I consider freelance writing a collaboration: My clients have something they want to communicate, and I want to communicate it in the best possible way. But like any professional freelance writer, I first need to know these 5 things:
1. Who is your audience? Every piece of marketing collateral should be written to someone. You cannot expect writing to engage customers if you are writing to “everyone” because not everyone wants your product or service, lives in the geographic area you serve, can afford what you offer or has a problem you can solve. The better I know your audience, the more my freelance writing will appeal to them.
2. What will you do with the final product? I need to know if the marketing collateral will appear online or in print, so that I know whether to include keywords, links, color photographs, black & white charts, etc. I need to know how a webpage or post fits into an existing website or blog; if a newsletter will be sent both electronically and by snail mail; and if information from an interview will be used as a testimonial in a brochure or as the basis for a case studies or white paper.
3. What is your timeline and budget? Every project takes time to complete; I expect to be paid for my time and expertise. I usually charge by the project–after all these years I can closely estimate how long most writing projects will take–but I can also charge by the hour or by the word. As a professional freelance writer, my goal is to complete your marketing collateral ahead of time and under budget. But to do that, I first need to know your expectations.
4. Who is my contact? Any writing project that will be reviewed by a committee takes far longer and is much more difficult to complete than a project that goes through one central client contact. Multiple reviewers tend to fight with each other, which makes it much harder for me to come up with a final product that everyone likes.
5. Will you be straightforward with me? Clients who tell me when something is wrong give me the chance to fix it; clients who are too polite to criticize make my job harder. The best client criticism is detailed and given in that collaborative spirit I spoke about earlier. As a professional writer, I welcome criticism because I like making clients happy.
If you are not sure about your own answers to any of those questions, give me a call or email me so that we can discuss your project further. A few minutes of conversation should start our collaboration on the right foot.