How to onboard external content creators in your company

17 November 2022
3 minutes

Outsourcing content creation is an integral part of any scale-up’s marketing strategy. And there are so many good reasons to work with freelance talent

Yet, to get the most out of your collaboration, successful onboarding is crucial. You want your freelancers to be able to speak convincingly in your brand’s voice and make an impact with your target groups. That starts with immersing them in your product, your company and your industry.

To onboard external content creators is one of our main priorities when connecting our clients with the creatives in our global talent pool. Below, we share the best ways for getting your collaboration with freelancers off to a healthy start.

In this blog, we cover: 

  • How effective onboarding enables your freelancers to produce better content.
  • Top tactics for establishing a strong working relationship with freelancers.
  • Ideas for getting freelancers up to speed with your company’s brand and products.

Make contact

It sounds obvious, but still so many companies lack direct contact with the freelance talent that’s creating their content. That’s because traditional talent agencies put up a brick wall between you and the creatives: all communication filters through the project manager, and you may not even know your content creator’s name or background.

In our experience, interacting directly with your talent is fundamental for creating effective content. In fact, our content creators often tell us that interacting directly with the client motivates them to go the extra mile on their projects.

That’s why step one to onboard external content creators is simply to interact directly with your creatives. To make that happen, we always do the following: 

  • Vet talent in the first place to make sure their background is a match for your company, product and industry.
  • Hold a kick-off call where everyone gets to meet, introduce themselves, ask questions and exchange ideas.
  • Promote direct interaction on every project between you and the freelancers with the messaging feature on your platform.
  • Host regular feedback sessions and brainstorms.

Set expectations when you onboard external content creators

During your initial contact with freelancers, it’s important to make clear what you expect of them. Be sure to explain key aspects of your content strategy including when you onboard external content creators: 

  • Your content marketing goals.
  • Your target groups.
  • The types of content you want to create.
  • Your quality standards.

In our experience, the best way to describe your quality standards is to give examples. Provide your freelancers with links to content that you like (for example, a past blog or social post of yours that has generated a lot of engagement, or a competitor’s piece that’s made it to the Zero Position on Google).

Also show them examples of content that you don’t like, whether it’s old content that you’re trying to phase out on your company’s own channels, or styles and tactics that are off-brand for your company.

For some ideas on creating even better content while working with freelancers, check out our blog post on improving the quality and performance of your content.

Define roles when you onboard external content creators​

Similar to setting expectations, it’s also useful to have a conversation at the beginning where you explain to your freelancers what everyone’s role will be. 

If you are part of an in-house content marketing team, be sure your freelancers get to meet everyone they’ll be working with. Explain who they can turn to in case of questions or concerns on specific topics.

Provide guidelines when you onboard external content creators​

Written style guides, personas, tone of voice documents, brand books and other guidelines are all vital tools for keeping your freelance content creators on the same page.

Be sure to give your freelancers access to these important resources. Discuss them during your kick-off call and ensure that everything is clear. 

We find the tone of voice guide especially important, as this enables your content creators to authentically represent your brand.

Connect them to the right people

There’s no better source of product knowledge than your company’s own product managers. Get your freelancers onboard with the fine points of your product by connecting them for a call with key stakeholders in your company. This brings a deeper dimension of insider knowledge to the content, so it resonates even more with your target groups.

Be sure to sit in and participate with those calls too. After all, it’s important for the freelancer to learn about your product while also seeing how that product knowledge fits into your content marketing vision. It’s also a great opportunity to exchange ideas, build your relationship and fine tune your content.

The future is freelance

With a successful onboarding, you’ll be well on the path to a rewarding collaboration. Remember that working with freelancers is a relationship that gets stronger over time. This is another reason why you want to get off on the right foot and ensure clear lines of communication from day one.

To summarise briefly on how to bind external content creators to your product, company and industry: 

  • Make contact.
  • Set expectations.
  • Define roles.
  • Provide guidelines.
  • Connect them to the right people.

Want to learn more about freelance content creation? Please download our e-Book on the State of Content Creation in 2022 and reach out to our content creation specialists to demo our freelance collaboration platform.

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