Freelancers are the powerhouse of the content-driven economy. Our engaging words, designs, and social media wizardry grab attention and screen real estate, helping power a never-ending stream of fresh content.

However, a freelancer’s way of thinking may not be immediately apparent, even if you work with us regularly. And now that freelancers comprise a significant part of the labor force with 53 million people doing freelance work in the US alone, 34% on a national scale, it’s only natural for B2B to refresh workflows and accommodate this external creative resource.

To create a system of effective collaboration and communication—and keep B2B marketing projects flowing—recognize that we are entrepreneurs. Just like in a big brand, we are consistently scouting, and selling in a creation cycle with a variety of clients. Thanks to this perspective, we can write, design, and create in a way that markets you, too.

With a service-based business that provides deliverables, freelancers understand how to build nuanced marketing content that supports key messaging at each step of the buyer’s journey.

After you go through the effort of finding great freelancers, creating an effective content production process is imperative. To make collaboration with freelancers easier and more effective, understand the workflow from the freelancer’s perspective. Here’s what freelancers really want you to know:

10 Tips to Make Your Freelancers Love You

1. Define Clear Expectations

When you assign web content, marketing content, or design projects, include precise details, sources, and expectations up front. Freelancers are not always part of team meetings, so briefly provide the following to clarify assignments.:

  • Focus
  • Keywords
  • Buyer personas
  • Tone
  • Voice

We love to hit the ground running without the hand-holding. Provide thorough parameters from the outset to save time and facilitate high levels of production.

2. Give Us the Why

Freelancers work best when we understand why individuals want to buy your products and services. We motivate a target audience to make a purchase and create content that hits key motivators. If we know why your product or service is of value, we are better equipped to sell it to buyers.

3. Be Available to Answer Questions

Offer Q&A sessions via phone or video chat, especially for new or bigger assignments. Sometimes written requirements are simply not enough. Plan to exchange information in real-time to address questions and clarify details—before the start of a project if needed.

Also, consider including freelancers in informational meetings to manage issues and solidify requirements.

4. Points of Contact

Assign a point of contact within your team. In the content development process, many details can easily get confused or miscommunicated. When freelancers have a question, we want to feel that we have someone in the company who advocates for us, someone who can run interference and keep information flowing. Match freelance talent to an internal source who can act as the primary point person for whatever we need to get the job done.

Depending on resources, consider having more than one content management person for all freelancers to diffuse the workload and make sure freelancers are getting what they need to complete projects.

5. Quick Response Time

There’s nothing more frustrating than radio silence, especially when you are on a tight deadline. Do your best to communicate relevant and comprehensive responses within 24 hours.

Also, remember to leave corporate speak for teammates. We need clear answers to our questions because research is part of our creative process. Do your best to give direction without the jargon.

6. Reasonable Deadlines

Plan deadlines that are practical and fair. and always ask if something is feasible. As hired talent, we want to help in any way we can. However, we became freelancers to avoid the corporate drama. So keep us informed on timeline shifts, hang-ups, or other modifications that might derail deadlines. Ask if and how we can reasonably accommodate those changes.

7. Clarify the Editing Process

Honor a set limit of drafts and revisions based on the freelancer’s rates and contract. A freelancer will often offer a certain number of drafts and revisions for a quoted price. Respect their conditions.

Also, clarify the editing process between the internal team and freelancers, so everyone is on the same page. If a handful of team members need to participate in a content review, provide the freelancer with the final version of collective edits.

8. Regular Payment Schedule

Make payments according to a regular schedule that’s outlined and agreed upon between the brand and the freelancer. Whether you are doing a one-off project or consistent assignments, remember freelancers are piecing work together from various clients. We build budgets and have expenses, but like anywhere else, when a 30-day payment cycle turns into 90 without warning or reason, it’s hard to continue. If something comes up, let us know as soon as possible.

9. Feedback

Provide feedback on a freelancer’s performance, just like you would with any employee. Freelancing sometimes feels like working in a bubble, with no idea if the work is valuable and delivering results. Connect with freelancers at least once a quarter, even if it’s just to let us know you love our work or ask how the workflow may be improved.

10. Leverage Content Management Software

Content software is a valuable asset for consolidating communication and centralizing project changes and requirements. Most B2B manage several marketing campaigns simultaneously and have a variety of freelancers working to hit critical deadlines. Content management software provides information sharing between freelancers and the internal team. And it also provides a place to ask questions or track project progress. Such a tool is essential for simplifying communication and streamlining content development.

Although these suggestions appear simple, they can make a huge difference to freelancers.

What can you update in your workflow?

Katrina Pfannkuch

About Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch is a creativity consultant specializing in writing, editing, strategy & coaching. She's a bit of a data nerd & loves seeing how pieces of the informational puzzle come together to paint a creative picture. Catch Katrina & her insights on kick-starting creativity at @creativekatrina on Twitter.