By Katrina Olson
So you’ve decided to hire a freelancer. You’ve found someone with the right skill set, experience and talent to be a real asset to your team. You’re about to assign their first project. But wait. Are you sure you’re ready?
When freelancers aren’t given the direction, parameters and resources for a project, they often assume, guess or spend time chasing down information—all of which will end up costing you more time, money and frustration.
Before handing over that assignment, be sure you know and can provide the following information:
- Company Description – Don’t assume they know everything you know about the company. A good freelancer will do their homework, but you can fill in the blanks.
- Competition – What alternatives are customers using? Tell them about your company’s key competitors.
- Project Background – How did the need for this project arise? Why did the company choose to hire a freelancer?
- Product/Service – What is being discussed or promoted in this communication?
- Target Audience – Who is the communication talking to? Provide target audience or segment data.
- Customer Profile – Provide a profile of one or several typical customers and buyer personas if you have them.
- Reference Material – Provide web page links, brochures, proposals, presentations, or ads to help the freelancer fully understand the product’s features and benefits.
- Marketing Goal/Objective – What broader company goal does this piece address? What does the company want to acquire, expand or retain?
- Problem – What problem does the subject matter solve or address for the customer? Explain how the product, service, or company makes the customer’s job or life easier.
- Brand Position – What does the target audience think of your company or brand, especially regarding the product? Share what you know about customers’ perceptions.
- Brand Promise – What can you offer the target audience? Share the one or two qualities that make people want to do business with you.
- Communication Objectives – What should the target audience think, feel or do as a result of this message? Explain how you will define success.
- Challenges – What barriers or challenges does the brand, product or service currently face? Share some of your past issues or problems promoting it.
Creative (Message/Design) Strategy
- Proposition or Selling Idea/Key Message – What is the most important piece of information you want the target audience to know?
- Consumer Insight – What do we know about the target audience that might affect the copy or visuals? Also consider the target audience’s dislikes or objections.
- Support – Why should the audience believe us? Provide facts, expertise, or research–both rational and emotional–to support your claims.
- Creative Direction – Should the tone be helpful, educational, expert, persuasive, formal, or friendly? Should the outcome to be similar to past efforts or something different?
- Mandatories – What logo, photos, website, images, taglines, visuals or other content must be included? Don’t impose too many restrictions, but outline what’s expected.
- Media Imperatives – Where will the message appear? Share up front if and how the project will be adapted for digital, social media, broadcast, print, and internal media.
- Mechanical Parameters – How long or what size should the message be and in what format? Be clear about all future adaptations.
- Metrics/Evaluation – In what way, and how often, will success be evaluated? While this may not seem relevant to your freelancer, it may affect how he or she approaches the project.
This seems like a lot of work—and it is. But this strategic thinking should precede any marketing effort. Working through these questions will certainly help your freelancers, as well as help you develop and execute more effective marketing programs.
Olson is a marketing and public relations consultant, and principal of Katrina Olson Strategic Communications. She has written for tED magazine’s print edition since 2005, judged tED magazine’s Best of the Best Competition since 2006, and emceed the Best of the Best Awards ceremony for a total of seven years. She can be reached at Katrina@katrinaolson.comor via her website at katrinaolson.com.
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