On the heels of the post where I show off my brand-new business cards that advertise that, yes, I am a writer and blogger, and it is real enough to print on paper, I have a post detailing the things I’ve learned that clients need to learn when working with freelance writers.
- Have realistic expectations
- Fortunately, many clients realize that the piddly price they’re paying for word isn’t enough for us to research a project, add HTML to their specifications, add images and promote the content. Do as much for the writer as possible to get a faster return rate and higher-quality writing.
- We do what you tell us to
- So tell us exactly what you want — the first time! Don’t send something back because we didn’t meet expectations that you didn’t tell us existed. It’s no fair, and it wastes both of our time. Don’t write the entire article, unless you’re looking for a rewrite, but give us enough information to produce what you want. Assume that writers know nothing about the topic at hand.
- Differentiate between suggestions and guidelines
- If you want us to write like Wired.com, tell us. If you want us to use the exact same points in what is, essentially, a rewrite of an article from Wired.com, tell us! Lots of clients provide suggestions and examples, and some people want something a little closer to the source. We can do either, but we need to know what you want, first. Similarly, don’t tell us to cover specific points if you actually want those to be the headings.
- Your article might be one in a stack twenty high
- You get just as much priority as the next. You might even be going through dozens or hundreds of articles submitted from writers yourself, so you can probably understand.
- Web content/copywriting isn’t like writing a book
- Blog posts are casual. They use slang. If you ask for a blog post but reject articles because they’re too casual, then you aren’t asking for the right thing. If you’re outsourcing chapters for your written book, then using writing broker sites doesn’t make sense. It will be a poor fit.
- Writers don’t always see the same thing you do
- I see this all the time on certain broker websites. I send HTML, it breaks. You send a link, it gets cut off. You add a note, but I can’t see it. I might not be able to see your name, client number or even the article I just submitted. When in doubt, send a message.
- Don’t be afraid of being communicative
- At best, we’ll ignore you or opt out of your messages, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Enough with the damned keywords already
- We’re sick of adding 16 instances of the same keyword in 200 words. It’s not readable, and some of your phrases are impossible to work into an article grammatically. Let writers use connecting words or, even better, focus on quality instead of search engine optimization.
- Not everyone knows HTML
- Yes, you’re using this content on your website. No, your writer isn’t responsible for adding all the tags. Many writers aren’t also bloggers. Markup is your responsibility, and just because I happen to be a writer who knows HTML doesn’t mean that I will do your job.
So, writers, what do you have to add to this list?