The best clients have a clear vision in mind of style and content–and communicate that clearly to freelancers. Often, this makes the difference between a productive morning buzzing through creative content, and a slow morning spent writing, rewriting, and brainstorming your way through 500-word articles. With the new WriterAccess premium orders, clients can provide writers with targeted media and documentation, in service of the best article, and writers have more opportunity to connect with clients about content. Communication tips ensure that writer-client communication stays goal-oriented and professional while helping to create great content.
Sneak a Peek: When an assignment comes down the line, pressing the claim button before anyone else is paramount. Once you’ve snagged the assignment, spend a few minutes reviewing the timeline, article scope, and any additional information given. If you find something unclear, reach out to the client. Your writer’s mind can begin organizing content and crafting a story, even if you’re not planning on writing yet.
Say What You Mean–But Nicely: If you’re not sure where a client wants a particular piece to go, asking before you start writing may save you rewrite time later. Don’t be afraid to touch base. Try saying something like “It would help me write the best possible blog post if I knew a little more about X” and never shoot off curt or casual remarks like “What do you mean?” Clients immersed in their own industries might not realize they’re not being clear. As a writer, you’re the intermediary between clients, who are experts in their industry, and potential customers, who may not be. To effectively explain concepts, you need to understand the full context.
Check In: If something comes up as you write or if you have a last-minute concern upon finishing a piece, send the client a quick check-in note asking for feedback on tone, content, or references. This can build your reputation as reliable and responsive, especially if the client comes back with edits. This is also a good time to say thanks for the work and demonstrate openness toward future assignments.
These tips can go a long way toward drawing out clients’ real expectations, especially if they provide barebones instructions. When faced with someone who provides little information, politely ask for clarification or try stating the instructions back to the client. “It seems like you want a blog post on mobile marketing methods. Is your audience small businesses or large corporations?” can help you create better content.
When the pressure is on, it can be easy to get mad at a client for not giving you enough information, but good writing doesn’t come out of ill temper. If a deadline looms, give an assignment a shot and leave a note asking for feedback or explaining decisions you made. With a little coaxing and generous feedback, you can turn more of your content services clients into dream clients, deliver higher-level content, and have more fun doing it.
Lindsey D is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.