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Freelance Writers, You’ve Got to Tell Writing Clients What You Do

tell writing clients

Tell Writing Clients How Writing Works

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but often I have to tell clients not only what I do but give them a glimpse at least to how I do it. However, I’ve just discovered a new approach to this problem.

Maybe because writing is fairly easy for me somehow expect non-writers to understand writing is a specialized skill.

From the client’s side, they give you an assignment and you return, usually, polished copy that’s ready or almost ready to go. Small wonder they tend to underestimate the time involved and fail to have any real clue about writing.

That’s why they hired you! Not only do they not know what you do, the don’t know how to do it even if they find out what you do. Which is exactly why you’ve got to tell your writing client how that writing actually gets done.

Think about what you do

Spend a few minutes thinking about exactly how you get a piece of writing done for a client. Make a list.

For example, when I was writing a blog for a company that sells web sites to real estate agents, here’s what I did:


  1. Come up with the topic for almost all the blog posts.
  2. Figure out what I wanted to do with that topic – tell a story, give some instructions, make a list, etc. etc.
  3. Do some light research – in fact, in this example, I had much of the knowledge I needed.
  4. Choose two or three search terms.
  5. Write a rough draft, including using the search terms three or four times making sure they felt organic and not forced.
  6. Source royalty free images.
  7. Edit the images so they’d fit the post.
  8. Upload the images and create alt tags that matched the search terms.
  9. Edit the rough draft – at least once or twice.
  10. Post the finished copy on the web site in WordPress
  11. Insert the images with the proper alignment and maybe with a caption.
  12. Assign it a category
  13. Assign the articles tags.
  14. Mark it for preview
  15. Email the editor so he’d know to approve the article for publication.

Occasionally an editor would assign a topic. Rarely they would ask for corrections in this case.

Why tell writing clients what you do

The biggest reason to tell your writing clients what you do in detail is it demonstrates your value. As I look at the above list of 15 items, I really see how under paid I was! I don’t think, in that case, this list would have made any difference to them, but it might have to me.

And if you don’t know what it is you do, there’s no way the client can be expected to understand. I’m actually quite impressed!

How to tell writing clients what you do

As you might guess, this listing how I do what I do approach is new to me. I got the from an editor friend and the next week from a writer friend. So here’s what I’m going to do:

The above list might be called “What I Actually Do to Write Your Blog.” I’m going to make the same kind of list for ghostwriting a book. I’m going to put both on my professional website and refer potential clients to it. I suspect this sort of exercise not only clarifies my own view of what I bring to a project, but will allow me to ask for higher prices.

What do you think? Tell us in comments.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer



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