I teach a lot of my clients how to use freelance platform marketplaces as a way to find good marketing support contractors.
Upwork is a popular platform. But getting the best out of it depends on one very important skill – briefing.
How to brief a marketing job
A well-briefed job produces the desired output on time and on budget. But many marketers will tell you that this is not what they’ve personally experienced – whether with an agency, with freelancers or sub-contractors. Let’s set about understanding the skill and the process of making a robust brief and project managing a job to a successful outcome.
The brief parameters
Start by writing down what you want the job to achieve, a goal if you like.
- We need a new design for….
- Troubleshoot this issue….
- Copywrite using these keywords….
- Sell this product….
You get the idea.
Next go to the platform of your choice, I’ll use Upwork for now, and find out what the template briefing pages ask you to provide.
Write on a document each of the questions they ask. Use these to understand how the platform will use your information to brief the applicants. If they ask you to set an hourly rate or budget this means it will exclude experts who don’t fit your parameters. Which skills are you listing as necessary? If you ask for questions to be answers, what do you want to learn from those questions – are you using them to screen in or screen out applicants?
You need to set guidance for what success looks like for your project.
The key to a successful Upwork hire
Get the expert to step slowly though the early stages of your selection.
What do I mean by that? Instead of diving into the job and assuming that the work track record examples are sufficient proof of expertise, create a carefully thought-through path whereby you gauge their skill, their communications, their responsiveness and align that with your personal project and its needs.
Here’s an example. I have a website UX redesign project – what are the stages or milestones? How can I find out who has deep expertise compared to shallow experience? The key is to ask good questions.
These are actual questions set for an SEO brief
- Have you drastically increased traffic for a website?
- Can you briefly explain how will you help us achieve the expected outcome?
I recommended changing these to
- How good or bad is our website SEO?
- How will you research key words?
They are very simple questions – and the key is that you should know the answers already… In this way you can see if the responder is trying to bamboozle you or gives actual detail of their work process. You want the latter.
The answers will allow you to quickly find out
- is their English (written) good enough?
- do they sound confident they can do our job?
Creative briefing stage 2
After you have shortlisted, then you need to message the applicants. This is when you actually speak individually to your contractors. Beware of agencies applying where the salesperson replies and you don’t know who will be doing your work. Insist on speaking to them direct.
I usually ask these questions
- What are the stages and key milestones in this project?
- Can you estimate the number of hours you need for each stage?
And again assess their response, use of English and speed to reply.
Then I call the top 3 and have a 5 minute chat to run through their answers (stages and hours estimate).
After this, I make my hire decision…..
Can I help you learn how to brief?
Get in touch. Briefing is a skill and a process. You can learn how to do it well. There are some nuances which are specific to types of job and not appropriate for a public post like this. Happy to help.
- Atlassian marketplace
- Topcoder for software coders
- Expert 360 – Australia’s experts in one place
- Toptal – UX/UI and design experts
- Free Up – Marketing freelancers – US and beyond