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The Care & Feeding of Freelancers

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  • 1. The Care & Feeding of Freelancers Kim Pittaway IRMA 2011 Kimpittaway.com
  • 2. My background
    • Worked as a freelancer for 20+ years +
    • Managing editor and EIC at Canada’s largest women’s magazine for 4 years +
    • On-going consulting & editing work with small and mid-sized magazines +
    • Teach in journalism programs (trying to create good habits in new editors & writers)
    • = lots of experience on both sides of the desk
  • 3. What drives you nuts about freelancers?
  • 4. What drives you nuts about freelancers?
    • Not reliable
    • Not good enough
    • Not enough of them
    • Don’t deliver what I assigned (story/photos)
    • Don’t want to do fixes
    • Don’t like my edits
    • Good writer, lousy reporter
    • Lousy writer, good reporter
    • Pitch me stories that don’t fit my magazine
  • 5. If you’ve worked as a freelancer, what drove you nuts about editors or A.D.s?
  • 6. If you’ve worked as a freelancer, what drove you nuts about editors or A.D.s?
    • Unrealistic deadlines
    • Unrealistic assignments
    • Took forever to get back to me, wanted fixes overnight
    • Changed assignment midstream--no extra pay
    • Vague assignment
    • Edited piece but didn’t let me approve it
    • Introduced errors into the story
    • Kept delaying publication
    • Didn’t pay me enough--or on time
  • 7. Can this marriage be saved???
  • 8. What do you as editors & A.D.s want?
  • 9. What do editors & A.D.s want?
    • Well-written, well-researched stories
    • Compelling photos & illustrations that capture the story
    • Content delivered on time
    • Fresh ideas
    • Respect: to have my editorial insight--& understanding of my readers--respected
  • 10. What do freelancers want?
  • 11. What do freelancers want?
    • Chance to do assignments that interest me
    • More creatively engaging work than I can do for commercial clients
    • Chance to stretch myself
    • Chance to be in the spotlight
    • Opportunity to earn a living--or just some extra $$--doing something I love
    • Respect--to have my hard work & effort respected by the editor or AD I’m working for
  • 12. It’s a relationship
  • 13. The meet, greet, date & mate approach to finding great freelancers
  • 14. Step 1: Meet
  • 15. Step 1: Meet
    • First you need to know yourself: What’s your profile?
  • 16. Step 1: Meet
    • First you need to know yourself: What’s your profile?
      • I’m a hip young magazine that loves local entertainment & nightlife
      • I’m an established, mature publication that focuses on the finer things in life
      • I’m a family-focused traveler, always interested in exploring the next country road
  • 17. But what are you offering?
    • How do you stack up compared to the competition--the other media markets--in your area?
  • 18. But what are you offering?
    • How do you stack up compared to the competition--the other media markets--in your area?
      • Big bucks?
      • Top editors & art directors?
      • Editorial flexibility?
      • Creativity?
      • Prestige?
      • A good time?
      • Perks like free travel?
      • Good parties?
  • 19. What are you looking for?
  • 20. What are you looking for? In writers…
    • News reporters
    • Issue-oriented writers
    • Lyrical creative writers for personal essays
    • A people person--great profiler
    • Technical writers for projects & DIY
    • Packagers
    • And more
  • 21. What are you looking for? In photographers/illustrators?
    • Documentarians
    • Portrait photographers
    • Landscape shooters
    • Technical illustrators
    • Cartoonist/caricaturist
    • Portrait artist
    • Collage artist
    • And more
  • 22. In life, polygamy is frowned upon…
    • …in magazines, it’s essential
    • You’re not looking for 1 or 2 who do it all. You’re building a stable.
  • 23. What class are you in? What class are you looking for?
  • 24. What class are you in? What class are you looking for?
    • A-list pros
    • Good, solid freelancers
    • Pros who freelance on the side
    • Artists
    • Hobbyists
    • Students
    • And in writing specifically: experts, POVers, non-writers with interesting lives
  • 25. Where do you find them?
  • 26. Where do you find them?
    • Other media--including locally published books, art galleries, radio (esp NPR/CBC), blogs
    • Local writers’ associations, photo clubs, artists groups
    • Groups that cater to the interest areas you cover
    • Other writers, photogs and illustrators (want to find a single guy? Ask a single guy)
    • Other editors and A.D.s
    • Local classes
    • Non-journalism jobs that require similar skills--communication depts, pr firms, etc
  • 27. Step 2: Greet
  • 28. Step 2: Greet
    • You won’t meet the mate of your dreams sitting in your office. You need to get out (sometimes in person, sometimes virtually)
  • 29. Step 2: Greet
    • Connect with professional & amateur interest groups
      • Many have online directories of members
    • Network with instructors
      • Speak to their classes
    • Network with pros in related fields
      • LinkedIn
      • Google+
    • Network with other editors & A.D.s & freelancers
    • Attend events
    • Host events
    • Network even when you don’t think you’re networking
  • 30. But I don’t have time!!!!
  • 31. Pay now or pay later
    • What happens when you’re working with crummy freelancers?
  • 32. Pay now or pay later
    • Waste time redoing work
    • Waste time reassigning work
    • Waste energy mourning the story/image you wanted but didn’t get and publishing 2nd or 3rd rate work
    • Waste energy scrambling to fill holes left by unreliable freelancers
  • 33. Step 3: Date
    • Before you date…
      • Do a little background checking
  • 34. Step 3: Date
    • Before you date…
      • Do a little background checking
      • Start with a coffee, not a weekend away
  • 35. Step 3: Date
    • Before you date…
      • Do a little background checking
      • Start with a coffee, not a weekend away
      • Be clear--and realistic--about your assignment
  • 36. Step 3: Date
    • Setting up your date
      • Know what you want in the assignment
  • 37. Step 3: Date
    • Setting up your date
      • Know what you want in the assignment
      • Give it enough time--but not too much time
  • 38. Step 3: Date
    • Setting up your date
      • Know what you want in the assignment
      • Give it enough time--but not too much time
      • Put it in writing
  • 39. Step 3: Date
    • Setting up your date
      • Know what you want in the assignment
      • Give it enough time--but not too much time
      • Put it in writing
      • Talk it through
  • 40. Step 3: Date
    • Setting up your date
      • Know what you want in the assignment
      • Give it enough time--but not too much time
      • Put it in writing
      • Talk it through
      • Leave the door open for follow-up discussions
  • 41. Step 3: Date
    • Setting up your date
      • Know what you want in the assignment
      • Give it enough time--but not too much time
      • Put it in writing
      • Talk it through
      • Leave the door open for follow-up discussions
      • Write it in to check in
  • 42. Step 3: Date
    • After the date--when the assignment is submitted
      • Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it
  • 43. Step 3: Date
    • After the date--when the assignment is submitted
      • Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it
      • Respect is earned: timely, thoughtful feedback
  • 44. Step 3: Date
    • After the date--when the assignment is submitted
      • Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it
      • Respect is earned, part 1: Timely, thoughtful feedback
      • Fix requests: Put it in writing & talk it through
  • 45. Step 3: Date
    • After the date--when the assignment is submitted
      • Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it
      • Respect is earned, part 1: Timely, thoughtful feedback
      • Fix requests: Put it in writing & talk it through
      • Respect is earned, part 2: Let them see edits/selects
  • 46. Step 3: Date
    • After the date--when the assignment is submitted
      • Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it
      • Respect is earned, part 1: Timely, thoughtful feedback
      • Fix requests: Put it in writing & talk it through
      • Respect is earned, part 2: Let them see edits/selects
      • Respect is earned, part 3: Pay them on time
  • 47. Will there be a 2nd date?
    • What went right?
    • What went wrong--and can it be fixed/can I live with it?
    • Where are this person’s skills best used?
  • 48. You want a long-term relationship. How can you make it appealing?
  • 49. Step 4: Mate
    • Nothing says “I love you” like on-time payment
    • Steady work
    • Let me do what I’m good at
    • Help me get better at what I’m good at
    • Let me try something new
    • Tap into my passions
    • Make me feel like a member of the family
    • Pass me some perks
  • 50. And now a note about one-night stands
  • 51. How do you attract someone who is out of your league?
  • 52. Attracting a superstar
    • Can you offer…
  • 53. Attracting a superstar
    • Can you offer…
      • An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun?
  • 54. Attracting a superstar
    • Can you offer…
      • An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun?
      • The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do?
  • 55. Attracting a superstar
    • Can you offer…
      • An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun?
      • The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do?
      • Something that won’t require a lot of time or effort--that they can create easily or may already have created?
  • 56. Attracting a superstar
    • Can you offer…
      • An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun?
      • The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do?
      • Something that won’t require a lot of time or effort--that they can create easily or may already have created?
      • The opportunity to explore their passion?
  • 57. Attracting a superstar
    • Can you offer…
      • An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun?
      • The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do?
      • Something that won’t require a lot of time or effort--that they can create easily or may already have created?
      • The opportunity to explore their passion?
      • The chance to be in similar company?
  • 58. And if you get ‘em…
    • Make the most of their name value
      • Coverline
      • Press release
      • Promo in direct mail packages
      • Submit for awards
  • 59. In the end…
  • 60. Relationships take work
    • And any good relationship is built on
    • Respect
    • Communication
    • Mutual satisfaction (technical term: fun)
  • 61. Questions?

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