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Tips for Outsourcing to a Writing Firm

March 30, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 94

Contracting a writing firm or a freelance writer has specific requirements of which you'll want to be aware if you want a successful outsourcing experience. Before you even begin your search for a writing firm, make sure you know what to expect:

  • View a portfolio. Most writers have vastly different writing styles and different areas of expertise, so ask to look at an online portfolio, or webfolio, or hard copies of writing samples. Make sure you have samples of the type of writing for which you are looking. For example, if you are contracting a writing firm to write a press release, be sure that you are provided with samples of press releases. Read the samples thoroughly, so you can get a feel for the writer's style and whether you would like to further discuss working with the writer or the company.
  • Check references. Find out what current and previous clients think of the writing firm you are considering contracting. If possible, talk with the client via email or phone to determine whether the experience was a successful one and whether he would work with the writing firm again. Many businesses also feature a testimonials page on their websites, where they post comments from current and former clients about their experiences.
  • Start small. Rather than immediately contracting a company to complete a significant writing project or an ongoing writing task, start with a small project. Starting small will allow you to determine whether you and the company, and the writer in particular, work well together, whether the writer's style meshes with your own business's style and goals, and whether the writer meets deadlines. Starting small is better than jumping right in with a huge project then finding out the business relationship, for one reason or another, just isn't going to work.You should never, however, ask a writing firm or a writer to complete a small assignment for free, something that is frowned upon in the writing industry.
  • Create a project description. It's essential that the writer know exactly what the project, whether it's a one-time project or an ongoing task, entails. For example, if you are hiring a writing firm to write a monthly newsletter, what do you expect from the writer? How many pages will the newsletter encompass? Will the writing firm be responsible for layout and design or just the writing? How will topics be decided: Will you provide the writer with a list of article topics each issue, or will the writer come up with topics that you then approve? What is the deadline for the newsletter to be completed each month?In addition, find out how many revisions the writing firm includes with each project. For example, if you're not happy with a feature article the writer crafted on your small business, will she revise it for you? Most writers offer limited revisions - often two or three - without charging.Knowing exactly what you expect from a project and letting the writer know what you expect will ensure a much smoother outsourcing experience. It will also allow a writing firm to better gauge how much time will be involved and how much to charge for a specific task.
  • Know who will be working on your project. You must know exactly who will be undertaking your writing projects, so ask beforehand and get samples from that writer. Some writing firms undertake projects then outsource those projects to other writers, often non-native English speakers who work for very low rates, to make a higher profit. Unfortunately, the end product is often vastly different than the original writing samples, which could result in a nightmare for you.
  • Price matters. Keep that old adage "you get what you pay for" in mind when you're hiring a writing firm for your writing needs. A bargain price doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to get quality. Professionals generally charge the going market rates, but many will negotiate within reason. Be willing to pay a fair market rate; review portfolio samples; and make sure you know who is actually going to be working on your project whether you're hiring a writing firm or an individual writer.
  • Originality is essential. Plagiarism, or even the claim of plagiarism, can have disastrous consequences on your business's reputation, which makes it even more important to ensure you are working with a reputable freelancer or writing firm.
  • Be prepared to pay a deposit. Writers and businesses often require a deposit before work begins. For larger projects, you and the writing firm may set up project milestones. When you reach a milestone and the writer fulfills her portion of the project, you will pay a part of the total project fee. Working with milestones, especially with larger projects, will give you confidence that the project is getting done on schedule.

Regardless of what type of task you are outsourcing, be sure to have a contract signed by both you and the business before work begins. A contract is a safety cushion with which you can not afford to be without.

Beth Williams, founder of Creative Inklings, Inc, is a full-time writer and published author who has helped small business owners grow and market their businesses for nearly a decade. She has written hundreds of online and offline articles, ebooks, audio scripts, web site reviews, web content, newsletters, press releases, and more. At Creative Inklings, Inc., we use our years of professional writing, editing, and small business experience to work for your small business. Please visit to learn more.

Source: EzineArticles
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