Writing for clients, whether you’re a freelancer or professional marketer, requires a level of dedication and attention to detail that many other types of work don’t need. It also takes a degree of professionalism, if you’re to be successful and generate enough repeat orders to make it worth your while. What exactly is the “secret sauce” that enables you to improve your customer’s experience, leave clients wanting more, and deliver ongoing content orders that keep you in business? We believe it’s a combination of several factors:
Easy Contact and Order Process
Clients love a writer who is easy to get hold of. It’s even better if they can place their content orders online or use a methodology that doesn’t require tracking you down and having a personal conversation. You’re likely to get more assignments this way than someone whose only form of communication is a telephone.
Make it happen: Create an automated process for clients to request work. It doesn’t need to be a fancy e-commerce system; a list of standard questions or a form on your website that can be emailed to you could help clients submit their request along with all the supporting information.
The immediacy of the Internet has made fast action essential to avoid missing the boat. That translates into clients wanting content within a couple of days at the most, not having to wait months for you to deliver.
Make it happen: Determine a reasonable turnaround time for each assignment, and allow for an extra 24-hour contingency period. Ensure that you always have some spare capacity in the week, if not every day. That way, if a loyal client comes in with an unexpected order, you won’t have to turn them away and risk losing them to the writer or company that can help them in a jam.
High Quality Work
Naturally, the quality of your content carries the highest priority when it comes to retaining clients, but it’s not only about how you write. Quality also depends on accuracy of your facts and careful editing of your work, as well as a professional layout and attractive appearance. And there are few things worse than submitting a piece of writing that doesn’t follow the subject matter requested by the client.
Make it happen: Proofread your work thoroughly and check that you have fulfilled the requested assignment fully. Even if you know the document is only for draft purposes and the copy will be published online manually, presenting it attractively and with suitable formatting can make a world of difference to the client’s opinion of you. Follow the client’s instructions carefully, questioning any that don’t seem to make sense.
Few serious clients honestly want the cheapest work they can get. Most would rather pay a little more for quality work, and if you undervalue yourself and your product it’s possible the client will do so too.
Make it happen: Research the going rates for the writing work you do, then compare these to the hourly rate you’d ideally like to earn. Consider the value to the client of the work you deliver, and choose a rate that aligns favorably with all three variables.
Adherence to Deadlines
Few breakdowns in business are as annoying and potentially damaging as not adhering to deadlines. Whether these are for the delivery of content for the website, products for sale or raw materials for manufacturing, the outcome is the same: delays cost money.
Make it happen: Don’t agree to a deadline that you might not be able to keep. If you have any doubts whatsoever, rather request longer for delivery than running late. If you’re finished ahead of the deadline, great. In an emergency, most clients will be prepared to give you extra time if you don’t make a habit of asking for it.
Going the Extra Mile
As with everything in business, a writing career is more likely to be successful if you always look for opportunities to go the extra mile. Spend five minutes longer on the work to check your accuracy. Ask clarification questions if there are contradictory instructions. Add a link to a suitable suggested image so your client doesn’t have to search for one. Run your work through Copyscape and paste the results at the foot so the client knows you have checked for duplication. Cite your sources, whether it’s required or not. Focus on delivering your very best work every day, and you’ll never have to look for new clients or work.