Writers Worth: 5 Ways to Help Clients Value You

Sharon Hurley Hall is one of the most successful freelance writers I know. Her Get Paid to Write Online site has a ton of great advice, and she is by far one of the best social media experts I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning from. Plus it comes as no shock that Sharon, having an online business, knows exactly what tools exist and which ones work for freelancers. She’s the go-to person for all things online, if you ask me.
She’s also someone who gives of her time and talent. So when I was looking for guest posts, I knew she’d help, and that it would be fabulous.

I was right. 
5 Ways to Help Clients Value You

by Sharon Hurley Hall

If you don’t value yourself and your writing services,
no-one else will. That’s one of the big lessons I’ve learned in 10 years of
freelancing and nearly 30 years of writing. One thing many writers struggle
with is getting clients to see the value they bring. Here are some tips on how
to do that.

1. Show Them the Science

There are plenty of stats out there to show that using
professionals to create content pays dividends for business. Content is key not
just for sales, but for engaging and retaining customers and producing engaging
content remains a top challenge for marketers and the businesses they serve.
Include some of these statistics on your website (I have
them near the end of my services page) and you can start to make the
case for the value of good writing. A good starting point for stats you can use
is the Content Marketing Institute, especially their latest B2B marketing and B2C marketing reports.

2. Highlight the Benefits

If you take another look at my services page, you’ll see
that I also include some of the overall benefits to customers of using
professional writers. Everyone wants to look good to their customers. If you
can help them to do that, you’re a valuable resource and worth the rates you
charge. Whether you’re helping your clients create trusted information or
improve their site’s search ranking, that has a value to them in terms of
authority and sales.


3. Be Visible Online (and Offline)

I’m a big believer in the importance of having a website:
your own online space where you can showcase your work. But that’s not all you
need. You need to be wherever clients are searching for you. Depending on the
client, they could find you on social media, via a Google search or via a
content distribution site.
As well as keeping a running tally of the work you do, make
sure you share anything you are particularly proud of in multiple places. If
you find out that a particular piece of writing has performed well, share the
stats and the writing again. And keep an eye on social proof – search for your
authored content on Buzzsumo
to see what’s got the most attention, then take a screenshot and
share it.
Other ways to increase online visibility include:
●    
Sharing all authored content on social media as a
matter of course.
●    
Sharing selected pieces of content on LinkedIn, both to
your profile and within relevant groups.
●    
Creating a Pinterest portfolio board (here’s one of mine).
●    
Adding content to a portfolio site like Contently,
PressFolios, Clippings.me or another similar site. Laura Spencer shares some of
the options in an article on her Writing
Thoughts blog
.
●    
Getting and displaying testimonials, recommendations –
even positive tweets (use this guide to embed them on your
testimonials page). This is more social proof that highlights your value.
●    
Sharing your best work on your own website. I do a
regular-ish roundup post which gives me one place to send
potential clients to see my work.
You don’t have to put every piece of work on every site. Aim
for a spread which gives clients a snapshot of the type and quality of writing
you can do.
Don’t forget about offline networking. If you’re getting
clients from the local community, attend events where you can give out
information about your services. I’ve found it useful to create a one-page
sheet which briefly describes my background, key clients, key metrics and
writing services. It’s a conversation-opener which has brought me a few clients
in the past.


4. Set Limits and Expectations

Nothing says that you value yourself and your time like a
little bit of scarcity. In other words, don’t be available all the time. This
might seem like a scary concept when you start out in freelancing and want
every job, but if you are always available, clients will run rings round you,
plus it’s a one-way ticket to burnout.
Let’s face it: no matter how much we love writing, we all
have other things to do with our time, so we have to make time for those
things. Here’s how I did it:
●    
I started out by no longer being available on weekends.
●    
Then I began limiting my working hours to school hours.
●    
I also gave myself at least a week’s lead time for each
writing job.
●    
Then I blocked out time each week to work on my writing
business.
●    
Then I started putting external events that were
important to me in the calendar FIRST, and building writing time around that.
In practice, that means sometimes I have to say
“no” or “not right now” to clients, but I’ve found that
most of them are willing to wait for quality, even if the wait stretches to a
month.
You have to be firm. The other day, a prospective client
offered to triple my usual rate if he could jump ahead of the line. I had to
explain that it wouldn’t be good business to treat my existing clients that
way. After all, he wouldn’t like it if I did that to him as soon as someone
threw more money at me.


5. Create a Pricing Baseline

Another part of setting expectations is giving clients a
ballpark figure to work with. I do this by putting guide prices on my site.
(The word “guide” is important, as it gives me leeway to adjust my
estimates for different types of writing jobs.) I know not everyone does this,
but for me, it’s got rid of the time wasters. By the time clients approach me
via my website, I know they have seen the prices, and that starts the
conversation at a different baseline.
These tips really work, helping clients’ mindset shift from
seeing you as a hack for hire to a valued partner. What would being valued by
clients look like for you?

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional
freelance writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years,
including stints as a journalist, university lecturer and ghost writer.  To work with Sharon, visit her website or connect with her on Twitter @SHurleyHall.

How do you show your value to clients?
Does your price conversation with clients go more like a tug-of-war or have you found a way to demand your price and get it?

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Comments

  • Cathy Miller May 24, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Wow, Sharon. So many great tips. Why am I not surprised? ☺ I have watched you excel at the social media side of the business. Now, I can steal *er* borrow some of your great strategy. ☺

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 24, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Borrow away, Cathy. The great thing about our writing community is that we all learn from each other all the time. 🙂

    Reply
  • Lori Widmer May 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks again, Sharon. I particularly love the part about setting limits and expectations. I think it's important that we put boundaries around our time. Otherwise, we're constantly working to please others and we're ignoring our own needs.

    I'm rarely available on weekends. Only in special cases, and that's happened maybe three times (I can remember two, but there was probably another) in the 13 years I've been freelancing.

    Good for you for filling your own needs in on the calendar first! A lesson we should all take to heart.

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 24, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I learned this from one of my online mentors, Tea Silvestre, Lori. Some weeks it works better than others, but starting with that mindset is a definite plus.

    Reply
  • Brent Jones May 24, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Sharon!

    Great post you've put together here.

    I really like the tip about creating a bit of scarcity for yourself. It is tough to do in the early days, but it's so important.

    Eventually, we all need to maintain some quality of life around our online businesses. I mean, that's why most of us started freelancing in the first place, isn't it?

    Best,

    Brent

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 24, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks, Brent. It's hard to set limitations when you're chasing every dollar, but doing it gives you a much better balance in the long run.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth May 24, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Sharon. Thanks for so many great tips! I've been working on number three; it's never as easy as it seems. 🙂

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 24, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    No, it's not, Elizabeth, but you can aim to do it once a week then increase from there. After a while, it comes more naturally.

    Reply
  • Paula Hendrickson May 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    So much for me being a triplet with you and Cathy. You shared a ton of information I hadn't even considered. And I'd never heard of Buzzsumo, but I'm checking it out!

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 24, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    This is the great thing about this series of posts, Paula. I've learned so much from the other writers taking part, so I'm happy to share some resources I've found. 🙂

    Reply
  • Ashley Festa May 24, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Great tips, Sharon. I especially appreciate all the links to examples and tutorials about how to accomplish other cool tricks I hadn't thought of!

    Reply
  • Jake Poinier May 24, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    This is fantastic, Sharon. There is no substitute for value over the long haul, when it comes to ongoing quality projects, relationships, and referrals!

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    @Ashley, glad you enjoyed it. I find these tools really useful.

    @Jake – exactly! It took a while, but these strategies continue to pay off and bring clients to me.

    Reply
  • Devon Ellington May 26, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Love all of these. As usual, you're right on the money, in every sense of the word.

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 26, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks, Devon.

    Reply