Last month I spoke with a potential client who said something I’ve never heard before — his last freelance writer was his “Secret Weapon.”
That sounds like the highest honor a client could bestow upon a freelancer. What freelancer wouldn’t want to be known as a “Secret Weapon”?
Based on my conversation with this marketing VP at a software company, I gain great insight into what made him feel the writer was special.
Here are seven insights I gleaned:
1 — Capture Your Clients’ Voice
The marketing director said the writer had perfectly captured the company’s voice, which was professional, but welcomed quirky blog post ideas.
Every client and magazine you work for has a different voice. Voice is their distinct personality, style, and point-of-view.
For example, while The New York Times and the Daily Mail may write articles on the same topics, each will have a voice that is very different from each other.
As freelancers, our clients expect us to capture their voices exactly. To do that, we have to look for the nuances. Are they playful or serious? Business-like or casual? To-the-point or conversational?
Learn to accurately capture your clients’ voice and you’ll be a step closer to becoming their Secret Weapon.
2 — Sharpen Your Storytelling Skills
Storytelling is the biggest buzzword in content marketing today. Most companies understand that telling great stories is the best way to capture attention and share important information.
There are several details that make up great storytelling in non-fiction writing — structure, flow, hooks, characters, narratives, and more.
Some companies have really nailed the power of storytelling.
Have you developed your storytelling skills yet?
3 — Create Creative Angles
Everyone is cranking out gazillions of words to build their brands and mark their online territory. To help your clients’ words stand out from the babble, you need to come up with creative new angles.
Creativity is especially vital because you probably have to write about topics that have already been written about dozens of times.
Here’s one example: Try combining two ideas that seem to be unrelated. For example, tell the story of your clients’ latest software features using a metaphor such as donuts. Can you do that?
Becoming a creative idea-generating machine will go a long way to capturing your clients’ heart — and being crowned as a Secret Weapon.
4 — Do the Research
Attribution is all the rage in content marketing today. This means you have to cite credible sources.
This gives your clients two advantages — (1) credibility by association and (2) a connection to industry thought leaders.
Find excellent sources to quote in your clients’ content and they will be more likely to promote you to Secret Weapon status.
5 — Think Graphically
Since standing out in the vast ocean of content that is crashing on our online shores every day is vital for any company or publication, businesses are turning to awesome graphics to help set them apart.
Can you visualize how the content you’re writing can be enhanced with graphics?
6 — Think Strategically
Speaking of standing out, another way companies try to rise above the rabble is by sharing their messages across many platforms — such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Slide Share, and more.
If you understand how to think strategically about where your content will appear, you’ll be that much closer to Secret Weapon status.
7 — Repeat!
You don’t become a Secret Weapon with a “one and done” attitude.
If freelancing is your long-term career, you not only have to deliver on the six points above on your next assignment, but also you have to keep delivering over and over on every project you work on.
So keep your voice, storytelling, idea-generation, research, graphic design, and strategic skills sharp and well oiled. Then one day you too just might hear your clients utter those two golden words: Secret Weapon!
Become Your Clients’ Secret Weapon — Faster!
I am so inspired by the concept of becoming a Secret Weapon that I have a new mission — to help other freelance writers become Secret Weapons, too. I am going to achieve this mission by helping freelancers succeed in three ways:
- Understanding Content Marketing at the Deepest Level
- Continuously Honing Their Writing Skills
- Learning How to Build a Sales Funnel of Awesome Clients — who will appreciate your exceptional content writing skills, and pay you what you deserve
To launch this new mission, I’m making a special announcement next Saturday, January 16, 2016. Stay tuned to learn more!
Photo Credit: © Andrey Kiselev