Having access to experienced, talented freelancers is an asset to a creative agency. They’re your heroes when deadlines loom and workloads run riot, and they bring fresh eyes and skills to complement your existing team. If you want to attract the best freelance creative from time to time, consider these hints from a freelancer’s point of view. And please feel free to share your own secrets to successful outsourcing.
Provide an awesome brief
Yes, this takes time. But your freelancer hasn’t been privy to the minutiae of the client’s business, and will likely need more information than your in-house team. Although this is a hard ask when you’re already working at slightly faster than the speed of sound, a fresh pair of eyes is often incredibly valuable. Developing a long-term relationship with your freelancer will make this process easier, and more fruitful.
Don’t get political
The beauty of freelancing is the ability to get on with the job, unencumbered by office politics. Where there’s muck-raking, mud-slinging and shit-stirring, take care not to get any on someone who works all over town. In this industry, any town is too small for professionals to diss the competition, particularly when they too are employing your freelancers.
There should only be one
Ok, so this one’s not always possible. But I find agency jobs go more smoothly when I have a single point of contact for the project, whether they’re an account manager, or one of the creative team. All emails and calls go through them, which reduces duplication, misinformation, and stuff getting lost in translation. Conversely, the more links in the communication chain, the more chances to screw things up (or at least go over deadline or budget).
Find out what they’re into
I’m in my element talking up organics, social enterprise or greentech. Rather less insightful or enthusiastic when extolling the virtues of one internal combustion engine over another. You’ll get greater insights, more passion and better creative when it comes from a belief in the product or idea – working with, rather than against, human nature. That’s where I love working with Portfolio. They only put me forward for jobs where I’m naturally a good fit, thus avoiding ‘awkward’ conversations with agencies.
Keep them in the loop
Us freelancers can be a lonely bunch. If you use us regularly, make an effort to involve us in the occasional extra-curricular activity. An invitation to Friday night drinks or end-of-project lunch, and updates about campaigns we sweated over, will endear you to us, and encourage us to go above and beyond for your agency. Sharing really is caring.