Clients may not always be able to articulate what they want, and this can be challenging. Rather than give up on the client entirely or do a half-hearted job just to get paid, it is worthwhile to spend a little more time with that person to make sure you are both on the same page as far as your work is concerned.
Go through the instructions you have been given in detail before you start work. Does everything make sense to you? Do you have any questions? Do they prefer a certain format or font? (Better to ask them early in the process than have to make extensive changes later on.)
You also need to consider the audience who is going to read your work. What do you want them to take away from having read it? Are you providing information to establish your client as an authority in some area? If so, is the information relevant to the audience? Do you want the reader to take action in some way (sign up for a mailing list, subscribe to an ezine, click on the “Buy Now” button, etc.)? Will your work encourage the reader to do what your client wants?
It’s not enough just to get the basic instructions for a project. You also need to think about why the client wants the work done. Anticipate your client’s needs and do your best to meet them, and you will find that the client will contact you for other projects.
Ann G. says
I’ve run into this. The client asked for articles on the pros and cons of cloth diapers for the soon-to-be mom using the experiences I’d had as a parent. I felt that was clear enough and wrote the articles. Two months later, she emailed me back saying they were “utter garbage” and that she’d wanted them to focus on a pro attitude more than a con attitude. Had she said that in the first place… It was after the fact that she informed me that with cloth diapers you only do one extra load of laundry per week and that you really only need two dozen cloth diapers. I had to question this because my breastfed kids would go through an easy 20 diapers per day in the first two months of life.
But I stick to my opinions. I am on a well and there are no cloth diaper services in this state. I used disposable. My sis-in-law used cloth. From what I saw, her chores were tripled with the soaking, pre-washing and extra laundry. While disposables aren’t the best for the environment, when I thought about the extra load on our septic system with the added laundry and the additional water usage from our well, disposables made more sense.
I re-wrote the articles to appease her, but in the long run, the advice she’s posted on her site is what is the true “utter garbage.”
Amanda Nicole says
I tend to reiterate a lot. If I’m on the phone with a client, I’ll say, “Just to make sure we’re on the same page, you’d like…” and I do the same over email as well, along with a request that the client send me a quick “Yep, that’s right” email in return. That way, if there are any discretions after the work has been completed, I have something to back me up. Like you say, Jodee, it saves time in the long run!
Also, I tend to absorb things better when I write them down. I’ll comb through an email and copy down what needs to be done, and that way it’s all clear in my little brain.