Freelance Writers: Ask Your Prospective Clients These Questions
Congratulations on landing your latest content writing client. Now before you even think of starting to write, do remember the questions freelance writers must ask their new client.
So, whether you’re getting on your first discovery call with the client or requesting a written brief, get your questions ready.
Let us explain.
While businesses hire content writers and copywriters to create fresh content or breathe life into their existing content, often they lack clarity themselves.
As a result, often, your content writing client will fail to communicate their exact expectations from the writing project. And in such a situation, you, the writer may lack a sense of clear direction.
Unable to understand the requirement, you may even end up creating content that’s far different from what your client needed.
Since not all customers provide detailed briefs, it is imperative for you to respect the uniqueness of each project and pay attention to the questions you must ask as a freelance writer!
Understanding the project’s scope is the first and foremost step to producing relevant, focused and likeable content.
THE PROJECT BRIEF: 10 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE WRITING
If you are a freelance writer wanting to excel at each writing project you take up, accept that the client’s expectations are always going to be high.
If a new client does not provide enough background information, it is up to you to prepare and ask the right questions so you can gather sufficient information to create killer content and effective copy.
For your convenience, here is a checklist of essential questions to ask a client before putting pen to paper!
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR COMPANY/BUSINESS
What is your company about?
This is a straightforward question, but it still needs to be asked. It’s because a business summary provides unique company-specific information that throws light on the company’s soul, their functioning, and their identity.
It is good practice to encourage your client to provide detailed answers since their inputs will empower you to lend the content a unique voice.
Other relevant questions include queries like ‘When was the company/business founded?’, etc.
DEFINE YOUR PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS
Who is your target audience?
This is a million-dollar question, one that requires a clear and precise answer.
Ask the client to give you a profile of their target market – their age group, gender, location, and preferences.
Knowing who you are writing for is essential for producing content that gets the desired results – higher sales, greater newsletter sign-ups, or greater inquiries.
DEFINE YOUR CORE COMPANY VALUES
What is your core brand values?
To write content that resonates with the business/company, you must understand the client’s top 3 business values and beliefs.
- What are their short and long-term goals?
- What’s their vision for the future of their company?
- What is the mission behind the company?
Understanding the core of the business will give you a unique perspective and help you write with a distinctive voice.
Remember, there is a lot of general information you can find online using a simple search. However, when it comes to company-specific information, your research begins and ends with your client.
DESCRIBE YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
What do you sell?
Ask the client to give you a comprehensive overview of the products they sell and the services they offer. It is the soul of their business. And you as the writer must understand them well.
Once you know about their offerings in detail, your job is to present these services and products in a genuine, convincing, and focused manner.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES?
How do you solve your customers’ problems?
As a copywriter, it is your job to write such relevant and effective content that highlights the advantages a customer can derive from using a product or service.
Remember, what defines an excellent product or service is not its features, its benefits.
So, make sure to ask your clients to define how their goods or services can solve the customers’ problems and assist them in improving their lives.
DEFINE YOUR COMPETITORS
Who do you see as your competitors?
Knowing what you are up against is always recommended as it helps in research.
During the initial stages, remember to ask your clients to profile their competitors.
Once you know who they are, look at their websites to understand their core competencies and how they operate.
WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S USP?
How are you different from your Competitors?
Now that you know who their competitors are, find out how your client scores over their competition.
By understanding a brand’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), you can write powerful and valuable content that reflects the company’s core competencies.
Also, it will give you the chance to tell the readers why they shoud buy from your client.
DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY’S STRENGTHS
Why should your prospective customers buy from you or do business with you?
This is another crucial question that needs specific answers from your client.
The only way you can position your client correctly is if you know about their business strength and their weakness.
Encourage your client to define the top reasons why a prospective customer should buy from them over their competitors.
Some of the top reasons may include – reliability, on-time deliveries, a qualified team, high-end machinery, and international standards, etc.
DEFINE THEGOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THIS PROJECT/CONTENT
What is the objective of developing this content?
Whether you are authoring an article, web content or rewriting existing copy, it is useful to find out the client’s goals with regards to the content.
The goal may be to build a positive image, achieve a higher turnover or communicate something important to their readers.
Whatever the reason may be, knowing the purpose and objective will help you to tailor the content accordingly.
Can you send me a detailed Sitemap?
Before you start working on the content, it is good practice to ask the client for a sitemap of pages or topics for which they need content.
Other than that, understanding the client’s expectations with regards to the content’s word count is also a clever idea, especially if you charge per word rates for the content you develop.
A client may give you a free hand when it comes to how long a content piece needs to be. However, there may be others who are clear about how wordy or succinct they would like a write-up to be.
Hence, it is ideal to discuss their preferences well in advance.
ALSO READ: 5 Mistakes Every Writer Must Avoid
To make your freelance writing career successful, you must start each writing project the correct way. And this includes asking the client relevant questions to understand the project brief.
It will not only give you an edge over other writers but also help you to complete each project successfully.
LAST UPDATED: 30th December 2020