Freelance journalists and publishers: 5 tips on collaborating successfully

by Hiba Naeem

As outsourcing becomes a norm in the publishing industry, features like effective communication and creativity grow into crucial elements for business, individual development and change. With ever-rising competitive threats and cost-cutting needs, more publishers are now seeking outsourced services. And although, freelancing comes with many perks for both parties involved, establishing ground rules is important in the field. If this makes you wonder what makes an efficient relationship between a publisher and freelance journalist work, then you have come to the right place as we look at 5 of the most successful tips on how to function in the freelance and publishing economy.

Freelance journalists and publishers: 5 tips on collaborating successfully

1. Do not underestimate the power of effective communication between publisher and freelance writer

Before taking up a project, make sure you know all there is to know. This includes understanding the story brief, the organization’s vibe, its operational method (think flat hierarchies or otherwise), deadlines and payment means. It is always good to make expectations clear. Even as a freelance journalist, one should communicate and work on time- think deadlines, illness, workflow, and productivity.

For a publisher, it is just as important to ensure that the outsourced service is a great hire for the due story. This can only happen if you communicate your requirements from the get-go about all there is to know about you, the publisher, and the project involved. It also means keeping the freelancer updated with any changes expected of them.

Freelance journalists and publishers: 5 tips on collaborating successfully

2. Keeping up with the change in the publishing and freelance industry

As a publisher, you should remember that the freelance economy is evolving rapidly and so you too must transition accordingly. This can mean allocating separate resources for freelancing recruitment, which comes with an additional price of maintaining a department for employees who deal only with freelance journalists. If this sounds like an administrative nightmare, and rightly so too, then how about checking out what we at The Story Market have to offer? As alternatively, we can meet all these needs by managing your paperwork (licensing, translation needs, payment methods and all), eliminating the procedural delays and most importantly connect you with a wide community of high-quality freelance journalists.

For a freelancer, this means being creative and evolving too. Creative would mean finding your original voice and meeting the set story requirements. It will also result in the use of social media as a marketing and communication tool. Similarly, if you are new to freelancing and all these changes are different for you, check out how you can reach more prospective clients as  a freelance journalist via The Story Market. Through our platform, you can minimise time and payment delays and connect with prestigious publishing agencies in the industry.

3. Be willing to negotiate

This goes for both, publisher and freelancer. Flexibility is an important element in the field as many publishers are on a tight deadline or a budget. While this means you, the outsourced service, should use your negation skills to their best capacity. Reminding the recruits about freelance minimum pay or minimum wage will also come in handy. If the story does not meet your pay requirement, do not disengage yourself completely but rather be willing to offer different options that work best for both you and the client. Similarly, many freelance journalists are working on multiple projects at a time. Keeping their needs in need and showing flexibility as a publisher, will keep the relationship both professional and productive.

4. Prepare paperwork well before time for your collaboration with publishers or freelance journalists

For a publisher, the hiring paperwork along with all managerial stuff should be well-timed so that neither you nor the freelance hires waste precious time. It is just as important to mention how communication should be conducted early on to avoid confusion and work delays. If you as an employer do well with regular work updates or like your work a certain way, it is best to communicate those in the contract.

Likewise, it is recommended that as a freelance journalist you understand your contract and its legal implications well in advance of joining and working on the story itself. Get detailed insights on common paragraphs in contracts between publishers and freelance journalists in our blog post about syndication!

Freelance journalists and publishers: 5 tips on collaborating successfully

5. Feedback is just as important for publishers and freelance writers

Once again, this is an equally critical feature for both the client and the freelancer. As a freelance journalist, do not just assume that feedback is automatically communicated. Instead, be confident yet polite enough to ask for a review from your publisher. This will display your commitment to growth and professionalism. For a publisher, communicating how the gig was delivered is just as significant as you might just contact the freelancer again for another piece. Therefore, it can be a great way of keeping track of who to reach out in future and who to avoid.

What better awaits the publishing industry?

The publishing industry and freelance creative outlets are progressing enormously. With widespread internet and social media usage, read up on our post on how journalism has changed, too. Moreover, with platforms like The Story Market content availability and quality has also immensely improved. Find out how these changes have revolutionised how we read and sell news in the market today in our post on The Story Market appointed as Media Innovator of 2021.

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