Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Content Writers: What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay (But Keeps Promising to Do So)

Editor Note: The SEO Copywriter Training Class is Discounted Thru the End of the Year. Ready to change your life and start a truly doable, work-from-home business? This training will get you there. It’s the ideal holiday gift — to yourself!

Today’s Post

In last week’s post, I promised you an update on Cold Calling Carol. If you read through her series (this is the seventh update), you’ll discover that she had some major success – landing thousands of dollars in SEO writing work in just a couple of months. She was even able to jet off to Hawaii for a quick vacay!

Now though, she’s hit a snag. A client she wrote tons of articles for has not paid. And, she’s worried that he’s giving her “the dog ate my homework” runaround. Following is the long email she sent me, and my in-depth response.

Freelance Writer’s Email to Me

Hi Yuwanda, 

I hope all is well and you are doing great!  I have a question that has been on my mind lately.  Unfortunately, the [client] I was working for has not paid me my [other] 50%. However, he has a valid reason:  He had a lot of crazy events happen in September.   First he had to pick up slack for his partner, then his daughter got a nasty sinus infection, then his father-in-law-died, and he took 3 weeks off to console his wife. 

I understand that events happen beyond our control, however, sometimes I feel like he’s giving me “The Dog ate My Homework” spiel.   He did communicate with me and said he apologized that he didn’t get around to the final edits due to all the “chaos”.  But it’s been about a good month for the 1st project I completed.   He said he will make payment after he reviews and approves, however due to his circumstances he says that he has not had a chance to review the pages.    

I want to trust him and believe him, but you never know.

So, I am thinking with new and past clients, my policy should charge 100% up front until they prove that they are reliable.  I don’t want to do this because I want to trust people.  However, by trusting people, I am about 600 bucks in the hole.   And I don’t want to seem like a pressure hound since they had a serious death in the family.   But then again, I worked my ass off and put everything on hold to make sure he had good quality content. 

Has this ever happened to you? If so, how did you go out about it? [emphasis added]

On other news, I have been emailing SEO firms, and I know I had success before, but it gets discouraging.  Many people say my rates are too high!  So, right now I need cash flow, and I am wondering if I should do a 15 buck special. Of course it will be more volume, but at least I will have some dollars coming in instead of 0 dollars.   (I think I asked you this question before, so forgive me if I am repeating myself).  Blah ups-and -downs of the writer’s life is no bueno 🙁 

Thank you for all of your support and help!

My Response

Thanks for the good wishes. I’m doing great!
 
In answer to your question, don’t do any more work from this client until they’ve paid what’s currently due. That’s the whole point of getting 50% up front — at least you get paid something for your work in the event that a client doesn’t pay.

Why Not to Ask for Full Payment Up Front from Your SEO Writing Clients

And no, don’t ask for 100% up front from clients. Many won’t go for this; it could lose you clients. And, you’re really making all suffer for the actions of one crummy client. FYI, I’ve never been burned by an SEO writing client — ever.
 
I don’t know what your contract states as far as payment goes, but it should say “invoice due upon receipt.”

How to Handle This Particular Nonpaying Client: Exact Steps to Take
 
As for how I’d handle this with this particular client, I’d apologize (of course) for his family problems. But then, I’d let him know that I’d give him a week (5 business days) to review all work submitted to date. Then, let him know that the remainder of the invoice is due in full, and that you won’t be responsible for changes if he doesn’t get them to you beyond that.

Furthermore, let him know that while you sympathize with his family problems, that you run a business, that you returned the work to him in the agreed-upon timeframe and that the invoice is due — whether he reviews the work or not.

This should all be relayed in a professional manner of course; via phone is best, b/c it’s hard for people to dismiss you on the phone. THEN, I’d follow up on what was agreed to in the phone conversation in an email — just so you’re both on the same page. And of course, if ever there’s legal action, you’ll have documentation.

Why You Basically Don’t Have to Worry about SEO Writing Clients NOT Paying

As I stated above, I’ve never had an SEO writing client NOT pay. Most are ethical. 

BUT, I did have one where it took me almost 90 days to collect what was due. This was my very first SEO writing client — a firm out of Canada. We worked seamlessly together for well over a year and they gave me a lot of work. But, the owner apparently went on vacay and the invoices got backed up (I found this out afterwards by the way).

Even when he got back though, they were slow to pay, and the owner was pissed that I kept hounding them for payment. My guess is, he thought our previous working relationship should have proven that they were going to pay. But, it didn’t to me b/c that was the first time they’d NOT paid timely and it was quite a lot of money (a few thousand dollars). Like I said, they gave me a lot of work.

Main Takeaway Lessons from This Debacle

The lesson is, never let one client so overburden you that you can’t take on work for other clients.

Sure, take on big projects for a client if your time is free, but always be sure to schedule enough time to market for other work. This way, if work does materialize, you can still handle it.

So, the bottom line is — give longer deadlines, especially for bulk projects.

Why Not to Lower Your SEO Writing Rates – Even When Things are Slow
 
As for lowering your fees — I wouldn’t advise it. I feel that you’re panicking. And, that is no frame of mind to market in. Hold fast to your rates (they’re already at rock bottom IMO). 

This is where as an entrepreneur you have to make some critical decisions about your business (and have nerves of steel). Ask yourself, do you always want to compete on rate, or do you have enough faith in your skills that you can — and should – command higher freelance writing rates?
 
Instead of lowering your rate, double down on your marketing efforts. As the story on SeoWritingJobs.com proves today, you CAN get good-paying SEO article writing jobs. But, you have to believe enough in yourself and hold out for what you know you deserve. 

Freelance Writers: The Benefits of Writing for “Write for Pay Sites” When Things Get Slow

In the meantime, write for sites like AssociatedContent.com (or get a PT job) just to keep even a few dollars coming in. You can use the writings on sites like these as samples, you keep your skills fresh, you can write on what you want (which makes the writing quick and fun) and you’ll earn a few (a very few) dollars.
 
The bottom line is, don’t panic and market to clients for $15/article. You’ve proven that you can get at least $25. Why go below that?

Why I Never Looked Back Once I Started Raising My SEO Writing Rates
 
FYI, I’ve been where you are. But, once I got used to getting $25/article, I then raised my rates to $35 and then $45. Even when times were lean, once I’d gotten to the $35/article mark, I didn’t go back to $25 because I’d proven to myself that I could get at least $35 (and now $45 and up). 

Like I said, it requires nerves of steel to hang in there when your bank account is dry and the first of the month is just a few days away (eg, rent/mortgage is due), but this is what building a business is.

Why Lowering Your Freelance/SEO Writing Rates Is Detrimental In More Ways Than One
 
A final thing to consider is — when you compete on rate, you will forever be “starting your business over”  — again and again. What do I mean?

Every time you lower your rate, you reach back to a different level of client — one that you want to get away from (eg, the low-paying ones). Then, you have to strive and market and prove to your desired target market (eg, the higher-paying clients) — and to yourself — that you’re worthy of $25, $35 or more per article all over again.

And who knows, a client you land at $15/article could be one who would gladly pay $25 or more, but you’ll never know. And, plenty will pass you over at $15 per because they’ll think of you as a “content mill hack writer,” not a bona fide SEO writing professional. 

Remember the story I told of the guy who questioned my abilities because he thought my SEO article writing rates were too low?
 
Don’t operate like this. You’ll never break free of bottom-of-the-barrel clients if you panic and slip back when things get tough. 

Good SEO Writing Advice – Bad Freelance Writing Advice: The Final Decision Is Always Yours

 With ALL of this being said, it’s your freelance business though; all this is just my opinion. No one has to pay your bills but you, so do what you feel is best for you.

One final thing, the only time I’ve ever been screwed on an invoice was by a lawyer; this was when I had my editorial staffing agency and was doing word processing, in addition to editing, writing, copyediting, etc. He took up our whole day (my sis and I owned the company at the time — and never paid). If I’d known where his office was, I would have sued his butt! 

The legal profession doesn’t come by its bad rep unjustly, I guess.
 
Hope this helps, and do update me on how you handled it. Remember, you’re only accountable to you, so do what you feel is best for you.

Yuwanda
P.S.:
Learn how to create multiple freelance income streams. Get Living the Freelance Life! How I Live Internationally and Have Earned a Living Completely Online Since 2007 & You Can Too, a free ebook. SeoWritingJobs.com is an InkwellEditorial.com property.

P.P.S.: Ditch Your Job and Start a Successful Career as an SEO Copywriter? Get SEO Copywriting Training Today. Discount offered until end of year (12/31/2011).
seo-copywriting-training

Find this post informative? Follow Us on Twitter.

Submit a Guest Post: This site and its parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, now accept guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Want to avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites. Updated with 2011 PayPal screen shot of earnings!

Copyright © 2011: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the publisher’s written consent (linking to is fine).

SEO Content Writing: One Writer Got $40/Article from Her First Client (with NO Website) and an SEO Writer Who’s Got $5,000 in Work Lined Up – How They Did It

Boy, there have been some busy SEO writing bees out there, if the emails I’m getting are any indication. Today’s newsletter gives insight into how one writer got $40/article – from one of her very first clients.

We also hear a success story from a new SEO writer who has more than $5,000 in work lined up, is looking at hiring other freelancers, and whose wife (who’s ill) looks forward to quitting her job in a few months because his SEO writing business is taking off!

FYI, in next week’s newsletter, we’ll hear again from SEO writer, Cold Calling Carol – who’s hit a rough patch. She’s having a hard time getting a big client to pay. Stay tuned for how I advised her to handle this. Boy, it’s a doozy!

So, let’s get started.

Email from Freelancer #1

Yesterday, I awoke to the following email from a new freelance SEO writer in my inbox.

Okay Yuwanda, here’s the story (or at least part of it):

I’ve been a subscriber for a couple of years and have gotten some valuable lessons from your newsletter, ebooks and ecourses. Thank you.

I had my eye on your SEO [writing] book for a while. Finally, I purchased it in Dec of last year when you had your holiday giveaway (buy one, get one free). And finally (again) I decided that it would not do me any good to have the book and not read and implement what I read. (I have been writing for a while but really wanted to try launching more deeply into SEO.)

Okay, I got delayed a bit because of the website. (The do-it-yourself route is definitely too time consuming for me.) Anyway, last week I decided to start marketing without the website in place because I needed to get started and could use my online articles for samples.

Very early Saturday morning, I sent out a handful of emails just to get the ball rolling. Voila! I received an almost immediate response from the president of one company saying he or a staff member would be getting back to me shortly. How long is shortly, I don’t know. This morning, however, I received the following response from a different company:

“Hi L–,

Thank you for contacting [Name of company was given]! We’ve reviewed your writing samples and they are very good. Please let me know what your rates are?

All the best,

XXX”

Now, I had already decided that I would charge $35/500-word article, but when the question was posed I starting wondering if that was a good price. (My husband said I should charge $40). I quickly went to your site for answers and decided to purchase “Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Writers“.

Before I could even get the book downloaded and read, the client called wanting to know my rates, which I had not stated in the email. I had to make a quick decision so I charged $40 for a single article (400-500 words) and $35/500-word article for orders of 6 or more articles. The client was pleased and promptly ordered 9 articles. (emphasis added)

Questions: Since my writing website is not yet in place, should I include rates in the emails that I send out? Also, as I was sent the company’s clients’ websites as well as keywords, could I justifiably include them (their clients) as clients on my website?

Thanks again for sharing your path to success. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
LD

My Answer

L-:

First, congrats! That’s wonderful.

As for including client’s clients on your site — NO! Never, ever do this because ur client might not want THEIR client to know they’re outsourcing the work (although most do). Your first priority is to your client — never ever do any work for, refer to, or use testimonials from your client’s client — UNLESS your client knows about it.

As for including rates, I always included a link to my website that had the rates. Since you don’t have one, in the interest of time, if it were me, I would. But, that’s entirely up to you.

Good luck, and again, congrats!
##

That was my quick answer to L; I want to add a bit more.

 First, get that website up as soon as possible. I don’t know what niche you write in, but if you’re getting $40 off the bat with no website, obviously your samples rock. So, having a site where you can display them can land you even more clients – and possibly higher rates – rather seamlessly.

Your site doesn’t have to be fancy (as my SEO writing company’s site proves); just clean and professional looking).

Get SEO Writing Jobs “Out of the Blue”

Second, re how long is “shortly” —  it could be a day, a week, a month or a year. But one thing I bet is true – they’re keeping your info on file. As I’ve stated many times on this site, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been contacted by companies I marketed to months (in some cases a year or more earlier) who will contact me “out of the blue” with work, saying something like, “We got an email from you back in XXX. We need . . .” 

And, that’s the value of continuous marketing. Jobs will seem to materialize “out of the blue,” but it really isn’t because if you keep touching enough prospects, work will materialize – usually when you least expect it.

Second Email from Same Freelancer

Last night, I received a follow-up email from this freelancer. She wrote:

Thanks Yuwanda. Incidentally, I get a “bio” (byline really) stating that I am a freelance writer for client’s client.

My Response

In this case, I’d advise her to ask HER client if it’s ok if she includes the client’s client on her website. It’s professional courtesy to do so – even though she’s already getting a byline.

The client will thank her for her professionalism; and even if they don’t, she solidifies in their minds – consciously and subconsciously – that she’s a trusted professional (eg, that she won’t go behind their backs and try to steal their clients).

Email from Freelancer #2 — An SEO Writing Success Story: $5,000 in Work Lined Up: Looking Forward to Quitting His Job in a Few Weeks

Yesterday, I received another email (yes, two success stories in one day!) from another SEO writer who’s just getting started. His story is quite amazing.

He wrote, in part:

I made $2000 my first month, and have $5000 in work lined up from clients who I know will pay. I have about $400 floating out there from clients who are slow to pay, but it doesn’t bother me because I have $5000 lined up with more coming in! 

I can now quit my part-time crap job if I’d like, but I’m still going to hang on to it for a few weeks yet. The part-time job is [stated what he did for work] rewarding, but it pays a paltry $13 per hour and most likely is capped at a maximum of $16 per hour…a poverty wage in this modern era!

My wife [who’s been “drastically ill”] will be able to stay home from work in a few months when I have more business, and we’ll be able to live the lives we dreamed of!

Read his entire email here. It’s Testimonial #24.

My Response

D-,
 
You totally made my day! Thanks for that.
 
I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s health problems. Stress adds to that, I’m sure. I hope that your being able to make a living has relieved some of that for her and that she feels better.
 
When I first started out as an SEO writer, I couldn’t believe how relatively easy it was to land work. As you know if you’ve ready my story, I’d never landed jobs so easily (well, not quite as easily, as I had contacts in the publishing industry who made my road a bit easier than most from the beginning). And I tell others — it is possible — if you market.
 
And yours is just another success story that proves it. And not for nothing, like you say, you’re doing it in what’s considered a terrible economy.
 
Imagine how busy you’re going to be when the economy turns around!
 
Continued success to you, and here’s sending good wishes your way again for your wife to return to good health.
 
All the best, and thank you for taking the time to let me know how it’s all turned out for you.
## 

One more thing I want to add is, while my ebook may have been a guide, nothing happens until you take action. As these two freelancers prove, if you have the drive (and once you decide to get started), you really can control your own fate.

SEO writing is not rocket science – but you do have to be proactive in going after the work – and there’s plenty of it out there.

Panda 2.0: More Work for SEO Content Providers

Just in case you didn’t know, Google did another Panda Update (Panda 2.0?) recently. And, just like the last one, it shook up some website rankings, which means more work for SEO writers.

Are you ready to capitalize?

Have a great rest of the week everyone. The rain looks like it’s trying to let up here in Jamaica (I hate it when it rains during the day — but it is “the tropics!”). I’m closing up early today to go get my hair braided. 🙂

Yuwanda
P.S.:
Learn how to create multiple freelance income streams. Get Living the Freelance Life! How I Live Internationally and Have Earned a Living Completely Online Since 2007 & You Can Too, a free ebook. SeoWritingJobs.com is an InkwellEditorial.com property.

P.P.S.: Ditch Your Job and Start a Successful Career as an SEO Copywriter? Get SEO Copywriting Training Today.
seo-copywriting-training

Find this post informative?Follow Us on Twitter.

Submit a Guest Post: This site and its parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, now accept guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Summer is here: want to avoid freelance writing dry spells that usually come this time of year by making extra money as an affiliate marketer? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites. Updated with 2011 PayPal screen shot of earnings!

Copyright © 2011: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the publisher’s written consent (linking to is fine).

SEO Content Writing: Questions from a New SEO Writer about Marketing for Jobs and Rates/Pay Scale

First let me say, keep the questions about SEO copywriting coming. If you don’t know anything about this niche of freelance writing, thanks to a vociferous readership, this blog has become the go-to outlet for finding answers.

I received two questions from a new SEO writer a couple of weeks ago.

First Question from New SEO Content Writer: On Marketing for SEO Writing Jobs 

On Sept 26, freelancer MB wrote:

Yuwanda,

I purchased your book “How to make $100 – $250 a day writing SEO articles” at the end of last week, and I am very excited to get started in this career. I started sending my emails today, but I was wondering, most of the websites for the [prospects] that I found did not mention hiring freelance writers.

Is that something that they don’t advertise? I know that is probably a stupid question, but I am new to this. My writing background has been updating software manuals and procedures.

I would appreciate any information you can give me. 

My Answer

First, thank you for your purchase.
 
RE your question, no, many firms DON’T advertise that they work with freelancers — but most do. 99% of the queries I send out are to companies who don’t advertise for freelance writers. Note: See the related post, Why Freelance Writers Should Apply to Full-Time Jobs, for some insight into why this is a good way to find SEO writing (and other types of freelance writing) jobs.

So continue to query.
 
And, any question you don’t know the answer to is a legitimate question. If you don’t know, ask. It doesn’t make the question stupid — it makes you smart for asking.
 
Good luck in your foray into SEO writing, and feel free to send in additional questions if you have them. 

Webmaster Note: Get the latest ebook in the SEO writing series: Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Writers: In-depth Answers to 26 Commonly Asked Questions from SEO Writing Clients

Second Question from New SEO Content Writer: On Rates – Is This a Good Rate or a Bad One?  

On Sept 29th, this freelancer sent in another question. She wrote:

Yuwanda 

I got my first response to my queries. I have a question. They pay by the hour ($10 an hour) is that good or bad. I know I am just starting out and should not expect to make as much as someone like you that has a lot of experience. I would really appreciate your advice.

My Answer 

M-:
 
Congrats on getting your first query.
 
Usually, I don’t tell fellow freelance writers what to accept/charge, as it’s a very individual thing. I just give some guidelines I follow. See this post, which discusses SEO writing rates / what to charge – and other SEO writing issues. At the end of it is some insight, as well as links to further articles on freelance / SEO writing rates.

But in my opinion, $10/hour is waaayyy too low — it’s not even in the ball park. The reason I say this is, you’re in BUSINESS. That means you’re responsible for your own taxes (eg, Social Security) and by the time Uncle Sam takes his cut of $10/hour, as a small business owner, there’s not a lot left over for you.

Furthermore, while charging by the hour is one way for freelancers to bill, you shouldn’t be working for “employee” wages. 

SEO Content Writing Rates: 2 Factors to Consider When Billing by the Hour

I bill by the hour (which happens very rarely) only when: 

(i) I know the subject matter intimately; and

(ii) The client and I have very strict project guidelines so we both know what to expect. 

Otherwise, I bill on a per article/blog post/project basis.

So in this case, I’d say this freelancer should skip this gig; it just sounds too much like a job. And again, as a freelance SEO content writer, what you are is a small business owner, not someone’s employee.

Next week I’ll do an in-depth post on when to consider billing by the hour (you have to be so careful when doing this).

Get More Info on What to Charge as an SEO Content Writer

FYI, use the search box in the top, right-hand corner of this site. Type in keyword phrases like “freelance writing rates”; “what to charge”; and “seo writing rates” to find more posts that deal with this subject. Read through them, then make your decision.

Yuwanda
P.S.:
Learn how to create multiple freelance income streams. Get Living the Freelance Life! How I Live Internationally and Have Earned a Living Completely Online Since 2007 & You Can Too, a free ebook. SeoWritingJobs.com is an InkwellEditorial.com property.

POST JOBS FREE: Find qualified talent for your SEO writing jobs, social media jobs and internet marketing jobs absolutely free. Simply send your ad to info[at]SeoWritingJobs.com. We will post it here, and in our weekly (Wednesday) newsletter.

P.P.S.: Ditch Your Job and Start a Successful Career as an SEO Copywriter? Get SEO Copywriting Training Today.
seo-copywriting-training

Find this post informative?Follow Us on Twitter.

Submit a Guest Post: This site and its parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, now accept guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Summer is here: want to avoid freelance writing dry spells that usually come this time of year by making extra money as an affiliate marketer? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites. Updated with 2011 PayPal screen shot of earnings!

Copyright © 2011: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the publisher’s written consent (linking to is fine).

Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Writers: In-depth Answers to 26 Commonly Asked Questions from SEO Writing Clients

PREFACE

I decided to write this ebook because, as a freelance writer since 1993, and a search engine optimization (SEO) copywriter since 2007, I get a lot of questions from fellow freelancers about what to expect from SEO writing clients.

x-click-but22 Ease the anxiey of interacting with clients for only $6.99. [See all Inkwell Editorial Titles that Help You Live the Freelance Life!]

Learn more about me on the About page here on this site.

Template Answers Right at Your Fingertips!

Most of these are questions I’ve received from actual freelance SEO writers since 2007. You can use the in-depth answers as “cut-and-paste templates” when you respond to clients – whether via email or phone.

cover-med-seoqs

Terrified New SEO Writers

New freelancers particularly seemed scared to death of client interaction.

As SEO is considered somewhat of a technical form of writing, it’s understandable to be a little freaked out if you’re new to the niche.

Because SEO is a constantly changing field, it can take some time to understand the concepts around it and to get comfortable speaking the language of this niche (eg, keywords, keyword density, anchor text, organic search, etc.).

An SEO Writing Reference Guide

So this ebook will serve as a handy “SEO writing reference guide,” if you will – for new SEO writers and those who just want somewhere they can go to get answers to the questions they’re most likely to receive from clients when they start this type of freelance writing career.

Where to Get Answers to Your SEO Writing Questions

Also within, I’ll give a step-by-step tutorial on how to find answers to questions you may have that are not covered within. I’ll also share some insight on how to handle it when a client simply stumps you, ie, you’re put on the spot and you literally can’t find an answer.

The following questions are answered – in depth – in this e-guide.

1. We’d like to speak with someone [via phone] about our SEO article writing needs. Can you get back to us and let us know how/when this can be arranged?

2. How much do you charge to write SEO content?

3. Do you offer a bulk rate if we order more than a certain number of articles?

4. What’s your turnaround time [for producing content]?

5. Do you write the content or do you outsource it?

6. Does/will the copyright belong to us?

7. What about edits/rewrites?

8. Do you provide the keywords or do we?

9. How much additional if we want you to do keyword research?

10. What do you need as far as direction? Is a list of topics and/or keywords enough, or do you prefer more guidance?

11. Do you accept PayPal?

12. What are your payment terms?

13. How many keywords (aka “keys”, “keyword phrases”) do you need to get started?

14. Can you/will you upload the copy for us to XYZ site?

15. Will you distribute the copy for us (eg, to article marketing directories, free press release sites, etc.)?

16. What is article marketing?

17. What’s the difference between a blog post and a regular SEO article or regular web page?

18. Will you put in the anchor text for us?

19. How much would it cost if we want a longer article than the one stipulated on your website?

20. We’d like to hire you to provide ongoing content for our site, eg, one article per week. Can you bill us monthly?

21. Can you forward some writing samples in our niche? Or, can you write an article on ABC (our niche) so we can see if you’re capable of handling our content needs?

22. Can you write articles on ABC subject?

23. Can/will you rewrite/edit existing content we have that we want to repurpose?

24. Can you set us up an account at XYZ site?

25. Will the content you write be 100% original?

26. What do we need to do to get started?

x-click-but22 Ease the anxiey of interacting with clients for only $6.99. [See all Inkwell Editorial Titles that Help You Live the Freelance Life!] Note: SeoWritingJobs.com is an Inkwell Editorial property.

Freelance Business Advice: One SEO Writer’s Sticky Situation with a Client Who Wasn’t Happy with Her Work

First let me say, when I first started this blog about SEO writing, I had no idea that it would morph into a Q&A on the industry, but that’s in essence what it’s become. And, thank goodness! Why?

Note: SEO Copywriting Training Class — Deep Discount If You Register On/Before October 7th.

Because it means that a lot of you are finding work – and encountering all the good, bad and the ugly that come with operating a freelance business. So keep the questions coming. Answering them not only keeps me on my toes, it means I don’t have to rack my brain wondering what readers like you “may” want to hear about week in and week out.

Following is the latest query I received from a fellow SEO writer. She wrote:

Question from an SEO Writer:  

Hello Yuwanda,

I have a quick question.  I provided service to an SEO writing company.  When I completed a project, I cc’d my client and his client.  

A couple of weeks ago, my client asked me to stop sending his client my work and send it directly to him. Apparently, he had someone to make changes to the content that I wrote.  The client wasn’t happy with the work that was submitted.

When my client sent me his client’s comments and corrections, it was someone else’s mistakes and not the original work I submitted. His client is under the impression that I wrote the poorly written content. Should I explain to his client that I wasn’t the one who wrote the poorly written content?

Post Continued Below . . .
*************************************
copyright-violation-notice Copyright Violation Notice: If you’re reading this entire post (snippets are fine) on any blog other than SeoWritingJobs.com, it is stolen content. Scraping content (eg, using software to illegally copy and paste copyrighted content from websites and blogs) is becoming a common practice which affects every site owner. So if you see this content someplace else, please take a quick moment to send an email to [info]at[SeoWritingJobs.com] (remove brackets, of course) so that we can take the appropriate action. Thank you in advance for your help.
*************************************

My Answer

Oh jumping jeeping willikers! Did you keep all of that straight? What it basically boils down to is the following:

This Freelancer’s Client Has a Client Who Is Not Happy with the SEO Content Submitted – But It’s Not What She Wrote and Submitted to HER Client

First I’m going to tell you how I’d handle this situation. Then, I’ll give some general guidelines to follow when dealing with SEO writing (indeed all freelance writing) clients.

How I’d Handle This Particular Situation with MY SEO Writing Client

I would not contact my client’s client.

I’d send MY CLIENT the original content that I wrote, along with a note explaining that the poorly written content wasn’t mine. I’d apologize for the inconvenience of it all. I’d go on to state that I value working with him/his firm and let him know that I’d be happy to help him resolve the situation with HIS client in any way I could.

Then, I’d leave it at that.

My Supposition on What Happened to Land This Freelance SEO Writer In This Situation

What it sounds like happened here is that this freelancer’s client probably had someone in-house rewrite what this freelancer sent in. And, THAT was the SEO content passed on to THEIR client (not the original content she sent in). This happens, by the way. You have no control over what happens to content after you send it to your client.

I don’t know if this freelancer attached a copy of her SEO articles  to the email she sent HER client’s CLIENT, but the situation could have been resolved if someone had reviewed that.

It sounds like the work wasn’t attached.

It also sounds like this freelancer’s client dropped the ball because he failed to compare the copy this freelancer sent in to what went out to HIS client.

This happens in SEO writing a lot because certain firms (especially internet marketing firms) have such a volume of content flowing in and out — from different account executives, different freelancers, different marketing strategists, etc.

Unless firm in-house procedures are in place with YOUR clients, it can be a nightmare for you to keep it all straight, which brings me to some SEO writing guidelines that I put in place early on in my career as an SEO copywriter.

SEO Writing Guidelines to Follow to Protect Your “Arse” with Clients

1. Keep copies of all content you send to clients. After you’ve sent it, don’t change one word. This is obvious, but bears repeating. This way, if they ever request it again, you have it – exactly as you gave it to them the first time. 

2. Tag every piece of content: I keep the following notes on each piece of content: Keyword phrase requested to be written on, date copy was requested, by whom, date it was turned in, who it was turned in to, word count of each article, date invoiced for and date paid.

And of course, I keep email correspondence surrounding each piece of content. I literally just throw all of this into a word doc for each client. That way, I can go back and tell them exactly what was ordered, when, by whom, when it was turned in, when the invoice was paid, etc.

One of my very first clients was an internet marketing firm out of Canada. And this was a blessing. Why? Because I learned how fast-paced SEO writing was. On any given day, I could receive 2-5 article orders from 2-3 different account execs within the same company.

Some may order one or two articles. Others may order 5 or more. As you can see, when work flows in like this, tracking it can get hairy — especially when it comes to invoicing it.

So I came up with a tracking system to keep them all straight because usually the bill went to my client’s accounting department and I had to document which account exec ordered what, and when.

3. Never, ever correspond with YOUR client’s client: Unless, that is, they give you explicit permission to do so. Don’t even ask who their client is. If YOUR client wants you to know that, they’ll tell you.

By and large, most of them will tell you what company the content is for, but don’t ask because it could plant a thought – even subliminally – that you’re trying to steal their client. And of course, that’s not cool.

I never contact the clients of my clients – even previous clients. It’s like dating your ex’s ex. It’s just too icky – unless a good amount of years have gone by (and the person is “hot,” of course!).

But, I digress! 🙂

4. When in doubt, ask: If you’re unsure about something, just ask your SEO writing client before making any moves. Asking up front can always cut down on later confusion.

Would you have handled this situation differently? Has something similar happened to you?. Please share in the comments section below.

Hope this insight helps, and continued success as we get further into this busy fall editorial season.
Yuwanda

P.S.: Learn how to create multiple freelance income streams. Get Living the Freelance Life! How I Live Internationally and Have Earned a Living Completely Online Since 2007 & You Can Too (on InkwellEditorial.com), a free ebook. SeoWritingJobs.com is an InkwellEditorial.com property.

Ditch Your Job and Start a Successful Career as an SEO Copywriter? Get SEO Copywriting Training Today.
seo-copywriting-training

Find this post informative? Follow Us on Twitter.

Submit a Guest Post: This site and its parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, now accept guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites. Updated with 2011 PayPal screen shot of earnings!

Copyright © 2011: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).