Freelance Writers Should Pay Attention to Detail

One common mistake that I have come across with other freelance writers is the failure to pay attention to details. I have seen this on open bids to projects, and in outsourced work that has been turned in to me. Following instructions exactly as they are given should be a priority. A countless number of times, details are overlooked, and it can cause clients frustration.

I have seen responses to ads that have clear requirements, specific questions, and obvious preferences, yet they are ignored partially or all together. For example, if I put up an ad that says, “Brand New Freelance Writers Only” why would someone with years of experience apply? Or, if the ad asks for the following: years of writing experience, rate per word, 2 samples, why do some people just throw up a generic response, attach 5 samples, and expect to get hired? Here are some tips on impressing editors and buyers with your attention to instructions and detail:

-Read the ad/submission guidelines, application instructions, and assignment details carefully. Reading these things more than once is a good idea, and you should check to make sure that you followed the instructions before turning in anything.

-When applying, use the method that they prefer (email, phone call, hard copy mailing). Customize the experience you share and highlight qualities that give you an edge on the specific project you are applying for. Use similar words and phrases found in the ad in your response. If the client specifically notes what they don’t want or what they do want, answer it. For example, if an ad says, “All content must be original and will be checked by copyscape.” Your response should be similar to: “My content is always original.” “I always adhere to copyright law.” or “I guarantee that my writing is 100% original.” (Of course, you should only respond that way if it is true.)

-When working on an assignment: Use the file format, font, and style the client/editor wants. Turn in the work in the way they request (via email attachment, in the body of an email, mail hard copy, zip file, etc.) Read the assignment details over and over for do’s and don’ts. Ask preference questions about any aspect of the project that may make a difference, such as tone, audience, style, and length. When in doubt, ask the client, and make sure that your question is not already answered in the initial assignment details.

My message to freelance writers today is PAY ATTENTION.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “…For example, if I put up an ad that says, “Brand New Freelance Writer’s Only”…”

    Assuming that you meant the plural of “writers” rather than the possessive (“Writer’s”), I’ll bite.

    WHERE has anyone seen an ad that says “Brand New Freelance Writers Only”?

    I have been looking at ads for freelance writers with more than casual interest, and they all want to see something I’ve published. Which leaves me out. Or they want to see my sheepskin as evidence of having graduated with a degree in journalism or some such. I know a journalism major — he just graduated, doesn’t write at all, works in a video store and plays “World of Warcraft” twelve hours a day.

    So where are these jobs for newbies like me?

    Just wondering…

  2. […] Why Freelancers Need to Focus on Details Filed under: general freelance writing tips — writtenquality @ 8:57 am Tags: blogging, earn money writing, freelance writing, freelance writing career, freelance writing jobs, freelance writing tips, writing, writing for money A while back I wrote a post titled: Freelance Writers Should Pay Attention to Detail […]

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