Can a Strong Freelance Writer be a Great Project Manager?

I spent years as a corporate project manager, managing all types of projects from software documentation and training development to data warehouse infrastructure construction and server tech refresh. Lately, as a freelance writer, I find that the principles of project management are still relevant.

All writing projects require some degree of task management. Let’s talk about the most popular content development projects: whitepapers, case studies, and blog posts.


Whitepapers are a great way to generate interest and leads. They’ve been around a long time and are still popular, particularly in the information technology space. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 68% of marketers are using white papers to educate their customers, moving those customers through the sales funnel.

Generate interest and leads

But those white papers must be available to your prospects to be effective.

If the freelance writer you’ve hired to create your white paper doesn’t have project management skills, that project is already at risk. For my clients, I’m prepared to manage the project as well as complete the copy. Not all writers are willing to do both tasks.

White papers are a deep-dive into the details of your product. For the writer, there are several people to interview, a plan to produce and get approved, then research and drafts to finish. White papers also need graphical elements – including charts, pictures, and drawings. If there is a graphic artist involved, those requirements, dates, and deliverables need to be managed.

Once the finished product is complete, there are final approvals to procure and the file formats to deliver.

Whitepapers are a critical piece of your marketing arsenal. They can only help develop those leads into customers if they are done and available. Are you managing them well?

Case Studies

Case studies are useful for any business. When your customers are happy with your product or service, doing a case study about their results is very powerful. In fact, case studies are even more popular than white papers as an integral part of a marketing strategy. About 77% of all organizations surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute are using case studies as part of their marketing plans.

Potential customers have an interest in how other customers implement and use your product or service. The challenge is that researching and writing case studies about your customers is a time-consuming project. It can also be very time-consuming simply to manage this type of project.

Like the white paper, there are plans to write, people to interview and drafts to submit. To really make an impact, many businesses are doing case study videos. This adds an additional layer of complexity and management.

Choosing someone to manage the project as well as produce many of the deliverables is a smart way to go if you have a small team. Great case studies can make the difference between closing a sale and losing a customer to a competitor.

Blog Posts

As companies work to improve their online presence, more organizations are publishing blog posts about their products and their industry. Blog posts are typically from about 500 to 2000 words and focus on a particular topic or subject area. Because they are much shorter than the typical white paper or case study, they don’t take as long to research and to write.

These deliverables are usually shorter turnarounds so there is much less task management for each individual post.

Consistency is the key

For a company to increase the effectiveness of blogging, it’s best to publish on a regular basis. One of the best ways to ensure that posts get completed with the correct content and on a schedule is to use an editorial calendar and ensure someone is paying attention to the calendar. A good project manager uses this calendar as the plan content week over week. Ideally, the freelance writer creates content this week that is published next week or the week after.

In order to stand out among the hundreds of blogs publishing every day, it’s important to have a stellar product and promote that content. I find that rushing posts to publish results in poorer quality. Poor quality posts don’t encourage sharing or any other engagement with the company.

Get those blog posts written, approved, and published to consistently boost your influence on the web. Is your organization managing these well?

Getting the content you need

There are many different types of written content that companies need to promote their product or service. Getting that content written, published and working for you takes coordination and management. Whatever type of content your organization uses, a good freelance writer who can also manage the project can get it complete in a reasonable period of time so it can work for you.

Check out the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Research Report for more information on content marketing methods and usage.

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