Approaching a freelance writer with revisions is quite a sensitive subject. If you can do it right, your effort pays off. Be careful when handling the revision issue and always remember: even though writers don’t really like revising what they've done, the final goal is to create better content.
Start the conversation with highlighting the positive points and strengths of the article. Talk about things you liked and what worked well. That's a good starting point, as it doesn't stroke writer’s ego and leaves space for future cooperation. After that, use a transition sentence to talk revisions. Words like «while», «at the same time», «in addition», etc will be helpful.
Once you've read the article, better do it several times, make a list of things you want to change. In order to request revision, you should give clear directions. The more specific your requirements are, the easier it is for freelance writers to revise and avoid the same mistake in the future.
The list makes it easy for freelancers to provide revision in one sitting, cause all the changes are itemized. In addition, the list keeps the client-writer relationship on a professional level plus keeps the project from getting lost in revision pull.
Of course, freelance writers do expect some revisions; it’s a part of a writing process, and also a part of the job. The problem is that sometimes the changes are unecessary, or even taken to an extreme. Some customers just do not play fair, for example, they pay for a 400-word article, and then consistently request revisions, resulting in additional 400 words they get for free.
Therefore, don’t ask freelance writer to revise if this amounts to increasing the word count if you haven't paid for it. It's not just annoying, but also indicent.
Many editors find themselves stuck in situations like this, so make sure that when asking to expand or give more detail, this is within the scope of initial requirements you both agreed to in the beginning of the project.
If your freelance writer offers a decent reason not to make a revision, listen to him/her carefully. Editors as well as freelancers should be open to discussion on this topic. It's always better to complete revision through discussion, not through directives. After all, the whole point of working together as a team is to create superior content.
If you need to publish an article at 3:00 pm Monday, set the deadline earlier, maybe two-three days ahead of schedule. This allows making revisions at no cost in term of time. If a freelance writer submits the article earlier than the actual deadline, there is still much time to make the necessary improvements. Editor, in his/her turn has to review the article as soon as it's turned in, so that the freelance writer has time for revisions.