Freelance writing doesn’t only consist of writing furiously at the keyboard for long hours at a time. (Although it can and does look like that sometimes.)
Realistically, the majority of the time you’ll spend working as a freelance copywriter professional revolves around:
Digging for sources
And many times, it requires asking clients for specific details.
When you take on a new client or help them launch a new campaign, there’s a lot of learning to do upfront. Here’s how you can learn to write for new copywriting clients to deliver the best outcome.
1. Talk to Them
From a thorough onboarding call to various subject matter expert interviews, the best way to learn about a new client is to have a live conversation with them.
This enables you to ask questions, learn about their goals, familiarize yourself with the history of the company and hear them explain the brand in their own words. It also allows the client to 1) know that you actually care and 2) relay any important information to you without wasting time emailing back and forth.
Bonus tip: For clients that are already content-heavy (blogs, white papers, lead magnets, PR, brand story, etc.), request access to existing assets. Reading through these items prepares you with knowledge the client has already shared with the world, which helps you produce even better writing moving forward.
2. Learn About the Industry
Whether you’re working directly with a client or subcontracting under an agency, take some time to learn about the client's industry. Crypto? Children’s health? SaaS for sales? Get specific and then study some of the current demands, innovations and overarching trends in their niche.
It’s also helpful to briefly review any new studies or publications related to the client’s offer. How are similar products/services helping people? What stats can you find about the industry at large? What’s the general public conversation about the industry’s pros and cons in society?
All these findings build a larger perspective so you don’t get stuck in the nitty-gritty details when sitting down to write.
3. Read Their Website
This one is obvious but sometimes takes time. Read the client’s website (hopefully, they have a decent one 😵💫) and any recent blog posts or press pieces they’ve published. Notice the voice, tone, “mission” and CTAs.
Bonus tip: keep a notes app open on your computer while reading their site for the first time. Jot down any main points that stand out to you. Copy and paste moving quotes from executives or insightful customer reviews. Collect any URLs you’ll need to refer back to, noting which topics they support.
This can save time when writing articles. Instead of going back through their site a dozen times to find what you once read, everything’s in one place with your initial thoughts to reference back to.
4. Access Their Analytics
It might be necessary to review the client’s analytics, especially if you’re doing on-page SEO or building a new content strategy.
Freelance writers typically review analytics from sources like:
Google Search Console
Other SEO software
These let you view useful data like SERP position, keyword rankings, page visits and more. It can help you 1) tailor content to support the client’s organic marketing with SEO, 2) expand on existing topics for their audience segmentation and 3) keep up with crucial industry trends. All are important.
5. Read Their Competitors’ Stuff
If you’re an SEO-savvy writer, you already know the necessity of reading content from the client’s competition. What are they doing well? What are they totally missing? What’s your client’s unique position that can override the competitors’ message?
Serious companies know their competitors. When you’re learning a client, it’s a given to learn this, too. The point of looking at similar businesses in the industry isn’t to copy them. (Don’t copy anyone.)
The whole point is to learn. Weigh the best ideas (and the worst ones). Paper trail high-quality sources. Spot the gaps so you can fill them with value.
6. Utilize Feedback
One of the best ways to learn a new client you’re copywriting for might surprise you: prioritize feedback. At least for the first project or two.
Prompt the client to comment, share their thoughts and approve revisions on what you wrote. Address any concerns; note any edit requests. They might not all be 100% valid — you’re the professional — but this feedback is a huge learning opportunity. Adjust and improve. Respond and offer clarification. Take what you learned into future content creation for them.
There’s a lot that goes into professional copywriting. It can take time to learn a new client, but when you get good at it, it simply becomes part of the process.
Want to start writing top-tier content for your clients or brand? Get in touch with the Hire a Writer team to learn more.