I’ve just finished writing a website for a lovely client. And I’m very pleased to say that the first draft has gone down very well.
Why is it that you really click with some clients and not with others? Actually, it’s not luck or chemistry, it comes down to these common sense steps:
1) Questions, questions. Find out what the client really wants. I’ve developed a briefing questionnaire.
2) Make sure the client has seen your work. Then they should know what to expect.
3) Give yourself time, if possible. Yes, you want to give a good, fast service. And deadlines are often tight. But this can be at the expense of quality of work. Without sufficient time to think things through and check properly, the job won’t be as good as it could be. Time allows you to distance yourself from a piece of work. You can really make improvements after leaving it for a while.
4) Go the extra mile. I know it’s a cliche, but little things really count. If I’m editing, for example, I’ll search around to make sure company names are spelt correctly and that acronyms are explained. The same goes for people’s names, titles and professions or achievements. You might think it’s not worth putting in details that the client can insert. Well, I save them the effort. Make the job complete.
5) Check, check and re-check, the more eyes the better. I send my work to a great independent proofreader. As a writer, I get too close to close to a piece of work and it’s difficult to see it objectively.
6) Make sure the scope of work is properly agreed. If the job is not defined, it’s impossible to determine whether it’s been completed!
ARE YOU THE RIGHT TYPE FOR THE JOB?
I don’t believe you always HAVE to be within the target market to write successfully for it, although there must be times when it helps. I’ve edited an ezine for teenage girls, which was very enjoyable, and I’ve written for students and young adults without being one myself! Could someone within those target markets have done better? They might have a better handle on the lingo/attitude but judicious editing benefits from maturity.
On the other hand, if you’re going to write about a specialist subject, such as finance or science, you obviously have to have a level of expertise.
I’ll just finish this post by saying that I’m very thankful for all the work I do get and I consider myself lucky to have such great clients!