Part of your job is to educate your freelance writing client. It goes with the territory for several reasons, including:
- Most people have no real idea of how we writers get words on the page.
- It’s amazing how few of them have any real understanding of how to make the internet work for them and their business.
- Sometimes they don’t understand what they want to accomplish by hiring a writer.
Let’s look at these issues one-by-one.
Educate your freelance writing client about how you work
One truth about the way writers work is that it varies tremendously. Some write quickly, some slowly. Some are morning people, others work best after the sun goes down. Some like to outline a project while others are content with simple lists. There are even some who like to hand write their drafts.
Whatever your method one way to understand it is you’re being creative on demand. Knowing what works best for you will help you set the stage with your client so they get what they need and you get to perform in the way that suits you best.
I tell my clients quickly that my most creative time is early morning… as early as 5 or 6 am. One result is I don’t want phone calls before 11 unless by appointment. I also explain I won’t do much, if any writing after 4 pm. If they expect me to work weekends as a regular thing, I turn them down.
I find the clearer I am on how I work, the more likely the client will go along – but how would they know unless I told them?
Educate your freelance writing client about the ‘net
Those of us who spend a lot of time on the internet, and most writers do, tend to forget it’s still a new phenomena. Many of our clients have little or no understanding of Search Engine Optimization or the customs and law about email blasts. Blogging and how it works, from software to finding readers, is still a mystery to many. The same thing is true of social media.
Since you will often be asked to write in these arenas it’s likely you’ll have to do some informal teaching to help them come up to speed, particularly about expectations. While it makes sense to ask them what they expect from a particular piece of writing you’re doing for them, it also makes sense for you to explain that what they are proposing is, or should be, part of a marketing plan. Don’t hold back what you know – be willing to share it with your clients. The corollary is don’t pretend to understand something you don’t. Be up front – you can always research it for them and for yourself.
Help your writing client understand why each piece of writing needs a goal
It may seem obvious to us, but more than a few people who hire writers have no clear idea of what the writing they want done should accomplish. They are vague on what they want to happen.
You can help them by asking good, direct questions about their goals in hiring you. If they don’t know, help them figure it out. You’ll probably end up with a client for life and find the writing goes more quickly and easily.
What do you think? Does this make sense to you?