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How to hire freelance marketing talent

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Whether you are in a bind or in need of specific (temporary) expertise, hiring a freelancer can help fill a void for any marketing team. With more and more people turning to the contract work lifestyle, the availability and options for freelancers are not only plentiful, but can also be overwhelming.

Given that in 2020 alone, there were 59 million people doing freelance work in the US, it’s suffice to say that you have many options! We’re here to help. If you are stuck trying to figure out who to choose for your next project, here are a few tips to get you started. 

Three tips for selecting a freelancer

Freelance worker interview

Confession: We’ve hired freelancers in the past. Most often we pull in former colleagues who we’re certain can deliver marketing content to our standards.

But sometimes, we need to work with someone new. In those cases, we have a specific process we follow to help determine who best to hire. Here’s some tips from our past experiences, that will aid you in finding the best freelancer:

  1. Understand your overall budget – The costs for hiring a freelance worker runs all across the board. From websites that offer contract work for pennies on the dollar, all the way up to individuals who are running their own freelance businesses and charge higher hourly rates, you can find someone to fit any budget.

    To give you an idea, according to Indeed, freelance graphic designers earn an average of $26.32 per hour, whereas freelance writers earn $19.26 per hour. The biggest caution we can give is that you will always get what you pay for. Yes, you can get some down and dirty work for $30, but it will more than likely require more work from your team on the backend to make usable.

    When looking at your project budget and how much you are willing to pay a freelancer, look at the whole picture, including how much time your team might be putting into editing or reviewing the contracted work.

  2. Start with referrals – When looking to hire a temporary worker, start with the same process you would when hiring a new employee. This often means reaching out to your network for referrals and suggestions. If given recommendations, make sure to also get feedback on your connection’s experience with the freelancer, their overall feedback on the project, and any samples they can (or feel comfortable to) provide.

    If your connections come up dry, there are different online marketplaces and portfolio sites you can check out (like Upwork and Toptal) . Another option is to post the job on LinkedIn, Indeed, or other job boards. Lastly, don’t be afraid to use social media (especially Twitter) to increase your reach to potential freelance workers.

  3. Match style and need – Most importantly is the style of writing and the culture-fit (even short term!) of who you select. Don’t make your selection based off of the hourly rate or their technical skills alone.

    Think of this person similar to how you would a prospective employee – do they fit both the team and the project? In addition to their personality and work style, look at recent references, how they communicate, if they show interest in your organization, and even how their time zone might impact the work (check out this comprehensive list for more considerations).

    It is not uncommon to be in a time crunch when looking for freelance help, but try not to panic. Investing time up front to select the right fit for your project will pay off in the long run and potentially lead to a resource that you can use time and time again.

 Kick-off that project correctly

You found the right freelancer for your project – terrific! Once all the paperwork has been filled out and you are ready to start, onboarding is your key to project success. Ensure that your new freelancer has all the background information on the project, including creative briefs, assets, schedules and timing expectations. Also, make sure they have a single point of contact they can go to with questions, and work with on rounds and edits.

The more work you put up front to ensure the freelancer has everything they need, the more successful your project will be overall.

Remember, there are times when the contract worker ends up just not working out, but don’t let that discourage you. There are many organizations out there that use freelancers with great success! Do a post-mortem to understand where it might have gone wrong and try again. All new processes (freelance hiring included) take some time to work out the kinks.

Want some contract help but are feeling shy or unsure how to get started? We can help! Fill out our contact form explaining your needs and try out our team!