Your First Order: Interpreting the Client Briefing
Writing your first order as a freelance author can be daunting; unlike with creative writing, you’ve got a customer to keep happy. Each Textbroker order contains a client briefing where the client paying for the order can specify as many, or as few, details as they want. Reading client instructions is critical to writing great content and forging profitable relationships with clients. Check out this guide for getting the most out of client briefings and nailing your first order.
NateTextbroker Author Management Coordinator
The Basics: Tone, Person and Style
Clients want their content written from different perspectives and for different audiences. For example, a client may want to post “ghost-written” blog content that reads as though the client or someone from their company wrote it. They may want content written about a public figure from the perspective of an industry expert or researcher. They will usually specify this by saying which “person” they would like the order written in.
First Person – “I”, “we”, “me”, “us”, “my”, “our”
- If the client wants the order written from the perspective of a single person or a company, they’ll ask for first person voice.
Second Person – “you”, “your”
- When the client wants you to talk directly to the reader of the content, they’ll ask you to use second person voice. Often, second person and first person will be used in the same order. This is called conversational tone. You’re writing as if you’re having a conversation with the reader, talking to them and talking about yourself.
Third person – “he”, “she”, “him”, “her”, “his”, “they”, “them”, “their”
- When writing about someone who is not the writer of the content or the reader of the content, such as a public figure or celebrity, you would write in third person. Press releases, news-style stories and recaps are usually written in third person.
It’s also important to keep tone and style in mind. When a client requests authoritative, formal tone, it’s important to write the way you would to a customer, a superior, or a teacher. Do not use contractions, informal speech, or jokes. However, when a client requests informal tone, you can write a bit more casually, the way you would with a friend or new acquaintance.
When posting content online, clients are often trying to make their websites easier to find. By using keywords, clients can make sure their content contains the words their target audience is searching for. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and many clients put a lot of resources and research into choosing the right keywords. This means the keywords you see listed in your order briefing and the required densities for each word are very important. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Typos happen to everyone. If a keyword is spelled wrong, don’t worry! You should use it the way it’s spelled. When Textbroker reviews and rates your work, you won’t be held responsible for keywords the client spelled wrong.
- Keywords can sometimes be modified. If an order says stopwords and inflections are allowed, keywords can be slightly modified in order to make them fit less awkwardly within the content. For example, the keyword “locksmith Las Vegas” could be changed to “locksmith in Las Vegas”. The keyword “lock” could be changed to “locks”. There is a link in the keyword section you can click to see a full list of acceptable stopwords.
- If you have questions, you can message the client! If you click on the orange client ID pictured below
Then, on the client details page that appears, click on “Write a message” like below:
When messaging clients, be sure to maintain professionalism and remember that clients are often busy and may take some time to get back to you. If the client doesn’t respond, and there’s an approaching deadline, you should email [email protected]. We’re always here to help!
Clients often want their orders to look a certain way. This can include text formatting, layout, paragraph length and links to other websites. Luckily, this stuff is easy! Textbroker’s text entry page has formatting tools built in, and standard HTML formatting is accepted on our site. Check out the HTML blog for more info on text formatting, and remember to look for the following in client briefings:
- Be sure to break up your text into paragraphs. A long block of text can be difficult and unappealing to read.
- Clients may specify a maximum or minimum paragraph length. If so, make sure to count your words and sentences!
- Clients often specify subheadings (also known as section titles). These can indicate how the client wants the text organized and what kind of information they want in each section. Be sure to pay attention, and if the client provides subheadings, be sure to use them!
The Forum: the author forum is a great place to ask questions, learn from more experienced authors and even make new friends.
- The Blog: the Textbroker Author Blog covers a variety of topics, including grammar, style, content trends, shared author experiences and increasing your earnings as a writer. Check it out!
- Author Services: you can reach us by email at [email protected], on live chat at the bottom of your author page or via phone.
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