We’ve all been there: a client hires you to write some sort of “social media” content without knowing a hashtag from a hashbrown. Our role as writers is to provide a valuable service, to help translate our client’s vision into customer friendly copy that will positively promote their brand and message. Our clients seek us out specifically because they aren’t skilled writers or content strategists, so a fair about of ignorance is to be expected, sure. But what’s the protocol for nudging your client out from under the rock they’ve been living in?
No One Likes (Or Wants to Pay!) A Know-It-All
The client-writer relationship is a delicate balance. Many clients really appreciate it when you offer suggestions for future content, but it’s important not to come across as too pushy. Try to keep your suggestions concrete and clearly related to how different types of content will help the client improve their bottom line. For example, if you receive an order with an inflated keyword density requirement straight out of the 1990s, you may consider asking if you can write the content with fewer mentions of the keyword so it sounds more natural. Be sure to succinctly tell the client that you’re happy to include the keywords suggested, but that unique, natural content is favored by Google’s search engine. By offering both a suggestion and your rationale, you may actually help your client break their “iceberg of ignorance” and become more savvy in the process of paying you to write their content. Neat!
Are You Providing Content Marketing Services or Damage Control?
While many clients are simply stuck in the dark ages, some of the more unfortunate folks have actually made forays into the fray, and your work will be to clear up their first stumbling social media steps. If a client provides a link to their current account, be sure to check it out so you can see what they’re aiming to accomplish and brace yourself if you see a mess of typos, a spam-filled comments field, or a “professional” Twitter account devoted only to flirtatious exchanges with comely young ladies (true story).
In a situation like this, it’s hard to avoid foot-in-mouth disease, so your best move is to devote yourself to writing super awesome social media content to combat whatever garbage has already been created. With luck, the client will be so thrilled you’re doing all their work for them that they’ll slowly step back from the computer and focus on what they do best: running their business and delegating work to people like you.
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.