If you’re anything like me, you have an eclectic mix of clients in your Rolodex. Some of which are “by the book” and others that are a bit more willy-nilly.
And that’s okay. Both can be great to work with.
But as the freelancer/consultant, it’s important to understand how to manage each.
For example, I have a marketing agency owner who double and triple checks everything I send him. I mean, this guy will point out a single blunder in a 2K word post as if he just won a round of capture the flag.
But he pays on time, every time.
With him, I know I have to be on my A-game. So I go through everything with a fine-tooth comb before submitting. It’s a lot of work, but (besides being so anal) he’s actually been a great client.
You’d think this would be the way to go with every project. But I’ve found that’s not always the case.
I’ve recently partnered with an entrepreneur who hires me to critique his articles. It’s a bit odd for me not being the one creating the content, but that’s what he hired me to do. So I oblige.
The thing is, my natural perfectionism bubbles to the top and I find myself nitpicking the smallest things in the copy. I figure he’s paying for a full review, so I’m gonna give him one.
The funny part is that he doesn’t always integrate my suggestions. Quite often, he still publishes the piece (mostly) the same as before.
At first, this confused me. I thought, “Why is he paying me if he’s not going to listen?” But he does keep paying. And telling me how valuable my services are. And referring me to his friends for more of the same work.
Yeah. Weird, huh?
I finally came to the realization that I’m more of a sounding board to him than an editor. He just likes to get my “expert” take on things to see where he’s at.
So as hard as it’s been, I’ve learned to loosen my grip a little on the critiques.
He’s happy. I’m happy. And my bank account is still growing.
So what’s my point in all this?
Being a great content strategist is about more than just good writing. It’s about understanding your customer and how you can best serve them. In other words, your people skills and intuition are just as important as your editorial chops.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you can get away with doing half-assed work for your clients.
Quite the contrary.
If anything, you should start off as an over-achiever and dial it down as you get a feel for the person.
But if you get it right – and most people can – you’ll find yourself to be a lot less stressed, more productive, and better-off in the end.
And isn’t that what we’re all shooting for?