Best Practices Session 4: How to Manage Ad Agency Freelance Resources
Effectively managing your ad agency's freelance creative resources is crucial for the growth and success of your business. By utilizing these resources in the right way, you can give your agency a competitive edge. 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 consistently deliver high-quality work
When it comes to working with freelancers, it's important to choose individuals who have a proven track record of delivering exceptional work. However, there may be instances where you need to bring in new talent. In these cases, it's crucial to carefully review their skills and expertise to ensure they are a good fit for your ad agency. Examining their previous body of work can provide valuable insight into their ability to consistently produce quality and timely work. Additionally, don't hesitate to request references to verify their work history.
Once you've hired a freelancer for a project, it's essential to maintain regular communication and check-ins to ensure they are staying on track and aligning with the project's objectives. It's also important to encourage open dialogue and ask if they are facing any challenges. Providing constructive feedback and guidance when necessary can help motivate your freelancers to work diligently and efficiently for your agency. Remember, positive feedback is a powerful tool for inspiring them to deliver their best work.
2. Ensure that your freelancers maintain brand consistency
Consistency is key when it comes to creating artwork and communications for your clients. To achieve this, it is important to familiarize your freelancers with the brand guidelines. Provide them with a comprehensive set of instructions and protocols on how to use the brand's logos, fonts, colors, and messages. For added convenience, consider utilizing digital asset management (DAM) software, which serves as a centralized online repository for all brand assets and guidelines. This way, freelancers can access the necessary resources at any time.
It is crucial to have all artwork and communications reviewed and approved by the appropriate brand stakeholders, such as marketing and legal teams, to ensure that the final deliverables are aligned with the brand's guidelines. This step guarantees that your agency maintains a consistent and cohesive brand image across all projects.
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
Make sure to establish clear and definitive project timelines to avoid any unexpected costs for overtime hours and to ensure that your freelancer completes the project on schedule. Leave no room for ambiguity or confusion in order to maintain a smooth workflow.
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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