There has been a barrage of inquiries for a professional content writer in the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses globally are realigning strategies to make a push for the digital audience. The stringent norms of social distancing and lockdowns have taken a toll on brick-and-mortar stores. But forward-looking companies are re-imagining how businesses happen now, i.e., online.
This transition to digital translates to more competition for the coveted 1st page ranking on Google search results.
And what better way to meet this objective than with compelling and relevant digital content writing?
There is one question that underlines every conversation happening when the project starts off. “What do you need from me to do your job well”.
As a content writing company with deep industry experience, we feel we can be the best ones to answer this question.
There are many blogs on questions to ask before selecting a good content writer. But we don’t see many blogs that covert the topic from the other side, i.e. “Questions a Content Writer Should Ask Clients to Ensure Project Success”
So, let’s cover this interesting topic.
Ok, we agree that the first one on the list of questions to ask may sound unconvincing to many content creators. But that’s ok. Because SEO content writers are experts in their field. But it might not be the case with their clients.
We had a Dubai-based air conditioning installation/ repair client who wanted content to be put up on his site. He had asked for web content (typically stands for promotional ad copy put up on the website home and services pages). But after deeper prodding, we found out he wanted to put up on-site blogs!
Imagine if we had written service pages (with a lot of promotional tones like ‘we’ and ‘our’, instead of the more general, educative, and informative tone of a blog that doesn’t have a promotional aspect), the entire project would have been incorrect.
A typically content project can be either of the two –
Seeking more clarity is important. Pure-play content writing agencies may get a bulk of their projects from digital marketing companies and SEO companies who know their stuff. Here, such ambiguity may be unheard of. But if it is a company or individual from some other field, then it may be worthwhile to re-verify the type of content needed.
Of course, if someone approaches you for advanced forms of content, then no worries there. You can be assured that the prospective client knows his stuff.
There is an interesting experience behind this question. Way back in 2012, we had a new client who needed a blog to rank for the keyword ‘brush bristles’. The writer cut corners and didn’t check the client business. His blog was on toothbrush bristles. However, the client dealt in art work supplies! He was looking for a blog on art brush bristles.
Of course, post the initial embarrassment, we rectified the post. But it taught us a valuable lesson – “always check the client business and get to know his industry.”
On the enquiry messages that we receive from cold mail prospects, we sometimes don’t get the client website to browse through. In such a scenario, it is wise to ask about her line of business and website. It may also happen that the client site is not yet developed. In such cases, you can ask the prospect to supply 2-3 competitor sites to learn more.
The answer to this question ensures that your content targets the right set of audience (art students or artists in the above example of ‘brush bristles’, instead of general public who use toothbrushes!). It helps you know more about the client line of business. Moreover, you can identify some competitors worth researching for your next blog topic.
Many experts call this a ‘buyer persona’. But we keep it simple. We ask client about which type of audience will read the content.
Having a deeper understanding of your key readership is crucial. It will help you frame the content right. The vocabulary, choice of words, tonality, and sentence structuring will vary widely with different types of customers. Hence, you need to know who you are writing for.
Take the two key types of audience – a B2B (suppose a CEO) and a B2C (suppose a student). Here’s how content creation will change drastically between the two types of audience.
Let’s take an example. Suppose if a client wants to depict cost-effectiveness as one of the benefits of the product. The content writer will use different words for B2B and B2C audience.
For B2B, it can be “The IVR solution will improve efficacy, enhance customer experience, and maximize ROI”
For B2C, it can be “the shoe helps you to keep pace with your gang. Get total value for money when you buy it from ABC”
If you see, the underlined italics part says the same thing for the two types of audience. It says that that the buyer can save money. But the way it is said is different. This customization of content wording will help resonate better with the target audience. As a result, the content will be effective in its impact.
Depending on a given project dynamics, some other questions can become important. They are as below:
As a content writer, you may think ‘Wow! This is a big deal for me to land this client’. If it is really important, then you need to plan your project initial meeting before it starts. It is advised to bring down the number of unknowns when a content writing company takes on a project.
This blog will help you in this direction by letting you know the questions you need to ask when you get a new content writing project. The answers will help you achieve more clarity and deliver content exactly as per the client’s expectations.
What other questions would you ask your clients before taking on a content writing project? Do write to us and let us know.