Ask Questions, Avoid Criticizing
In August, WriterAccess took a look at Getting the Most Out of Freelancers with Proper Instructions. Unfortunately for freelance writers, many clients are still learning the process and leaving out crucial information. Freelancers need to get in touch with clients early and ask questions the right way.
Writers have to be certain that the questions they ask cannot be found anywhere in the assignment instructions or accompanying links. Some clients include their company website link as a source for more information. Others expect writers to track their websites down. Before asking if the target audience for a blog article is meant for industry specialists or prospective consumers, a look at previous entries can clear up the issue. About pages and company philosophies can also reveal background content that writers can use in forming the right meaning and tone.
How to Ask
As with any message sent to a client, when asking questions, writers need to be professional and courteous with proper greetings and valedictions. If there are multiple questions, they should be presented clearly in a numbered format to ensure that they will not be skimmed over. Everything asked should have a positive spin so that the client understands how his or her answers will help writers provide better and more accurate content.
What to Ask
Messages should be concise and include only necessary information, but writers must elaborate beyond generic questions, such as in the following ill-mannered message: “Resources? Tone? Audience?” Instead, writers should use important details and present respectful questions such as, “Are there specific resources, like educational or government websites, blogs, or news media sources that you would like me to use?” Clients can point out if they do not want personal blogs or specific competitor websites sourced or linked in the article, a prospect they may not have even considered.
When writers send questions to their clients they cannot criticize the instructions. This is not the place to point out errors or lacking information, or condemn a client for not following instructional guidelines. Writers need to keep the focus on asking for the information they need to complete the assignment. Clients will take notice that their own instructions were lacking the right details and better prepare freelancer writers in the future.
If clients are particularly struggling, or new to the process of using an article writing service, freelancers can suggest that they direct any questions they might have to the help desk of their content services provider.
Clients will be impressed with writers who show dedication to an assignment by asking appropriate questions. Not only will clients learn how to better present their instructions in subsequent projects, but they will also know which writers to hire for content services.
Daniel M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.