So folks don’t understand that there’s not just one type of freelancer in marketing. We don’t all do the same thing! We have SEO specialists, content strategists, web designers…
Ok, I see how easy you can get confused. I’m going to break down every type of marketing freelancer and tell you what they can actually do for you!
Picking a freelancer is tough as hell. You need to look at your short term goals, your long term goals, and how quickly those goals need meeting! After that, you need to look at how much work you’ll have to put in yourself, and your general budget. Remember, the more experienced and specialised they are, the more they’ll charge!

GENERALISTS

If your freelancer’s laptop looks like this, they might be a generalist.

Digital Marketer

This is the broadest bucket there is, and the most populated after Social Media Influencer! They are defined by the scope of their work and how many of the other freelancing gigs they cover. If someone is offering to do “everything” for you, you’ve stumbled onto a digital marketer!
The best way to sort the wheat from the chaff is to see if they have their own specialism outside of marketing. For me, I’m specialised in passive income (making money online with minimal hours in). Other folks might specialise in marketing for a trade, like catering or hairdressers. Or, you might have one that works with just folks in your region.
BE VERY WARY of anyone with no specialisation. They could be newer to freelancing and might struggle in essential areas like client communication.
A digital marketer is right for you if:

  • You want to have one point of call for your marketing.
  • You aren’t sure what you need and are happy to have someone tell you what you need.
  • You don’t hawk over people- let me tell you chasing after a digital marketer isn’t fun!

If you’re hiring a digital marketer, ask for a specific storage hub for all the work. I recommend Google Drive as it’s free and your freelancer will definitely have an account.
Since they cover every facet of digital marketing, they’re hard to keep tabs on! See if they can send you weekly reports vs checking up back and forth. It will save your brain and let you get on with the rest of your business.

Digital Marketing Strategist

These guys are like digital marketing experts, except they aren’t going to complete any work for you directly. They’re more like consultants!
You’re going to get all the planning and advice from them.
Wait, you need the work actually doing!?
You’re going to need to hire other freelancers to do what they suggest. This means if you’re low on funds, skip them! You’re paying for their vast experience and optimised strategies. A good strategist has other freelancers to recommend to you.
Hire a strategist if:You’re a larger business and you can afford to hide multiple freelancers

  • You’re a perfectionist who wants the absolute best for their online presence.
  • You need the extra support before you’re willing to commit to hiring freelancers (and you’re willing to pay for it).
  • You have someone in-house for marketing and want them to have a second opinion.

Honestly? Most people don’t need this. A generalist will help you make your own strategy anyway, so don’t worry too hard about hiring one.

Content Marketer

Think of them as artisan creators. They’re going to make you a large variety of content for you! Think writing, video, social media posts, and more! They’ll create the content you wouldn’t think to make, for example infographics.
These folks are amazing for creating things that content writers might not. For example, specialist graphics for blog posts, designated Pinterest posts. The sky is the limit- but that usually means they’ll cost more!
Get a content marketer if:

  • You’re comfortable writing your own blog posts, but making content on top of that is too much work!
  • You want to make sure all your bases are covered when it comes to your content.
  • You’re camera shy and want someone to make videos for your brand on your behalf.
  • The bare minimum is not good enough.

Writers

People who think writing is useless probably think freelancers use these to type.

Writing is the backbone of any website you will ever own. Running a website with no content on it is like having an undeveloped plot of land. Fix it as soon as possible!

Copy writers

Think of these as the generalists of your writing. They write for the internet, in all sorts of places you wouldn’t think to look! They’re pretty hard to pin down, as they work in all sorts of different niches. In general, you should expect a copy writer to:

  • Write (I mean, come on)
  • Research topics
  • Proofread
  • Edit based on your needs
  • Source data and images should you need them

You’re looking for someone who has characteristics that match up with you. Do you fuss over every word? Find a more meticulous writer. Just need something ASAP? Find someone who doesn’t need to spend much time editing. Or, if you’re like me and need a lot of content, find someone you can train to write in a certain style at a low price per piece!
I often launch new websites with 50,000 words worth of content. If I’m billing that work to a client, I bill it at 1p a word. That’s because I know it’s not going to be flawless- I’m not a monk from the middle ages copying a manuscript! You don’t need the best possible content, you need useful content that your audience needs.
Hire a copy writer if:

  • You need writing done!
  • You don’t need a specialist in that field (i.e. for medical or technical writing).
  • You’re not focused on a long term freelancer relationship and you need the work done now!

Content Writers

These are so similar to copy writers that I can’t blame you if you’re struggling to tell them apart! A content writer isn’t writing to make sales, they’re writing to inform. They’re better for blog content, instead of sales copy.
I hire these guys the most, to the point that I have coaching them on how to write for me down to a fine science. They’re going to help populate your website or blog with as much content as possible.
This makes them great if:

  • You have a new website that you want to make sure Google will find.
  • You need niche content you don’t want to do the research for.
  • You’re looking for a more long-term writer specifically for your website.

Bloggers

These guys are their own content writers! This means they usually own their own websites which get a tonne of visitors. You won’t hire them per se, but you’ll work with them in the following scenarios:

  • You are also running a blog and are looking to boost your search engine rankings through guest posting.
  • You are running an eCommerce website and want to sponsor posts on their website.
  • You are giving them a part of sales for sales made thanks to their website (affiliate marketing).

Content Strategist

If you’re a reasonable human being with a small business, you don’t need a content strategist. They’re like marketing strategists for only content! That makes them suitable for the needs of large organisations vs smaller businesses.
They are useful for folks who are lost in the world of content, but marketing strategists can help with this too!
Hire them if:

  • You’re a well established website that needs guidance on how to continue getting results.
  • You want a checklist making of what you can do next.
  • You’re scared to take your own lead with your own brand.

Social Media

Do I really need to spell it out for you?

Ah yes! That thing you do but you don’t get results from. Let me introduce you to some freelance roles that will help you get those results! They tend to overlap a lot, but each serve a certain role in the ecosystem. Let’s see if we can find someone to help you.

Social Media Manager

A social media manager does what they say on the tin. They manage your social media!
There’s so, so many social media managers. The reason why? After we get a generalist, we start to find more folks to help them out. And, when you can grab an intern or an apprentice for bargain rates, why not hire one?
Don’t think all social media professionals are amateurs, though! Many will make you a fortune through careful optimisation and management of your brand. Remember that experience equals cost and you can train amateurs for great results.
Get a social media manager who is less experienced when:

  • You aren’t concerned about results, you’re concerned about having posts at all!
  • You’re a small business looking to delegate more tasks to an employee.

Get an experienced social media manager if:

  • You have a specific goal in mind for your social media and you need help in acheiving that.
  • You aren’t using social media best practices, and you want to make sure your bases are covered.

Social Media Strategist

Look, we get it now. If you see the word “Strategist” it means they do planning instead of implementation! That can be useful for you in a lot of situations:

  • You’re looking to train your in-house marketing staff to make sure they’re doing it right.
  • You’re looking to set up an evergreen social media strategy, which can be automated.
  • You’ve hit a wall with your social media and don’t know where to go next.

Community Manager

Community managers will do a lot for you, but it depends on what you do! They’re the front line of your businesses social media. They interract with your audience when they send you direct messages and reply to you. They’re making sure the cool people talking about you get heard!
This is the third biggest thing I do. After I get the website made and the blog posts done, my focus is on building a community. Have you ever looked into a café window and seen that it’s dead inside minus the barista? That’s not very inviting. If there’s plenty of regulars having a natter and populating tables, then you’ll be more likely to pop in!
These are the core pillars of your community. They’re rallying the troops and encouraging them! This is how a website stays online for a long time. Every startup tech company spends money on this.
But what about you?

  • Run a chat room or group on your social media? Get some volunteer admins!
  • Find yourself never getting anywhere with your blog posts? Get a professional community manager.
  • How are you at damage control? Community managers can provide quick support to upset customers and help your reputation.

Influencer

It would be amiss not to mention these people. They get a bad rap for hawking slimming pills and diet lollipops, but they aren’t all bad! You can find influencers in your niche who can provide a great supporting push for your brand.
These can be a great option for free promotion! Many smaller influencers will accept free products instead of payment.
You should get an influencer if:

  • You are running an affiliate marketing system and are looking to boost sales
  • You’re launching a new product and would like some starting buzz
  • You run a business with a lucrative product that could be better than getting paid.

Final Thoughts

I expand this article with new freelance roles all the time, so keep checking back in!
If you’re reading up on all these different freelancers, it would be silly to not look at what I offer over here! You can also click here to send me an email!
Thank you! I’m active in the comments so do reach out if this has been useful to you!