One glance at the St Patrick’s Day revelry outside makes me wonder why anyone would equate a giant fluffy hat shaped like a pint of Guinness with a patron saint. Some things are perhaps less open to question. We all recognize the intrinsic value of research to our business. But have you thought about using your freelancer to conduct research?

Here are some good reasons why:

  • Freelancers provide a fresh pair of eyes. They can see the wider picture. Having a third party confirm your suspicions can lend weight to the argument for changing your product offering, for example.
  • Freelancers can approach customers for feedback. Case studies capture a customer’s true experience of using a product or service. In addition they can be used for a myriad of purposes: on your company’s website, included in proposals, featured in newsletters, turned into articles or used for award applications. The unofficial feedback , gleaned during the writing of the case study, can be as informative.
  • Freelancers work across sectors and across businesses. You know your business inside out but a freelancer will know if others are experiencing similar challenges.  We can often use our experience to propose a solution or warn against a path of action. Even if it’s a small thing like using the same name for your company newsletter as that of your rivals (you’d be surprised).
  • You are paying for a freelancer’s industry knowledge. Or you should be (if you are using a content mill such as peopleperhour or copify check credentials). Ask their opinion and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised by their advice. Don’t be too prescriptive. You may have hired a writer for website content who, when asked, suggests connecting to a Twitter account or a WordPress blog.
  • Remember that freelancers meet many of your employees. Sometimes we work on your premises. Don’t ask us to spy but do ask us how the workplace could be improved. We don’t have an agenda, we are confided in and we will be more willing than an employee to talk about the elephant in the room.