Imagine what it was like 15 years ago trying to strike out on your own. Just getting a home office set up would break the banks of most who are freelance writing today. Printers, fax machines, an extra phone line for dial-up? Then, how would they even find clients? The want-ads?
Nowadays, all most freelancer writers need is a laptop. Luckily for content marketers, that’s all they need to manage their freelancers too.
The improvements in technology and the low barrier to entry should make it no surprise that there are currently 53.7 million freelancers in the U.S., with an expected 60 million people (or roughly 40% of the workforce) freelancing in some capacity by 2020.
How has technology helped drive this growth?
Freelance Writing Can Now Happen Anywhere
Co-working spaces have always been a great option for freelancers looking to rent office space that provides them with all the basic requirements of running their freelance business. Mobile technology and high-speed internet are widely available. Freelancers are taking advantage of the fact that they can work from anywhere.
This doesn’t just mean coffee shops and couches. In the past few years, an entire industry has cropped up that provides travel programs to remote workers who are using their physical freedom to travel the world. The availability of the internet across the globe and the speed of communication have made this more possible than ever.
Marketers Can Easily Connect with Potential Freelancers
No more want-ads! With the increase in social media sites like LinkedIn, job boards like inbound, and nDash’s Content Community platform, it’s easier than ever for freelancers to connect with companies. Companies are hiring from all over the world and offering more remote positions. Most managers regularly perform video and phone interviews instead of in-person interviews.
Finding freelance writing work is still the biggest challenge for freelancers, but the ones who are putting serious effort into it are the ones who are seeing the most success. According to a recent survey, 43% of freelance writers are looking for new writing jobs every day.
What does this mean for the potential freelance marketplace marketers are searching through?
More High-quality Freelancers are Entering the Job Market
In the past, freelance writers may have been a lower-quality option for businesses. Now, with the attraction of setting their own hours and working from anywhere they’d like, more high-quality writers and marketers are making the switch from full-time work to freelance.
According to 87% of marketers today, the talent level among freelancers is comparable to that of permanent employees. With the ability to easily search through this growing talent pool, marketers are finding it easier to locate specific job skills and specific industry expertise in a freelancer than they would when looking for a full-time hire.
More Entry-level Workers Beginning as Freelancers
A Millennial Branding study found that 72% of Gen Z want to start their own business. The next generation coming out of school will not be seeking full-time employment as their first option but as their backup. For companies that understand the need to develop young talent, this stat should represent an important need to reorganize how you are managing and nurturing your freelance workers.
Don’t overlook this need to maintain your content community of freelancers. Nearly 50% of organizations have lost independent contractor talent due to poor engagement strategies or processes.
How can content marketers use technology to improve their freelance writer management?
Project Management Tools
According to Aberdeen research, 40% of all organizations said they have low visibility into the use of non-employee workers. With the increase in the use of project management tools like Basecamp, Trello, and Asana, content marketers can improve this visibility and better manage how they create and deliver their content.
One of the main concerns over remote and freelance workers is the lack of availability and communication. Messaging apps like Slack and Skype make this concern a non-issue. With a well-organized and scheduled approach to how you communicate with your writing team, you may find that communication is improved. Bringing context to your discussions and giving them specific goals will make your team more efficient and lead to fewer miscommunications.
Freelance Writing Content Community Platform
nDash’s Content Community platform was designed with the growth of the freelance economy in mind. Our platform gives content marketers all the tools they need. They can recruit, onboard, manage and pay their team of freelance writers.
Traditional online hiring platforms were developed with the idea that freelancers are merely words for hire. nDash understands that this growing talent pool will soon become an integral part of your workforce and need to be managed as such.
A recent study by Fieldglass found in 2015, the average company’s workforce was 20% freelance workers. That number is expected to increase dramatically in the next few years.
Companies that understand where the freelance trend is heading and how technology will support it can plan ahead now. Begin leveraging freelancers as a major competitive advantage.
How does your company use freelance writers? What percent of your content community consists of freelancers? Contact us and let us know!