Your Job: Make Their Job Easier

Once you secure a project, what is your next main objective?

Most freelance writers would say something like, "Deliver exactly what the client is asking for, plus a little extra."

That's true, but I submit that your number one job is to make the client's job easier.

I'll give you some specifics in just a minute, but first let's recap the week so far.

We've been talking about developing non-writing communication skills to help you grow your freelance writing business faster.

We've covered everything from how to make a good first impression to what questions to ask in a client interview to how to structure a winning proposal.

More than the words you use at these different points in the project cycle, it's the positioning and verbal skills you employ that make the difference.

Your attitude should be, "Here's what I can do for you. If you accept this proposal, great. I'll deliver some great sales copy and some marketing ideas to put into action. If you don't, that's okay. We may not be a good match, and I have plenty of other people to spend my time with and use my talents for."

You don't say that word for word, of course, but that type of positioning and attitude shows you to be professional.

Let's continue with what I consider your main job: making your client's job easier.

Think about it. Your client can probably choose from a number of writers who produce quality work.

How do you stand out and become their "go to" writer? Go beyond what your proposal stated and try to make your client's job easier …

  1. Communicate your goal to them. Yes, actually tell them that one of your goals is to make their job easier. "Mr. Client, as we go through this project and future projects together, I'll not only deliver great results, but I also want to make your job easier. Whether it's giving you a new idea, taking on an additional assignment if you have a tight deadline, or giving you two versions of copy so you can test, I'll do whatever I can."
  2. Show them how much you care. They need to see that you're genuinely more concerned about their success than the money you're going to make from it. I go into more detail in my article "The Gold Is in the Follow-Up."
  3. Add in extra value. Ever hear, "Under-promise and over-deliver"? Give them two versions of a landing page instead of one. Throw in 10 extra headlines to let them choose which ones to test. Offer a new marketing angle to implement. Send them articles that pertain to their business.
  4. Act like their partner. Move to their side of the table and try to solve problems together. Instead of viewing the project as a typical contracted writer, look at things from their perspective. Use verbiage like, "One thing we could do is … " or "If we tried this, I think we'd increase response." Be an ongoing source of ideas for them, which will definitely make their job easier.
  5. Be likeable. Take two writers of equal ability. Which one gets the edge? The one who's more likeable.

How does that make their job easier? Business and marketing are stressful. Anything you can do to lighten their load will move you up on their "go to" list of freelance writers.

One last thing that goes without saying: meet deadlines. I wish I could tell you I had a 100% record on this myself, but it's my goal going forward.

Yes, your number one job is to make your client's job easier. If you really want to stand out, slap this tagline on your business card or website (or at least keep it in mind): "I make your job easier."

And if you want to improve your chances of retaining that client for the long term, read my article "The Gold Is in the Follow-Up."

Freelance writers are always looking for new ideas, so if you have anything to add to this list, please leave a comment. I'd like to hear what you've done to make your client's job easier and how it paid off for you in the end.

Until October 30th:
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Published: July 5, 2012

4 Responses to “Your Job: Make Their Job Easier”

  1. Steve,

    Sure appreciate your contribution here and your ideas are right on the money.

    If you want to succeed as a copywriter, you need to develop empathy.

    Empathy means you are able to walk the walk and talk the talk and put yourself in the shoes of your client.

    Empathy means you are able to come up with solutions even before your client has asked you any questions.

    With empathy, you can spot opportunities and develop new angles to old problems.

    Clients tend to value copywriters who are on the same page.

    Archan MehtaJuly 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

  2. Thanks, Steve! I'm ashamed to say that it's been a give and take relationship between us. Let me explain... You, and all the other admired Copywriters who contribute to "The Writer's Life" each and every day have been giving, and I, I have been taking. You offer insights, tips and real-world experience from the written word trenches. I will no longer sit back and "take". I read every issue of the "Writer's Life" and that's no B.S.! So, to comment(give) on your article today, point #4 is my favorite! Why? A 2-letter word that begins with "w" and ends with "e". Thanks, Steve!

    Lava327July 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

  3. Hi Steve, Great advice. I always do that and it works. One other service I provide specifically when writing web page copy is to look at competitors sights. This shows how they are presenting their services, what terminology they are using and what they are including that I can suggest to my client. They love that I bring new ideas to the table.

    Malia DurbanoJuly 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

  4. @Archan - thanks.

    @Lava327 - Hey, this is how we all start! Glad I could help. I like #4 as well, just slightly changing the language we use in person, just like in writing, makes a big difference. Look forward to seeing you take off in your business - keep me posted.

    @Malia - Great idea looking at competitors' sites. We need to constantly be learning, hey? Thanks.

    Steve RollerJuly 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm


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