As a freelance writer, you know that there’s a lot of competition out there. If you want to get regular work and even charge clients more for your writing, you have to offer a great service.
Here are our top tips for keeping your existing clients happy and impressing them so much that you become their go-to writer.
1. Understand How to Deliver High-Quality Content
Most clients understand the value of high-quality content and will pay a premium for it. Run through the following checklist before every assignment to ensure you deliver first-rate content every time:
- Tell the client if you’re not comfortable with the subject matter. They would prefer you to be honest, rather than receive poor-quality content.
- Read the brief several times so you understand the purpose of the content and the target audience.
- Ask questions if you don’t fully understand the brief.
- Refer to the brand’s content guide, if you’re given one.
- Do enough research to add interest and credibility to the content.
- Don’t send off your finished piece right away. If there’s time, go over it the next day. You’ll usually find room for improvement.
2. Learn About Your Client
If you don’t know enough about your client’s business, you’re unlikely to produce content that resonates with their target audience.
You may be writing for a client’s blog, but remember that this is only one of their marketing channels. Familiarize yourself with the client’s website, its social media channels, and any other company content you can find.
The initial research may take a couple of hours, but it will help you understand the brand’s marketing strategy and tone of voice, which will strengthen all your future work for the client.
3. Use Credible Research Sources
Including statistics and facts that resonate with the client’s audience gives an immediate sense of professionalism and credibility. Use search engines and explore the websites of competitors to find credible statistics and sources that back up the points you’re trying to make.
4. Keep SEO in Mind
All content published online is crawled by search engine bots to determine its relevance and quality, so always keep search engines in mind.
Use words and phrases that match the language used by your client’s target audience to automatically optimize the content for search engines.
5. Respect Your Deadlines
A client may have extended a deadline for you in the past, but not every client will be so generous. Most clients would rather work with a good reliable writer than a great writer who is unreliable.
Don’t accept more work than you can handle. If you do ever fall behind on a project, give the client plenty of advance warning; don’t tell them the day before the deadline. If you find yourself struggling with this, check out our post on how to actually finish writing projects.
6. Give Regular Updates
Good communication is key to effective working relationships, so try to respond to client questions promptly. Give updates on your progress if that’s what your client prefers, and ask questions well in advance of the deadline so that you both have time to resolve any issues.
7. Ask for Feedback
Most clients won’t mind if you ask for feedback after you finish a project; it shows you care about doing a good job and that you welcome constructive criticism.
Feedback will also help you identify things you need to do differently in terms of your writing and the way you deal with your client. If you’re easy to deal with, energetic and polite, clients are more likely to hire you again.
8. Be Flexible
Use your initiative. If you want to go off on a slight tangent to improve the impact of the content, give it a go. Being creative is what you’re being paid for, after all.
Likewise, if the client asks for changes or additions to the content, do what you can to be helpful without mentioning pay. Reasonable revision requests are a part of each job.
9. Go the Extra Mile
Clients are much more likely to hire you again if you exceed their expectations. If you only ever do exactly what you’re expected, sooner or later the client may discover another freelancer that is willing to do more. Here are a few examples of going the extra mile:
- Suggest a more compelling title that is also more SEO friendly.
- Inform the client of a trending news story that would suit their blog.
- Include a graphic or image in the content.
- Use credible research sources from high-ranking websites.
- Use your own expertise to question the brief if you think it’s off track.
The extra value you offer will set you apart from the competition.
Nurture Your Working Relationships
Freelance writing is a competitive marketplace, so it’s important to treat every new client with care. You’ll be surprised at how the little things can make a big difference to how clients perceive you as a writer.
Follow these suggestions and you’re more likely to get referrals, turn one-off assignments into regular work, and develop lasting relationships that give you a busy writing schedule for years to come.
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