So you've made the decision to outsource your legal copywriting or SEO content writing to a legal writer. Legal writers are adept at completing research, writing blogs specific to individual states and locations, and providing detailed information to the audiences who need it most - your prospective clients.
But there are a couple of mistakes that you might make in the process of outsourcing to a legal blog writer that could compromise your relationship entirely. Avoid these four mistakes to ensure that you have a content marketing strategy that's working hard on your behalf, while also maintaining a positive and professional relationship with your blog writer.
Treating Him or Her Like an Employee
Most freelancers are independent contractors, not just in the sense that they fill out a W9 for you and receive a 1099 at the end of the year, but also because they prefer the freedom and flexibility of working from home or another location.
You're probably familiar with the fact that there are several things you can't do with independent contractors as a result, such as dictating their work schedule or controlling the terms under which they complete the work.
Be careful as many attorney and legal blog writer relationships can edge far too close on employer and employee, which could lead to lawsuits or claims that you misclassified the worker as an independent contractor when he or she should have been an employee. Aside from the legal implications, it's a good idea to establish solid boundaries with the freelancer and expect him or her to do their work professionally because it makes for a better and stronger relationship based on mutual respect and communication skills.
Provide Too Many Guidelines
Giving 15 pages of guidelines to a legal blog writer is likely to lead to a declined offer to work together. In the past I've received offers of work from clients who went into so much detail that they were practically telling me what words to write and in what order.
This removes all the creativity from the process and frankly it's not the reason why most people got into writing as a professional freelancer to begin with. It's okay to have some source of directions and ideas in mind but try not to be overwhelming so as to push people away.
Providing No Direction
Just as you can go too far and micro-manage someone's work, so too can you fail to provide enough information. If the legal content writer is experienced in his or her field, they might be willing to offer the development of a content calendar for you or a content marketing strategy. This will help to provide direction to the relationship and the overall purpose of the blogs being posted on your site. Far too many freelancer and client relationships fall apart because of misunderstood expectations. This often boils down to poor communication.
Make sure that you discuss pertinent details upfront, such as topics you like, topics you don’t like, length of the blogs and any other details like pictures and insight links that should be added at the end of the process. If you ask for too many of these after the fact and your freelancer had a different understanding of what you wanted, they’re probably going to want to renegotiate the contract based on what they see as new requirements from your end.
Fail to Pay Them on Time
Most attorneys are familiar with contracts, but freelancers are getting increasingly savvy about including late payment terms in their own contracts. You could be on the hook for a percentage of the amount due or a flat fee if you pay the invoice late.
Make sure that you discuss payment and invoice terms upfront, as well as other key issues like how many rounds of revision you might get with a particular freelancer. Paying freelancers late not only potentially violates your existing contract but makes freelancers angry and less likely to want to continue working with you.
Verify that you understand how you'll be receiving invoices and have an established payment system in place. For those without a bookkeeper or a software program, setting aside a particular date each week to review invoices can help if you're working with numerous independent contractors. These are just a handful of the mistakes that you might make in working with a freelance blog writer.
Have you encountered any other challenges in outsourcing to freelancers?