Managing your ad agency's freelance creative resources can play an integral part in growing your business and providing it with a competitive edge. That is, of course, if you utilise them in the right way.
Here are some tips to make sure your advertising agency gets the most out of its creative resources and freelancers.
1. Ensure that your freelancers produce quality work
Primarily, it’s best to work with freelancers who you know can deliver on projects. Having said that, you might need to hire someone new so make sure you conduct a careful review of their skills and expertise to confirm they are match for your ad agency. Their previous cache of work will also demonstrate their acumen for delivering quality and timely work. Don’t hesitate to ask for a reference to check their work history.
Once you’ve hired a freelancer for a project, check in regularly to see how they’re tracking to ensure that the work is on brief. Be sure to ask them if there’s anything they’re struggling with. Always provide feedback and guidance to the freelancer if you feel this is required. Positive feedback is a great way to inspire your freelancer to work hard and smart for you.2. Ensure that your freelancers adhere to brand consistency
Brand consistency is everything when producing artwork and communications for a client, so you’ll need to bring your freelancers up to speed on this. Make sure you provide a clear set of guidelines and protocols on how the brand’s logos, fonts, colours and messages are to be used. Even better, if you have software such as digital asset management (DAM), a central online repository, you can save the brand guidelines and assets here so they can be accessed at any time by your freelancers.
All artwork and/or communications will need to be reviewed and signed off by the right brand stakeholders, such as marketing and legal, to ensure that the final files are consistent with their branding guidelines.
3. Budget for freelancers
It’s easy to budget for freelancers when you know you’ll need to utilise one or more for an upcoming project. But how do you budget for a freelancer who is called upon at the last stages of a project in order to make a deadline? For these scenarios, your ad agency will need to create a surplus annual budget for freelancers who are used in an emergency. Simply review the previous year’s expenditure on ad hoc freelancers to work out an average figure. You will thank yourself for this.
4. Avoid an over-reliance on freelancers
An over-reliance on freelancers will inevitably become costly for your business because they charge a higher hourly rate than you’re paying your staff. If you find your ad agency is using freelancers too frequently, it might be time to review your operations or consider implementing agency resource management (MRM) software. For example, do you need to review your briefing process because specialised skills required for certain projects are being overlooked; are high artwork revisions holding up your projects; are there too many stakeholders providing feedback that shouldn’t be; or are handwritten mark ups difficult for freelance designers and copywriters to decipher? Perhaps it’s time to consider implementing project or approval workflow software with inbuilt online proofing tools?
5. Set clear project dates for freelancers
Always set clear start and end dates for projects to a) avoid being copped with an additional fee for overtime hours and b) ensure the freelancer delivers the project work on time. Leave absolutely no room for confusion.
6. Respect your freelancers
When you find creative and hardworking freelancers who deliver work that you’re excited about, make sure you hold onto them. This means respecting the time and work that they put into your projects. Remember, they’re not on staff so don’t expect them to work outside of the project’s parameters. Paying freelancers on time is also a sign of respect for the work they’ve delivered for you.
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