Their work is incredible. It’s accurate and interesting. It’s engaging and heartfelt. The problem is, it’s rarely ever in by deadline. It can be super frustrating to manage writers with no respect for deadlines, especially when they are talented content writers. You don’t want to lose the talent, but you do want them to turn assignments in on time.
Find out What the Problem Is
Get to know your writers. Why are they missing deadlines? Are there things going on in their lives that you aren’t aware of? Sit down with a writer who is having trouble meeting deadlines and flat out ask them why they aren’t turning in assignments on time. Perhaps their workload is too heavy, or maybe they aren’t being given sufficient information for their writing assignments. Bring to light exactly what is keeping the writer from getting things accomplished on time, and then offer them some suggestions on how to manage stress and thus get better at meeting deadlines.
Give Consequences for Missed Deadlines
For writers under contract, build it into their contract that a percentage of their pay will be deducted for each day past deadline their assignment is turned in. Or, consider having a “three strikes you’re out” policy- too many missed deadlines and the writer is terminated. This can be a tough to do with a talented writer, but if they aren’t turning their great writing in on time, it might not be worth giving them the work. Assigning a consequence to missed deadlines will probably have a big impact on whether or not the writer makes future deadlines.
Make a Plan
Some writers, especially rookies, might not have any clue how to manage their time. Freelance writers typically have other jobs that take up the majority of their time throughout any given week. Help your writers set a schedule for writing. Just because it’s freelance work doesn’t mean it’s blow-off work. Tell your writers they should set time aside in their week when they will work on assignments and to write down that schedule. Scheduled activities that are written down are more likely to get accomplished. Time management is a skill that will benefit them in all areas of life.
Check up on Writers
If a writing deadline is in a week, contact your writer mid-week to see how things are progressing. Build it into their contract that they will respond to any inquiries with an honest response. This isn’t necessary for all writers, just the ones who have trouble with deadlines. You may feel like you are nagging, but that’s kind of the point. If the writer is tired of hearing from you so often, maybe they’ll start making deadlines.
Consider Changing Your Approach to Deadlines
Are the missed deadlines messing up your business, or are you simply aggravated that the writer doesn’t respect deadlines? If the writer turns things in late but you still have sufficient time to edit and get it to a client, don’t sweat it. If it’s ruining relationships with clients, move up deadlines. See if the writer will work better on a tighter deadline. Many writers like the thrill of a tight deadline and actually produce better work that way. If there’s really a sense of urgency for the written work, make it known to the writer. If there’s not, don’t stress about it, especially if you know that the writer will give you quality work only a day or two late.
If you don’t want to lose a great writer who can’t make deadlines, work something out. There’s got to be some sort of agreement the two of you can reach to address the issue. ~Natalie