As a freelance editor and writer, I’m sharing some insights here that will be useful for you. Whether you’ve taken on a new editorial role or have been editing for a while, these three tips are golden! Read on …
1. Give writers clear story briefs and feedback - The better your instructions to writers are when starting out on an assignment, the better the article submitted to you. Ensure your instructions are clear when first sending out the assignment to the writer. Clearly include the story slant/angle, what you want the reader to walk away with, how many words, do you want subheads, how many sources, do you need images, etc. Positively note the due date and word count, especially if it’s a quick turnaround. Include a writers checklist if needed if the article must be submitted in a certain format. Clarity and communication are key in building a long-term working relationship from both sides. Freelancers are like consultants – they can only work with the information you give them so providing that at the start is extremely helpful.
2. Show writers your appreciation when possible - No, that doesn’t mean gift cards and holiday surprises, although if you’re allowed to at work or that is something you like to do as an entrepreneur then you are more than welcome to. But a simple thank you for a great article, or appreciate the quick turnaround, or great job on this long form feature, whether over email or phone or however you communicate with your freelancers, would be music to their ears. Freelancing is a lonely job in most cases and not many freelancers hear a good word from their editors when stories are submitted so know that your words as the editor make a huge difference to their confidence, self-esteem, self-respect or just simply their work attitudes when you have something nice to provide as feedback. A holiday bonus or other appreciation gifts would be great if you deem it suitable.
3. Communicate with writers frequently if possible - This might not be an option for all editors given the workloads everyone deals with these days but if the opportunity presents itself then check in with your writers even after you assign them stories. Maybe a check in during the halfway mark to see if they have all their research and resources and if you can help in any way would be a nice gesture. Or maybe a little closer to deadline to say you know the article is due soon and if they are on track. And after a story is submitted or even published to let them know you appreciate working with them or even better, you have another assignment for them to work on!
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