7 things to look for in a freelance writer

Before you hire a freelancer to write your annual report, make sure he or she understands the business world, communicates well in person, and excels at storytelling.

There are a number of things to look for when you hire a freelance writer for any project. For a once-a-year event like an annual report, the stakes are even higher. A well-written and attractive annual report is a competitive differentiator, helping brand a company by listing past accomplishments and strategic direction.

You know you’ve found a world-class freelance writer when he can show he’s mastered these seven key skills:

1. Simplify large amounts of complex data.

By definition, an annual report covers a company’s achievements for the year. The writer needs to review data sources that include press releases, the company website, competitor’s websites and their annual reports, financial data, research reports, white papers and more.

The writer’s task is to produce copy that summarizes and simplifies the raw material in a way that meets the report’s requirements. In my experience, this requires an ability to sort, organize, prioritize and retain massive amounts of incoming data.

Key skill: You need a writer with the experience to review vast amounts of data from every division in the company, and then turn around and write simple 50-, 100- or 500-word summaries.

2. Communicate as well in person as on the page.

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