Congratulations! You’ve finally landed the writing assignment of your dreams. It’s a meaty piece and will involve interviews with your client’s executive team members. All you need to do is go through the company’s marketing department (or PR agency) to get the interviews set up.
Not so fast.
Unfortunately, far too many corporate marketers and agencies keep their freelancers at arm’s length. Instead of conducting interviews we submit lists of questions that we’d like to have answered – are left pulling our hair out. We are also given copies of existing speeches and articles — and referred to the company website. While those sources are all good and much appreciated, they don’t replace the need to have direct access to the people we are writing for or about.
Direct access enables writers to communicate directly with the source. While past articles, bios and other background information are great, there’s nothing quite like a real conversation. It’s important for writers to not only see information in written form, but hear it as well. Live interviews reveal personality that you would otherwise miss. So, if you want your writers to capture not only the words, but passion and emotion too, direct access is a must.
One question often leads to another. In every interview I’ve ever conducted, the questions I planned to ask have led to many others that I didn’t even know I wanted to ask until I was in the midst of discussion. That’s the beauty of live interviews. It just doesn’t happen when given a pile of existing documents. The same is true when looking for examples to prove a particular point. Sure, we can find information on the website, but having a favorite instance explained in person goes a long way toward bringing it to life.
The final product will be better. The goal of the assignment is to produce a great product, right? If so, then why not give your writers everything we need to create the masterpiece you’re paying for? The more we know, the better job we can do. If you’re worried that your freelancer might not make a good impression, then hire one that will. Many freelancers have years of corporate and agency experience — and a great understanding of the importance of being professional at all times.
The bottom line is to treat your freelance writer as an extension of your team. Since most, if not all, of your team members have direct access to the execs when needed, so should your writer. If you hire the right one, you will likely receive a finished product that exceeds even your wildest dreams.
What’s your opinion on giving freelancers direct access to execs? I’d love to hear it. Thanks.