Show Your Clients You Care

Show Your Clients You Care

Building Relationships
  Early in my freelance career I started sending Christmas cards to my most regular clients to thank them for working with me. Then I wondered if, in the hub of all the holiday mail, they even saw them. I envisioned some editorial assistant opening my card, putting it in a stack of a hundred other cards and then taking the entire stack to the office wall and taping it up. My card, never read by the person to whom I sent it. Maybe that's not how it actually played out, but in my imagination it hurt. So I devised other ways to reach out to my clients to let them know I care.   4 Ways to Show Your Clients You Care Send a Note You don't have to…
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How to Set Yourself apart from the Competition

How to Set Yourself apart from the Competition

Building Relationships
  As an executive secretary, a loooong time ago, I learned an invaluable lesson: do everything you can to make your boss successful and you will succeed. As a freelance writer of magazine articles my boss is the editor. So I ask myself, "What does that editor need?" Time. If my editor spends less time preparing my story for publication, she has more time to do other work. So, how can I make sure my story doesn't take up too much of the editor's time? There is another thing I learned long ago to set myself apart from the pack. Remember, in school, your teacher walking the aisles of the classroom handing back graded exam papers? When she handed you yours you looked down and thought, "Seventy-nine? What did I…
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How to Serve Your Client

How to Serve Your Client

Building Relationships
  Writing is a service profession. When we write content for a magazine, blog or website, we provide a service for our clients. That makes you, and me, servants. Do you have a servant heart? Do you go above and beyond to serve your editor or are you frequently counting the words to make sure you don't offer him more than you are getting paid for?   How to Serve Your Client When I send a query to a publication, I always include an idea for an optional sidebar--or two. When I write my article, I suggest sub-heads and quote-outs. And I work hard to formulate a compelling title and a great hook. If your editors frequently re-write your headlines or leads, figure out why and change how you do…
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How to Define a Publication’s Audience

How to Define a Publication’s Audience

Building Relationships
  In a previous post, I wrote that as a freelance writer you need to know your reader. Some aspects of knowing your reader are obvious--the region the publication covers, the topic of the publication or the age of the target audience. For instance, it's quite obvious that Modern Farmer is read by farmers or farmer wannabe's and that Woman's Day is read by women. But if you want to know if "Fifteen Uses for Used Teabags" is a good fit for Good Housekeeping, you need to look a little closer to the details. Here are a few ways to define a publication's audience and thereby know what your editor is looking for.   3 Ways to Define a Publication's Audience   Check the media kit. Most publications have a…
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How to Make Your Editor Happy

How to Make Your Editor Happy

Building Relationships
  Many freelancers would pay money to be told How to Give an Editor What He Wants. But you don't have to because I'm going to give it to you for free. Why would I do that? I love teaching other folks what I've already learned. If you stop and think about it, it's a no-brainer and I can't bring myself to charge for no-brainers. Even after I tell you these two easy steps, I have huge doubts you will follow through. Did you catch that? There are two easy steps to giving an editor what he wants. Two! Ask, then deliver. That's it. Ask Honestly, all you have to do is ask an editor what types of stories he's looking for currently, and he'll tell you. Promise. I had…
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Thoughts on Deadlines

Thoughts on Deadlines

Building Relationships
I can approach deadlines from two perspectives--the freelancer and the editor. From the freelancer perspective, I need deadlines. I once had an editor that told me to send the story when I had it and she would work it in. Really? To this day, I don't understand how she managed her editorial content. But, the truth of the matter is that I ALWAYS put her projects on the bottom of my list because I didn't have a deadline. Once I have the deadline for a story in hand, I put it on my calendar a full month ahead. For instance, if my editor asks me to turn in the story by July 1, I put it down for June 1. Why would I do this? Because you never know. You…
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