April 19, 2021
For the past couple of decades, I have worked as a freelancer—in a wide variety of roles—and hired freelancers—for a wide variety of roles. And when it comes to writing, well, name a flavor of freelance writing, and I’ve done it: website copy, advertising tag lines, elevator statements, mission statements, press releases, scripts, speeches, wedding vows and funeral eulogies (sad, but true). I’ve even come up with names of products, services and companies. Plus, I work steadily as a freelance voice over artist, often voicing scripts that I’ve written.
In today’s economy, with very few people having one single employer for the entirety of their career, we are all freelancers of a sort! And whether I’ve been the person hiring the freelance talent or the person providing the freelance services, I’ve learned that certain personality traits and work styles, never fail to serve you well, regardless of who your client is or what freelance writing service you are providing for them.
First the work style:
The successful freelancer is agile enough to pivot quickly and seamlessly to meet the demands of a particular client. Learning to manage your time is as important as learning to manage your clients (which is hugely important but a whole other topic). If you’re asked to deliver a style of writing you’re not quite familiar with, jump on the ol’ Google machine and do a bit of research. I’m a big believer in the adage that says, “A writer is a reader moved to emulation.” Which basically means, even on a subconscious level, what we read influences how we write.
Think of it as Method Acting. Read some examples of what you’re being asked to write and let that style of writing settle into your brain. Pick up on the phraseology, whether the language is punchy and direct or more academic and institutional. In short, try to “become” your client. Let your writing serve as an example of how they wish they could communicate.
It’s hugely important to get a sense of tone and voice for the style requested by a client. Not all blogs “sound” the same, nor should they. They often differ considerably from niche to niche. Reading a personal finance blog should be a very different experience than reading a lifestyle blog. A post on IG and a post on LinkedIn are two very different beasts. Knowing the difference between the two and being able to write both persuasively, while not devoting hours to doing so, will go a long way toward helping you stand out from the freelance writers’ pack.
So honing your time management skills and perfecting efficient research tactics is a work style all freelancers should strive for.
The Personality Trait:
As for the personality trait, it’s this: never let them see you sweat. After all, most freelance writing requests ain’t rocket science. (And if NASA starts using freelance rocket scientists…yikes!) Be honest with yourself as you develop your craft. But always keep in mind that’s what freelance writing is: a valuable craft. Hold yourself to a high standard. But always be confident in your ability to refine your style to meet the needs of a project. And, most importantly, never stop learning!
At the end of the day, freelance writers help people with communication problems. Become an expert communicator. The greater variety of writing you put in the world, the more confident you’ll become in taking on something different or new. Know your strengths but never lose faith in your ability to adapt and grow.
Michael Azevedo is a multi-faceted professional writer who has created content—in a vast array of formats—for an impressive variety of clients, from first-time entrepreneurs to well-known brands, companies and organizations. He has helped individuals and organizations, from across all industry sectors, successfully communicate to their clients, consumers, members, supporters, followers and fans.
To work with Michaeal, visit here