Here’s Why Your Freelance Writer Won’t Produce Perfect Stuff (And How to Fix That)
By Felicity Kay,
CEO of All This Content
If I had a penny for every time I heard someone (hey, my past-self included) complain about their writers not supplying a perfect, finished product, I would be so rich that I wouldn’t need to work (and you wouldn’t be reading this post).
The fact of the matter is, there’s a reason that writers – both in-house and when you hire freelance writers online – will probably never supply you with that perfect, finished product – because actually, it’s not their job to.
Yes. I stand by what I said – it’s not a writer’s job to supply you with a perfect, finished end-product. And that goes for both outsource blog writing and in-house hires.
It’s an editor’s job instead.
It’s Not You, It’s Them: You Need to Hire Blog Writer and Editor
I’ll preface this by saying that I’m personally a skilled –
- Content writer
…and that these three skills, while vastly different from one another, can and occasionally do fall into place together.
But, that’s the exception, not the rule: it’s never a good idea for me, as a writer, to edit my own work (with the depth needed). The same goes for me, as an editor, should never be writing something that I’ll later be editing. I’m just not an objective audience, and I’m too close to what I’ve written/edited to think ‘differently’ or objectively about the piece at hand.
This also goes for any writers for hire (on in-house writers) you want to work with: the vast majority of them, no matter how much they tell you otherwise, will fall strongly into one – and only one – category: they are a skilled content writer, copywriter OR content writer, and not more than one of these (for example – I’m a better writer than I am an editor. I’m still a skilled editor, but I know that my preferred talents lie in writing).
Sure, maybe they’re highly skilled at one of these roles, and are sort of ok in the other one or two, but as far as being super-skilled across all three? You should be suspicious.
This is because editors and writers have incredibly different mindsets, creative processes and outlooks when it comes to working with written pieces.
What do I mean by that, you ask?
Writers and editors have two completely separate identities and personalities. Unless you hire a blog writer with an incredibly adaptable mindset and ability to entirely detach themselves from what they’ve written, you’re either looking at some very expensive, very high-quality outsource blog writing, or you need to look further into their skill set more closely.
Think about it like this: writers for hire need to be –
They possess more outgoing qualities (well, in their writing, anyway). They know how to entertain their reader and push them to take action.
Editors, on the other hand, need to be –
..to name but a few qualities. They’re much more insular (in their work, at least), and can tell you exactly what’s wrong with – for example – a sentence or turn of phrase, and why it doesn’t flow with the rest of the outsource blog writing operation (including the goals, the funnel, and yes – the content produced), but when it comes down to sitting and writing something themselves – nada.
Unless you know someone who fits every single one of the above-mentioned qualities to a T, you can already see that you’re looking for two very different people.
Personally, as a writer-editor, it hurts my brain having to ‘make the switch’ between writing and editing (and vice versa). Of course, I have days where I like to be more creative and write my heart out. I have days where I like to see how other writers for hire have achieved the same, and then perfect what they’ve provided. But I’m happy to acknowledge that I’m an anomaly.
Given everything, I’ve just explained above, it should be more obvious that when you hire a blog writer, whether your hire freelance writers online or in-house, you really need to hire an editor alongside, who’ll finish the job.
Editors vs Writers: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Writing Process
When trying to explain the differences between writers and editors – their working methods, and even their working relationship with others – I find it helpful to explain how they both contribute to the writing process, as it’s a such a granular, specific process that most non-writers and non-editors don’t really know the extent of.
Here’s how a good writer and editor should theoretically work together:
- The writer receives the information from the client (or, as we do it in ATC, the client discusses their requirements with their Account Manager, who then briefs the writer), asks for any missing information, and begins drafting their work.
- The writer reads around the subject, gathering any and every bit of information they can find: seeing what’s worked with their client’s competitors, and thinks about how they can make their own piece even more exciting, better and more impacting for users and/or SEO/ whatever the purpose of the piece is.
- The writer writes when they feel motivated (because there’s nothing worse than trying to force it when you’re feeling anything but motivated and creative) and that they have enough information – they write their heart out, and finally, once they’re finished – they let it all go. They feel triumphant. They send their work to the editor.
- The editor checks the brief the writer/Account Manager sent over. They give the submitted piece of work a quick look over, to see if it matches the brief’s specifications exactly.
- Once the editor is satisfied, they begin the editing process, going paragraph by paragraph, line by line and even word by word, checking for –
- At a basic level, spelling, punctuation and grammar
- At a medium level – fact-checking any assertions or unbacked up information/claims
- At an advanced level – the flow of the piece, and constantly checking if what is in front of them is clear enough and makes sense, both in the context of the piece, but also in each individual sentence
- Once they’ve gone through the entire piece in this way, they move onto something else, and return to it later for one final check over.
- Once the editor is satisfied, they return it to the client/Account Manager.
Aside from all of the varying skillsets, you should notice a stark difference in the way that editors and writers operate and do their jobs:
|Writers are –||Editors are –|
…to put it mildly, a writer is an artist, and editor is a scientist.
Writers have to build, they have to embellish and enliven, while editors have to destroy. They have to cut. They have to fine-tune what the writer has already produced…and make it sparkle.
In the All This Content office, we have three posters proudly hanging from our walls –
- I write better than I talk
- You can always fix crap – you can’t fix a blank page
- Write without fear; edit without mercy
The last one really exemplifies the differences between writers and editors – writers have to write without the fear of writing crap; editors have to edit as if their life depends on it – and yes, sometimes turn absolute ‘crap’ into something amazing and useful – we call this ‘spinning crap into gold’.
Obviously, prevention is better than the cure, and having a better quality of writer/a better briefing/a more communicative client will always make both the writer’s and the editor’s job easier – but even so, writers are there to produce something almost-finished – an editor is there to make the writer’s work into a piece of semi-perfect art.
Top Notch Outsource Blog Writing: How to Hire a Blog Writer and Editor (In Just One Click)
So this all begs the question – just how do you hire a blog writer and editor? (just finding someone to get your outsource blog writing done was a massive hassle alone…)
Here’s your answer: All This Content will do it all for you.
Here at All This Content, I strove to build something that I lacked when working in content marketing: getting everything I needed from my content, with an absolute minimum of fuss. I was a busy lady, and somehow, content production (when using an outsource blog writing company or when I would hire a blog writer) would slow me down, and I’d end up doing it all myself.
I personally ensure our clients that their work will be beautifully written and skillfully edited. While nobody’s perfect, and there will always be a gap between what different people consider as ‘perfect’, we get pretty close to it.
Give us a whirl. We don’t bite, but we do produce pretty amazing high-quality, beautifully edited content.