designed if the results don’t meet expectations.
What skills are you looking for when hiring freelancers?

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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Recommended Reading:

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR

Managing Remote Staff

Direct Mail in the Digital Age

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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