As a writer, you may think your main job is to make your articles look pretty, read smoothly and be free of extraneous errors; however, there is one component of working as a writer that most newbies to the field don’t think about – the needs of the client. This is especially true if you work online with clients from all over the world.
Although many writers work for themselves by creating their own publications, many times, taking on a new client can keep the bank account active until the next book is complete. People need writing services for all kinds of reasons, and in all kinds of industries and niches. Whether you work as a writer or an editor – or both, it is crucial to understand exactly what they want from you before you get started.
Here are a few tips for better client communication:
- Communicate Often – Thanks to programs like Skype and Facebook Messenger, it’s easy to keep in contact with clients. Aside from telephone and email, collaboration during Skype calls, where you can share your screen, can make all the difference, especially if your client has trouble with the English language.
- Report Your Progress Each Day – Many freelancers fail to report how things are progressing on a regular basis. Even if you just send a message or email at the end of the day with a quick outline of what you did and where you are, your client will be certain to appreciate the gesture.
- Ask Questions – Instead of assuming you know what your client wants, don’t hesitate to contact them if you have a question. It’s better to take the time to ask a question than to submit something that is way off base. Asking questions shows you care enough to double check, and most clients are grateful for the extra effort.
- Respect Deadlines – If you don’t follow any other tips in this article, follow this one. For writers and editors, your final deadline is the mother lode. If you don’t respect deadlines, you will not make it as a writer or editor. Make sure you make a note of your deadline. I keep a calendar nearby, but you can use an online version, such as Google calendar, or even both, to remind you.
- Be Flexible – You may be a stickler for active voice, but if your client prefers passive, bite the bullet and write the article the way they want it, not the way you want it. For example, one of my clients prefers to use the percent symbol, instead of writing it out as a whole word. I prefer to avoid the usage of symbols, but since he writes investment pieces, it suits him, which is fine with me.
Remember, the bottom line is to make your client happy, so listen to them carefully. Dissect their instructions and create a bullet list out of them to make it easier for you to follow each key element. Just like you would review your writings with eagle eyes, you want to review your client’s instructions with them, as well.
Your main goal is to have a client who walks away from the project feeling more than just satisfied. You want them to be so thrilled with your work, they can’t wait to recommend you to others. After all, word of mouth is your most powerful mode of advertising when it comes to attracting clients. By being extra mindful of what they want from you, you’ll be able to deliver exactly what they expect and desire.