Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.As a freelance writer, my ultimate goal is to get clients to approve my work. Write, submit, get paid, move on. That’s freelance writing in a nutshell.
But it shouldn’t be.
If you think about it, the typical writer-client relationship is very limited. We put our hearts and souls into (hopefully) creating brilliant content, and when it’s all said and done, we have no idea what happens after our work gets approved. It’s part of the deal of being a ghostwriter, I guess; that’s why we get paid the big bucks. But examining this relationship leaves me with more questions than answers.
For instance, most of my work revolves around marketing. If I write a piece of marketing copy for a client, I’d really like to know how it actually affected their marketing efforts. Did my writing help send sales through the roof? Or, did my copy lead to less than desirable results?
It’s not just about curiosity, though. The work we do is also a reflection of how we’re performing as writers. Shouldn’t we have the right to know these things? If my marketing copy leads to zero sales, that’s something I should know about. Because if I don’t know that, I’m going to think I wrote something amazing when, in reality, it sucked.
Being left in the dark also hurts writers from a promotional standpoint. Every time we pitch our qualifications to clients, there are certain blanks that we have no way of filling in. As a result, our ability to present our skills is very limited. “My marketing copy has led to a 20 percent increase in online sales” is infinitely more significant to clients than “I have written dozens of pieces of email marketing copy”. And yet, very few of us can pitch this way because we don’t have the necessary information.
Ultimately, these blank spaces hurt our earning potential and makes it harder for the best writers to stand out. That’s something that affects clients as well. Clients always want writers who are capable of delivering results. But how can clients have any level of comfort hiring writers who don’t truly know how good their work is? What’s more, how can clients expect writers to have this information if they don’t give it out themselves?
I encourage clients to keep writers apprised of how their work translates into sales, pageviews, or any other relevant metrics. They don’t have to provide detailed figures or divulge any confidential information; a simple, informal email with a few key numbers would be more than fine. This would allow writers to see the true value of their work, and it would help clients drill down to what really works for them. In the end, these follow-ups would further the writer-client relationship in a way that benefits both sides.
Bryan B is a freelance writer that lives in Long Island, NY. He no longer considers winter to be his favorite season.