There are all sorts of freelance writers who are ready and willing to leap on just about any content task you set them to. However, a very small percentage of them are actually capable of carrying out their tasks with high proficiency, organization, and knowledge.
The great news is that the things you can do to become a better writer, will not only serve to increase your knowledge-base, but will also show an increased level of professionalism to current or prospective clients.
First Steps to Go from Slow-to-Pro
Fortunately, it can take very little to turn an adept freelance writer into an exceptional one. Practicing a short ‘new client’ ritual is one great place to start. When you have initial contact with a client, you will almost always be given a fair amount of information.
Take notes as your conversation flows. Even a seemingly simple project may have elaborate details. Do not run the risk of failing a request to confirm the clients project requirements.
Repeat back any hard to understand web site addresses or phone numbers for confirmation.
Do The Research
Your first step should always be to do some quick research on your clients website or business. It should remain your first priority, as it is highly important as a freelance writer to always be aware of personal knowledge-base limitations, and to be able to express that to a prospective client if need be. It can also be critical to your networking abilities as well.
If you are upfront with a client about your lack of knowledge on their topic, they can either decide to seek another writer, allow you the chance to impress them with your research skills, or even just offer you another source that you can ‘re-write’ for their purposes. However, allowing them to wait five days before telling them so is unlikely to gain you any referrals, or the shot at learning the subject matter, or even the opportunity to write on different topics for that client.
The quickest research method may be to:
- Google it.
- Read the clients ‘about me’ or history page.
- Check Alexa rankings.
This method of quick research will produce all the information you will need to begin to apply the correct research methods for your topic.
Follow Writing Guidelines
While this would seemingly require little explanation, it is no big secret that many writers fail on projects due to not following the guidelines provided by a client, or a website you are utilizing for one.
Although some may fail simply because of the lack of focus on the writing guidelines, others can and do fail when they decide that they know the best way to write an article, and that the clients instructions are wrong.
Never assume that you know any of the reasons why a client may request a particular format or even the usage of words or phrasing that may not sound quite right to you. You can avoid a lot of trouble by simply following directions, and keeping in mind the writing guidelines when conducting your research.
Drop the Diva
In the same context as the previous issue, all writers, regardless of their skills, or past projects large and small, need to remember that as a freelance writer or content creator, each and every job is the beginning of a new element of your continuing education.
Although you may be knowledgeable on a topic, you are unlikely an ‘expert’ on many if any. Representing yourself as one is highly likely to come back to haunt you if you do not have more than general intelligence on the clients subject.
Aside from being able to work in your pajamas, little or no higher education is required for many who have extremely lucrative freelance writing careers. However, those who are earning top dollar in freelance writing can tell you, it is hard work, and you can sweat just as easily in pajamas.
Part 2 coming Wednesday!