After three years of working in a cubicle, I became a full-time freelance writer in 2010—and from the first day I left my office job, I’ve been learning what it means to write from home.
While I started with multiple clients, today, I write predominantly for one Chicago-based marketing agency, a routine that gives me increased stability and more consistent hours (a freelancer’s dream come true!). And after years of writing for this marketing agency, I’ve also seen what it takes to succeed in this role.
Are you interested in freelancing for a marketing agency? Do you wonder what’s involved if you do?
If so, here are some tips from my experience. These are the habits to practice when you’re managing one single client instead of a handful of them, writing regularly in one style instead of many different ones, and reporting to one company instead of juggling dozens of contacts.
To succeed as a marketing agency writer, you need to:
The first few weeks and months you spend writing for a marketing agency are no different from the first few weeks and months you spend writing for any client — you’re in the trust-building stage.
Until the agency has worked with you a while and has faith in your work, you need to work extra hard to communicate your commitment.
Always respond to questions, and always respond as quickly as you can. If you’re going to be out of town, alert your manager. If you have a question about something, communicate it. Thank colleagues for help. Tell someone when he or she has done something well.
The more responsive you are, the faster you earn the agency’s trust and build a relationship that can last for years to come.
Be Ready to Wear Different Hats
While, this week, the bulk of my daily writing is blogging, previous weeks have involved brainstorming topic ideas, writing SEO content for websites, crafting newsletter copy, ghostwriting, and reorganizing existing content submitted by an agency client.
Because marketing agencies perform so many different services for clients, they typically have many different content needs. So to be as successful as possible in your role, you have to switch easily from a few hours of researching B2B blogs to a few hours of writing about gum disease.
Adjust to Changes As They Come
Just because you write for one marketing agency doesn’t mean you won’t deal with change. In the time I’ve spent writing for one agency, I’ve changed managers multiple times due to shifts in procedures or personnel.
If you’ve spent any time at all as a freelancer, this won’t shock or surprise you, but after you’ve written for one client for a while, you might be surprised how comfortable you become.
Protect yourself from frustrations by knowing changes will occur and by being ready to roll with them. This is a valuable skill for any writer, no matter where or for whom you write.
Expect to Learn New Things
When you write for a marketing agency, you write for various marketing agency clients — and those clients could work in almost any industry and field. So while no agency will expect you to be an expert on both metal fabrication and cloud computing, it will likely expect you to be willing to learn.
In order to write about something, you have to learn about it, so in your work for a marketing agency, expect to learn new things. It comes with the territory.
Likewise, just because you settle into a stable contract gig doesn’t mean you should get lazy—keep reading about writing and growing in your craft. This not only benefits your marketing agency; it benefits you.
Do Good Work
This last tip applies to all freelancing, whether it’s for a marketing agency, a local business, or a big-name brand, but it’s one of the most important tips I can give. None of the above advice matters much if clients don’t like your work, so make delivering good work your top priority.
When you complete an initial project, ask for feedback, and pay attention to critiques. If there is something you could have done better, note it, and use it to inform your next assignment. Make it clear to the agency that you’re after successful results, and you make it clear you want to stick around.
Have you done any writing for marketing agencies? What did you learn from the experience?
Looking at the tips outlined above, how could you improve the way you write for clients, whether they’re marketing agencies or not?