When you’re pitching a new client, what do you put first… your revenue goals or theirs? All too often, freelance writers worry about their own hustle and bottom line, and forget that a major part of building a solid foundation is prioritizing the goals of those who send you checks.
After all, when you’re sending out a proposal and working on a trial month with a new brand, they’re looking for the proof in the pudding, so to speak. They want to understand how investing in your talent will help them meet their milestones.
As the freelancing industry becomes more competitive, it’s more important than ever to demonstrate — in tangible, measurable ways — your impact.
As the founder and president of Digital4Startups, Inc, Reva Minkoff explains, it’s no longer enough to say we threw a bunch of things against a wall, something stuck… but we don’t know what it was exactly:
By showing the value of your efforts and demonstrating exactly how much money your work is generating for the business, you make yourself that much more valuable and indispensable as a freelancer.
Though ROI is never an exact science, there are ways to dictate your worth.
Here’s how writers can help clients reach their goals:
1. Through a competitive edge
Love it, hate it or accept it, but we’re living in a time where the marketplace isn’t limited to our backyard.
As Frankie Burns, the vice president of marketing for Budsies and Petsies, explains, the gig economy allows for vast competition between freelancers, since they can be located anywhere and hired everywhere:
This creates a huge increase in opportunities for freelancers around the world, but it also creates an equally huge increase in competition. Not only are freelancers competing against other freelancers, but they are also competing against other companies in their field.
With an influx of talent, Burns says it’s essential to explain from the get-go how they intend to return on a client’s investment. This will automatically set you apart from others applying for the same gig, and illustrates your forward and long-term approach to the assignment or agreement:
At the end of the day, companies are worried about the results, regardless of how creative or unique your strategies are. It’s all about the proper investment of time and effort, and if freelancers can show that during their pitch, they’ll be way more likely to get the job.
2. By exposing your reach
Writers are mini-superstars within their space. After all, you can probably name the wordsmith whose career you’re envious of, and whose writing you model your own after. Clients may not realize how important writers can be in improving their credibility and expanding their reach to various mediums. The written word, after all, speaks volumes about a brand, especially when it’s composed beautifully.
As Amy Cooper-Hakim, Ph.D., an industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert, explains:
A good write-up about a product, service or trend improves customer flow and overall company buzz. Whether the freelancer is drafting a press release or creating web marketing content, this material adds credibility to the overall business. Customers rely on well-written material to make purchasing decisions. Readers look for snippets of information from credible sources to help them in their decision making.
3. Showcasing your specialty
One way to reassure a client that you’re the right guy or gal for the gig is to showcase your specialized skills. When you’re highly trained and have vast experience, you have an upper hand against others who, perhaps, don’t work in the same genre or niche.
Burns says those freelancers who can outline specific case studies, examples and successful from past clients have an edge. Companies like to see how it’s worked in the past to guide how it can be a successful endeavor for them, too.
4. Positioning yourself as the first solution
When a start-up is ramping up their efforts, they don’t have the funds to hire and support a full-time employee. Because healthcare isn’t an inexpensive part of a benefits package, many businesses start by contracting freelancers to save on cost and risk.
If you love being your own boss, this is a powerful way to explain to a client why you’re a great first solution to their scaling pain-points, as Hakim pointed out:
Sometimes a business model doesn’t allow for an additional full-time employee; yet, the work still needs to get done. Freelancers are skilled in their niche and can do the job with the same — or better — efficiency than those on staff.
When you propose your services in this way, they will feel more comfortable signing a multi-month contract, with the promise and faith that you’ll deliver.
5. Strategizing your flexibility
What’s often discounted about the freelance lifestyle is that second word: lifestyle. Because freelancers aren’t tied to a desk from 9 to 5 every single day, they can file content and meet deadlines throughout various timezones. It might not seem like a fact to include in a pitch, but Burns says to think again.
After all, that flexibility allows a company to charge toward their KPIs longer than an 8-hour workday.
A freelancer on their payroll has the attention and time to dedicate to projects, rather than being bogged down by the requirements of full-time employees.
As Burns notes:
They lack the time for office chatter or endless meetings, which leaves more time to focus on the tasks provided to them. This ultimately cuts down on costs and turnaround time.
6. Becoming a sounding board
What do you value the most in your closest friends and mentors? How they listen, right? Companies seek freelancers because they need to have an outside perspective and skill set that isn’t currently on their payroll. By becoming a sounding board, Minkoff says freelancers will help businesses meet their goals because they are challenged to think differently. This requires freelancers to integrate themselves within meetings — and become a key, dependable player:
Ask good questions. Help facilitate discussions. Take advantage of the fact that you’re an outside voice. Sometimes that outside voice can lead to the necessary breakthrough that wasn’t possible in the existing environment.