How to freshen your talent and spark ideation among freelancers

Modified on Sun, 27 Nov 2022 at 08:04 PM

Every brand has unique expectations and requirements when it comes to engaging with creative talent. And engaging with the right creative is crucial to the success of your content marketing program. From skill set, expertise, target tone, and content objectives, it’s Contently’s priority to ensure your publication is staffed with creative talent who will help you meet that criteria.


While we always encourage anchoring 3–5 freelancers as your main content producers who are familiar with your content strategy, we also recommend a refresh from time to time to diversify your scope. Primarily, this helps widen your range of new ideas and points of view, and it also helps scale up content production when demand increases. 


If you’re in need of new talent  to drive your program, need more talent to keep up with production, or if it’s just been a while since you’ve assessed the team, follow these simple steps below to get started:

  1. Ask your Managing Editor to request a talent report of the current talent team. This report includes each freelancer’s name and information, the number of stories they’ve worked on, pitches they’ve submitted, as well as their last pitch submission date. If you don’t have a Managing Editor, you can reach out to your CS lead. 

  2. Use the talent report, along with your qualitative knowledge of the freelancer’s working and writing style, to determine who should remain staffed and who can be replaced. (Note: This data will also showcase freelancers already staffed to a publication who may be a great fit but haven’t yet had the opportunity to write for that publication.) If you’re unsure whether a freelancer should be removed, consider the following:

  3. Once you’ve decided who should be taken off the publication, your Managing Editor (or you) can remove them

  4. If needed, do a Talent Search and add recommended freelancers to your  team. As always, make sure that you have at least 3–5 solid freelancers that you can rely on. 

Now that you’ve freshened the publication’s talent pool, you’ll want to make sure both new and existing freelancers are contributing in the ideation process. Here are some ideas for how to inspire their participation :

  1. Schedule a call to encourage knowledge sharing. Talent already familiar with your brand can easily share what works and doesn’t, while newbies will have fresh perspectives and angles. Hot tip: monthly or quarterly talent calls can be incredibly helpful for new campaigns, series, or editorial concepts and more likely than not, your talent will be eager to have face time with you and the team.

  2. Center new ideation around data and consider how your current content stacks up against competitors. Share research and helpful materials with your talent to help inform strategies and steer them on the right path. Remember, their ideas are only as good as the information you provide them! 

  3. Organize a Zoom pitch slam for freelancers to brainstorm ideas. Encourage them to bring at least two topics, themes, or headlines to discuss with the group. These refined pitches should be submitted on the platform following the pitch slam. Again, this is an excellent way to keep your talent informed and engage with them on a monthly or quarterly cadence. 

  4. Remember to segment talent by topic or pillar expertise, format type, or campaign need within your User Management section. This will keep talent organized and allow you to assign pitches to specific experts and streamline your ideation process. You may want to consider hosting a pitch slam for each team.

Happy staffing and happy ideating!

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