Professional content writers have rules to follow just like any other kind of professional out there. However, since quite a few are freelance business writers, they don’t have formal rules that are agreed to and apply for all customers. If you’re looking for some guidance on behaviour to protect your professional relationship with the customer, take a look at some of the most basic yeses and noes to keep everything a-okay.
- DO get back to your customer in 24 hours: Whether the customer is asking for a quote, requesting an update, or just checking in, make sure you reply to them in 24 hours or less. It won’t take long to write an email back after all since most of us type around 60+ WPM! It shows professionalism and helps them see that you care about their project.
- DO ask for clarification if you need it: Sometimes a detail may seem clear at first glance but then require further clarification after the fact. Don’t be shy in asking for clarification even if you feel a little sheepish in doing it. The client will always prefer you to ask for clarification beforehand than commenting after the fact that it wasn’t clear. Again, this comes down to professionalism in action.
- DO offer a revision on your work: I know I know, revisions are frustrating and embarrassing for most content writers, but they’re critical in showing your client that you want to make them happy with their final product. You can charge for them, of course, but regardless of whether you go free or paid, keep your communication polite and respectful even if they don’t. Remember, you’re a pro!
- DON’T charge for additional services unnecessarily: Charging for extra services is okay, but make sure that they’re services that require extra effort. For example, don’t charge for PDF conversion, since it requires no extra charge. You can charge, however, for anchor text formatting, since that does require extra time and effort. Be respectful of what you charge for.
- DON’T assume that you’re in charge: This is a tricky one. Ideally, the relationship between business writer and client is a partnership, but at the end of the day, your client is the one who holds the money bag. Don’t assume that you’re in charge of setting the deadline, word count and other assumptions. You can have your recommendations and enforce your minimums (such as with deadlines) but your client does have the final say. If you don’t like it, don’t work with them!
- DON’T spring a change in price on them after completion: No one, I repeat, no one, likes to find out that there is a hidden extra charge or a price change after the work has been completed. If you find that there needs to be a change (such as a bump in word count or extra formatting, for example) to benefit the client, stop the work and check with them first. Explain the extra charges and why you think they’re important. If they approve of them, go ahead. If they don’t, listen to them. The charge on the invoice should never, ever be a surprise to the client!
The bottom line
Relationships between writer and customer can be hard to get right at first, especially if you’re just starting out. When you aren’t sure how to approach a situation, reverse it so that you are the client. How do you want to be approached? What kind of details would you like to know? These tips will help you keep to the behaviour yeses as much as possible. Have any more you’d like to add? Share them below!
Kelterss is an experienced freelance business writer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creating Writing. Having served over 1100 customers while maintaining a 4.9/5 star rating, Kelterss is looking to focus her professional services in writing product descriptions and blog posts.