There’s so much writing work around these days, that professional writers cherry-pick the best jobs. However, if you’re hunting for writing jobs here and there, you won’t get the BEST jobs. You need strategies.
Getting great writing jobs means that you work less, even though you’re making much more. From working with my writing students, I’ve found that the biggest challenge they face is that they don’t ask enough questions.
You need to ask questions, so that you can give your clients exactly what they want.
Here’s an excerpt from Writing Jobs Confidential.
Give Them What They Want
The first question I ask a client is always “What response do you want?” (This is closely followed by “What’s your budget for this?”) 🙂
Let’s say that someone, we’ll call him John Smith (this is a fictitious person, we’re not referring to ANY real John Smiths anywhere, living or dead) wants you to write Web content.
Your first question is: “What response do you want?”
It turns out that John’s an importer. He’s importing a laser resurfacing machine from France. This machine is the latest technology; it’s faster, better, and less expensive than current technology. He wants to sell the machine to beauty salons. He wants beauty salon proprietors to call him, so that he can arrange demonstrations.
That’s what John wants. The content you write for him MUST do that.
Immediately, your mind starts swirling with ideas of what you need to do, to give John want he wants.
You’re thinking about:
* Beauty salons, and their customers who need laser resurfacing (WHY? What does this do?)
* Current laser resurfacing products on the market — how many beauty salons have these machines? How many don’t? What’s the return on investment for these machines? How’s laser resurfacing promoted by the salons which offer it? Where do salons buy these machines now? How do they finance them?
You write all the questions down, as you think of them. You ask John additional questions. You ask him what his budget is for this project.
When you ask about the budget, John may tell you, or he may say that he doesn’t know. If he doesn’t know, persist. Ask more questions. You want his ball park figure. Even at this stage, you’ll have a ball park figure at the back of your mind.
My ball park figure would be $2,500 or above; yours could be much less, or much more, it doesn’t matter. You just want to get more of an idea of what John needs, and what he’s willing to pay, before you spend more time on this prospect. So persist until he gives you a ball park figure.
If the figure John gives you is too low, you’re done. Shut this down. You can’t afford to spend any more time on this.
On the other hand, even if John’s thinking less than half of what you need, you can send him a quote.
You tell John that you’ll send him a quote within 24 hours.
Research (quickly), and then quote
At this stage, you do some quick research on the Web. You might even call a local beauty salon to ask about these machines. You spend no longer than 20 minutes on this, because John hasn’t paid you any money yet.
You’re just doing quick research, so that you can send John a quote. This research is essential. If John gives you the go ahead, and sends you a deposit, you need to know how long the project will take, so that you can slot this project into your calendar.
Basically you’re asking yourself:
* How long for the research? Is the material I need readily available?
* How long for the writing?
* How much will I charge?
Send the quote, with an invoice for a deposit
Spend around 20 minutes on the research, and then ten minutes on typing up the quote.
Your quote includes:
* What you’re charging, and a description of what you’ll do for the money you charge;
* How many revisions (I suggest two — these will rarely be necessary);
* The timeline — how long the project will take.
The more you give clients exactly what they want, the more income you will make.
Writing jobs are thick on the ground. Few writers however have the strategies to maximize their income from those writing jobs.
Now you have another tool in your toolbox, make the most of it… 🙂
Are you using upsells? They’re a major strategy you should be using with every client.
Contact, and contact again — start with intro pitches.
The simplest way ever to find writing jobs: Google.
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