Archives for August 2012
“Why Would Someone Pay Me More to Write (SEO) Articles If There are People Willing to Do It for $5?”
Freelance Writing Advice: 3 Things I’ve Noticed That Turn New Clients into Long-Term, Repeat Clients
After this group of loyalists, I’d say I have another 10% to 15% who will use me once or twice, then I won’t hear from them for six or eight months; then they’ll call with a project. Probably another 5% or so will go for a couple of years without contacting me, then out of the blue I’ll hear from them about a project.
So in all, that’s a range of 35% to 55% of my clients who are “consistent to lukewarm” prospects my firm can count on for freelance writing jobs.
Freelance Writers: Do You Know Where 80% of Your Jobs Will Come From?
If you’re familiar with the Pareto Principle, you know that 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your work. So, as I state in this post on How to Market Consistently to Start Earning $100-$200 Per Day as a Freelance Writer, you literally can’t afford to ignore existing clients – especially those you can count on to give you work on a regular basis.
Clients have either told me directly, or I’ve noticed a line or two in our correspondence, what makes them become repeat clients. Following are the top three things that I’ve noticed.
1. Never Miss a Deadline: One of the things I’m most proud of as a freelance writer is that I rarely miss deadlines. In all of my years of freelancing, I think I’ve missed one, maybe two. But it’s rare, rare, rare – believe me. I believe in this policy so strongly, that if my writing firm misses a deadline, the client’s content is free.
Why am I such a stickler for not missing deadlines?
I cut my teeth in the editorial industry at a legal publishing firm in New York City. I learned at this – my first job in publishing/editorial — that missed deadlines cost money. I was a copy editor and eventually a Publication Operations Specialist. This meant I was responsible for whole lines of books worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue – taking them from the time a legal editor submitted the manuscript to me, to just before it the pages were sent off to be printed.
A missed deadline cost money because if I missed my deadline, then the printer missed theirs, then the distribution center missed theirs, then customers (law firms around the world) wouldn’t get the latest legal updates on a particular subject (eg, Bankruptcy Law, which was one of my line of books).
See how critical this can be?
2. Get Them — Quickly: What I mean by this is, get a feel for the type of content your client likes – and deliver it. In order to do this in a timely manner, I ask new clients most of my questions up front – ie, when they first become a client.
In addition to questions, I also ask for existing material (eg, marketing material, competitor site(s) they like) and/or read their current blog/website to get an idea of what their ideal content is. This way, I don’t have to constantly pepper them with questions.
When I send in the first couple of assignments, I ask them to send along feedback to see if we hit the mark or missed it. If we missed it, I ask for specifics on what needs to be changed moving forward.
Usually after the first couple of projects, I rarely have to “consult” with a client again.
Clients are very busy – and so am I. In order to avoid a lot of back and forth, I think they appreciate this initial astute attention to detail so that they don’t have to worry that every time my firm turns in a project that there will be problems.
They know that my team and I “get it” – and so they can rely on us as an extension of their workforce. This is extremely important because it means we make their lives easier. And who doesn’t love someone who can do this for them?
3. Keep Your Client’s Customers in Mind: Sometimes, when you’re writing on a topic, it feels like nothing new can be said. But good research will almost always turn up interesting information that can make your writing stand out. And, this is one thing my firm does to make client content stand out; we don’t regurgitate the same thing that can be found all over the web.
We always write with our client’s customers in mind. We really strive to provide useful information that will cause their customer to have an “aha” moment, or at least an “Hmmm, I didn’t know that” pause.
I expand upon this in the post, How to Land More Clients by Making Your SEO Writing Stand Out from Others.
You don’t have to be a “great” writer like Toni Morrison or John Steinbeck to be a successful freelance writer. But, you must give value to your clients. It’s what will separate you from a lot of other freelancer writers because many just don’t/won’t take the time to care like this.
Conclusion: Freelance Writers — What REALLY Matters to Your Clients
The thing that stuck out to me as I thought about what makes clients become repeat clients is how off the mark we are as freelance writers sometimes. Most of us are so worried about our freelance writing rates (usually being too high); or that our writing isn’t good enough (which is rarely the case), that we forget what makes customers tick.
Survey, after survey, after survey – no matter what product/service you’re selling – has shown that things like rate/price rarely score high as the most important factor when prospects make purchasing decisions.
What matters is usually steeped in an emotion – eg, security (eg, they can count on you to always deliver content on time so they don’t have to worry — and possibly have to explain – some issue to THEIR client.)
In short, make your clients’ lives easier and they’ll reward you with more writing jobs. FYI, this is what writers who charge more seem to intrinsically understand — and why they rarely compete on things like rate (which is common among a lot of freelance writers who charge less).
Please Share Your Thoughts
What do you think makes a client become a repeat client? Have you noticed patterns in your freelance writing business (eg, what percent become repeat clients)? Please share in the comments section below.
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Article Marketing: Insight on How to Sell Information Products Using This Free Form of Internet Marketing
I fired off a quick response, and since self-publishing/information selling seems to be a hot topic (from the number of comments the post I did yesterday received), I thought I’d share this insight.
Email from a Newbie to Self-Publishing about Article Marketing
Have you ever considered higher priced products such as courses? Info marketing is getting big here in the UK as more people copy Dan Kennedy etc I’m new to self publishing, hope you don’t mind a couple of questions??? I went through a lot of stress running my old business, I know how to reduce that stress. I’ve sold my old business. My mission is to help other small business owners avoid the rubbish I went through. But Small business is a competitive niche!
You say article marketing has worked well for you.
Any suggestions on the best [article marketing] sites?
If I submit to more than one article marketing sites do the articles have to be exclusive to each site?
Thanks in advance.
I’ll give some quick answers here and will elaborate in more detail in a not-too-distant future post [Editor note: I will do a longer post soon – promise!].
I use EzineArticles.com. It’s the #1 article marketing directory on the web because they are persnickety about the content they accept, and each article has to be unique. Of course, I also distribute content via my own personal article directory, YuwandaBlack.com.
And RE “went through a lot of stress running my old business …” Have sooooo been there, so good 4 u for chucking the old and doing something else.
Stress kills! 🙂
Inkwell Editorial’s “Information” Courses
Self-Publishing Is Growing!
Before we sum up, one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of readers of this blog are branching out into self-publishing and from the feedback I’ve received, the info dispensed here is helping a lot of newbies.
This just tickles me to no end because the whole purpose of this site is to help others become successful freelance writers – and that could be writing for clients, or writing for yourself . . . or a combination of both (which is what I do).
I’m soooo glad to see so many writers taking charge of their careers like this and diving into self-publishing.
Go get’em tigers!
Share Your Article Marketing Tips / Send In Your Article Marketing Questions
Have any tips along these lines you can share, eg, your favorite article directory, a good article writing service, an effective article marketing strategy, something you’ve always wanted to know about article marketing? Use the comments box below.
And, don’t forget to share this post if you found the info useful. It’s ridiculously easy! All you have to do is click on the Share / Save button at the beginning or end of the post.
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