In part one of “How to Conduct Yourself Professionally as a Freelance Writer,” we discussed a few of the ways in which a freelance writer should conduct themselves to provide their clients with high-quality content, as well as a level of business professionalism. Continuing here with part 2 should explain further!
Shakespearian may be a bit of a reach, but writers who go overboard on providing elegant prose instead of informative language may be wasting their time and that of their clients.
Although “The mouse is in the basement,” may sound primitive to someone with an extensive vocabulary, “The rabid marmot dwells unostentatiously in the shadows of the tenebrous and ominous cellar,” may sound a bit pretentious to a client who is running a pest control business, as well as to their viewers, who are the most important viewers of your content. It may also look a lot like word stuffing to clients who may have had experiences with such in the past.
- Keeping in mind a few simple tips can keep you from being too boring, while preventing you from sounding as if you are composing opera instead of communicating with consumers of products or services.
- Re-read it. If it sounds awkward, it likely is.
- Keep your audience in mind. Remember when we researched Alexa to see what it had to say about your clients viewers? It also shows the average viewers age. Try to keep that as a focus when creating your content. Viewers who are twenty or so may understand a reference to LOLCats, but you are unlikely to garner your client any new readers if, for instance, your article on arthritis refers to it as ‘uncool’ or ‘bad stuff.’
- Use your thesaurus instead of repeating adjectives or adverbs, but don’t bother opening it if you already know a relatively common, or even slightly lofty but highly used word that fits your needs.
Rely Only on You (Or a Paid Proofreader)
It may be an enigma to many freelance writers but it is true, it is nearly impossible to proofread your own work on occasion. Whether it be because your brain is processing the text as you created it as correct, or you simply have looked over the same error twelve times, only to have your client find it within three minutes of receiving your work, it can, does, and will continue to happen.
Depending on the job, it may be worth your while to hire a third party source to proofread your work before you turn it into highly lucrative clients. However, if for some reason you cannot afford this, or do not have the option, you can also ask a friend or family member to read it.
Writers can also rely on an extremely helpful and free tool known as Paper Rater. Although not a perfect option, it is a great one for those who desire to submit their content to test a bit stronger than their word processors spell check options.
Be impressive. Even without a lengthy educational background you can avoid making a few very newbie mistakes that can drive a client into running in the opposite direction.
- Drop the Exclamations!!! Never use more than one first off. Second, unless there is something that would genuinely incite the masses, such as “Pigs begin to fly!”, there is really never a reason to abuse them.
- Don’t overuse ‘lazy words.’ Although most writers may not even notice, if you re-read your content and see words like that, just, got, get, over, thing and many other simplistic words used frequently, fire up your delete key, open your thesaurus program and begin to re-work.
- Romanticize the writing. Not only can this cause you to make some of the other mistakes such as overly abusing flamboyant vocabulary, dredging up the diva, and whipping out those ecstatic exclamations, but it can also drive you right into an early retirement, without benefits.
Prepare yourself to:
- Do real work
- Suffer until you have the research skills of a highly skilled archeologist
- Regularly do work that may keep you isolated for long periods of time
- Have sore wrist and fingers (maybe even tennis elbow..who knew?)
- Work at ridiculously low pay until you prove yourself
- Be highly frustrated