Quick announcement: I’ll be traveling to Manila and Tokyo from June 11 to July 13, so I’ll have limited access to the web and probably won’t be able to respond to emails, tweets, and comments for the time period. Don’t worry though, I have some content lined up for that time, so you can expect my newsletters/posts to arrive on schedule.
On a related note, my travel plans also meant I had to let go of a handful of short-term gigs and clients so I can focus on finishing pending projects and creating content in advance for the my long-term clients.
So I sent a “goodbye for now” email to a few people telling them about my situation and why I won’t be able to write for them for a while. Some of their responses were quite telling. They made me realize that being a good freelance writer isn’t just about writing well.
Your way with words isn’t the only thing you bring to the table when dealing with clients. As you’ll learn in this post, there are plenty of other things that they value in in freelance writers.
Below are the responses that I got from the clients that I had to let go of, along with my thoughts on what they mean for writers:
“It’s so hard to find a writer we can trust.”
This isn’t just about keeping their secrets or future plans under wraps. One of the biggest drivers of trust for clients (aside from keeping your mouth shut when you need to) is how you keep your word.
I’ve heard horror stories from businesses about writers who flaked out at the last minute. Or, who promised to deliver content on time, but failed to do so. These kinds of actions break your client’s trust and can pretty much guarantee that they won’t hire you again.
That’s why it’s important that you be very mindful of the promises you make. Don’t say “yes” when you’re not sure, and don’t make any guarantees or commitments you can’t keep.
Consistency is another big one.
Do you consistently deliver quality content? Do you regularly send in your work on time? The more dependable and predictable you are with your work, the more “trust points” you’ll get.
“Finding a writer who really knows the industry can be tough.”
This is why I’m always advocating that writers find a niche to specialize in. The greater your expertise is, the more valuable you are to the client.
Being an expert in a particular industry also makes it easier for YOU to write content and generate ideas. It also enables you to set higher rates.
“It’ll be difficult to find another writer who knows my voice, habits, and preferences the way you do.”
I got this from someone I ghostwrite for, though it also applies to just about any type of client. Remember that each business has its own voice and clients have different preferences.
For example, I have a client who doesn’t like it when I link to other sites, so I make sure to steer clear of doing that when I’m writing for her. I also have a client who loves it when I include statistics, so I make it a point to add some studies and data in my articles for him.
Do the same thing with the people you work with. Study their styles, likes and dislikes, even their little quirks and tailor your approach accordingly.
What other non-writing factors or skills do clients love? Weigh in below.
PS: This is my first time visiting Tokyo, so if you have any suggestions on cool places to see there, please let me know in the comments. 🙂