Hiring a freelance writer

Everyone has individual parameters for hiring a freelance writer.  Audiences are almost always specific, and a writer who excels at crafting speeches for senior executives may not have the requisite technical knowledge to create a software manual.

However, there is one thing that makes a freelance writer effective from your very first meeting with them: asking questions and really listening to the answers you give.

Sounds basic, doesn’t it?  But writers often like to talk even more than they like to write.  When presented with the opportunity to display their cleverness, they have a hard time passing it up.  It isn’t all about ego – a freelancer often wants to reassure you.  You’ve hired the right person for the job.  You are in good hands.  Never fear, this writer is so smart the stakeholders you are communicating with will be bowled over by the writer’s convincing way with words.

These well-meaning phrases that roll trippingly off the tongue can be a rabbit hole, however.  Valuable time can be lost while the writer goes haring off in various creative, possibly entertaining, but ultimately wrong directions.

So, the writer needs to give you the room to speak first.  They should ask questions and really listen.  Their follow-up questions should indicate that listening and be designed to elicit the core of the business problem you are hiring them to solve.  Only after you have talked for some time should the writer start making statements and offering up the beginnings of the scaffold of your new communications plan.

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