As more and more “integrated marketing specialists,” “social media consultants” and “content marketing brokers” hire freelancers to create content, writers are getting less and less information when receiving assignments. That’s because the people assigning content these days have often never created it, have never worked as newspaper or magazine editors, and are only expert at distributing content.
I’ve actually had conversations with marcom people at major clients (if I posted their names, you’d all know them) that have included exchanges like…
Client: “We need an article on buying vs. leasing a vehicle. It’s 500 to 700 words and we need it by September 28th.”
Me: “Um, can you tell me who the audience is? Women? Men? Younger? older?
Client: “Wow, that’s a great question. Let me ask the dealership.”
Me: “What voice do you want me to use?”
Me: If I write it in the second person, it’s more personal. If I write it in the third person, it’s more like a news article and more authoritative.
Client: “That’s awesome. How about a mix of both?”
Me: “Can you tell me where this going to appear? Is it the print version of the newspaper or their online portal?”
Client: “I’ll check on it and get back to you.”
I’m. not. kidding.
As a professional content creator, you’ll impress your clients if you have an assignment sheet they can use to guide you in creating their content. If you present a boilerplate content assignment sheet at the beginning of your client discussions, you’ll not only impress them with your professionalism, you’ll also avoid having to ask awkward questions after the assignment has been given, making your client look foolish.
Here are some tips for getting better assignments from your clients.