How to Build a Writer Client Relationship

Working as a freelance writer offers you the freedom to work where you want on the projects you want. However, you also need money to run a successful freelance writing business, and to get that, you need clients. How well you build relationships with your clients determines how successful your business will be. Here are steps to take to successfully build a writer-client relationship and maintain it.


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    Choose customers you can work with. While you can't be as choosy when starting your freelance writing business as you can later on, don't take jobs you're not suited for or take on clients who create more stress than you can handle. It helps if you have some common ground where you develop mutual respect for each other as people, as sustainable writer-client relationships are built on respect.
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    Connect with the right people. If your prospective client is an organization, know who the decision-makers are, as well as who are the people who can best represent you to the decision makers. If your prospective client is an individual, you may want to find a mutual friend who can help represent you to that person.
    • Once you find those people, make it a point to learn their names and use them. People like to be addressed by name; it shows you respect and value them.
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    Keep the lines of communication open. Providing your clients with the means to reach you and having ready ways to reach them is essential in maintaining a writer-client relationship.
    • Your correspondence should always include your contact information: name, company name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
    • Even if you work remotely and communicate with your client via e-mail, you should have your client's physical/mailing address, phone and fax number in case your e-mail communication goes down at a critical moment.
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    Communicate regularly and clearly with your clients. Having the means to communicate with your clients and them with you establishes the writer-client relationship, but you need to use those means to maintain that relationship.
    • Lay out your expectations for each other early on and in as formal a manner as you are both comfortable with. Some writers can do this with a detailed project proposal or brief, while other writers and their clients prefer to formalize everything in the contract. Be sure you're promising your client something you can reasonably expect to deliver.
    • Keep the tone of your written communication professional. Avoid slang and text-message abbreviations in your correspondence, and review it before sending for wording that could be misinterpreted or come off sounding rude or cocky.
    • Don't be strictly business with your clients; be willing and able to make small talk at the right times to show you're interested in them as people.
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    Be organized. Being organized is important in any business, whether working face-to-face or online.
    • Knowing the e-mail or instant messaging names of your clients will let you know which files you need to look at before you reply, saving time.
    • Hang onto your correspondence, both what you receive and what you send. You can set up folders within your e-mail application for messages your clients send you, and you can blind carbon-copy your own e-mail address to send yourself a copy of the messages you send to your clients.
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    Give your clients good service. Not making promises you can't keep while keeping the promises you do make is a great way to build a writer-client relationship and your overall reputation.
    • Get a clear handle on what your clients want and do your best to give it to them or provide them with a viable alternative. It helps to learn which freelance writers specialize in areas you don't and also who provides related services such as photography, graphic design or desktop publishing. You then have a group of people you can refer that person to so the work gets done. The client may come back to you later with work you can do, or the person you referred him to may in turn refer someone to you.
    • Reply promptly to client requests. If you don't have an immediate answer, let them know you'll find the answer and give a reasonable estimate of when you'll have it.
    • Make your reply one that shows you've read the client's request and aren't just giving a pat answer.
    • Be accessible to your clients during your stated office hours. Constantly getting voicemail or busy signals turns off many prospective clients.
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    Attend to the little things. While working with the right customers and giving them good service is important, it's also important to show them respect in how you deal with them as people.
    • Shaking hands with your client at the beginning and conclusion of your first meeting shows them you welcome their business and are eager to work with them.
    • Thanking your customers promptly for their payments or any gifts they give you is a good way to keep them thinking of you in a positive manner.
    • Many businesses send their customers Christmas cards or acknowledge other events in their lives.


  • Remember to set aside time for yourself. While you are working for your clients, you do not have to be accessible to them at all times to be effective.
  • Approach building a writer-client relationship as an ongoing process. It's as much a project as the writing projects you do for your clients.

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Categories: Customer Relations | Finance and Business