Setting Realistic Deadlines for Your Freelance Writers

Planner with deadlines for freelance writers.

When you hire a freelance writer, chances are you already have a project in mind—and that you have a deadline. In fact, most companies who hire freelance writers want the copy to be finished yesterday. As much as you want your freelance writer to complete the project you need quickly, realistic deadlines will help both you and your writer. For freelance writers, there’s an art to balancing fast project turnarounds with enough time to do the work well. As a business owner, you don’t want work that’s done as fast as possible rather than as well as possible. Many people who hire freelance writers aren’t sure how to set deadlines, especially when they are new to working with freelancers. This advice will help you set deadlines that work for both you and your writers.

Consider the Complexity of the Work

When you’re setting a deadline, don’t think of the writing strictly in terms of word count. You should also consider how complex the work is. Asking an experienced freelance writer to put together a few hundred words on a topic that is essentially common knowledge should result in an easy turnaround. If a substantial amount of research is required, then the timeline for the project should accommodate that. Because of the complexity of the work, a 400-word blog about an obscure Renaissance painter may take significantly longer to complete than a 1,000-word blog about how to wash and wax a car. Your deadlines should reflect these differences.

Factor in Special Requests

Are you hiring a freelance writer for a project that involves more than standard writing? If so, then your deadline should account for the extra time that will be necessary. This includes projects for which you need the freelancer to conduct interviews, provide images, or create graphics. These things take more time than a standard writing job, so the deadline you should set should be further out than you might normally request for the same word count.

Allow at Least 24 Hours

It’s common for freelance writers to face fast turnaround times. However, you should always set a deadline that gives the writer at least 24 hours to complete the assignment. While some writers may be able to turn around work within a day, most freelancers will have too many other assignments on their plate to deliver work in less than 24 hours. Ideally, you should set deadlines at least 72 hours out from the time of the agreement.

At Writers Work, our members are experienced freelance writers. They know the importance of meeting deadlines, and they’ll deliver the great work you need. See our writers in action by visiting the Writers Marketplace to browse samples from past projects.

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