Five Skills to Supplement Your Freelance Writing PotentialMay 15th, 2012 by Michael Kwan
Yes, some strategists will tell you to focus on your strengths if you want the most profitable business possible, but it conversely true that many clients may prefer freelancers who bring more than just top-notch skill to the table.
As you may already know, a good portion of my freelance writing business has to do with product reviews. And a good part of reviewing products is taking good pictures of them.
While I don’t claim to be a professional photographer, per se, I have grown and learned a lot. My trusty Olympus micro four-thirds camera has served me well thus far and the quality of the pictures accompanying my reviews has noticeably improved. Some good photo editing skills are oftentimes quite desirable too.
When you are writing feature articles on any number of topics, being able to interview top experts in that field is a useful skill. The direct and indirect quotes add value to the piece, offering perspective and personality. Whether you’re interviewing in person, on the phone, or even via e-mail, asking the right questions in the right manner can go a very long way in getting the results you desire.
Social Media Skills
More than ever, the Internet is a social environment and social media plays an increasingly large role. It is an added bonus to your clients if you already have a large following on Twitter or Facebook and you choose to promote the articles you write through these channels. Clients shouldn’t expect this to be included in your rates, but it gives them a nice perk.
On the flip side, you can also offer to consult them or assist your client in their own social media efforts. Help them understand what does and does not work. Explain to them how hashtags can help or what tools they can use to monitor their brand.
Web Design Skills
Most of my writing is for the Internet. This includes blog posts, press releases and web copy. Naturally, the way that a site looks and is laid out can be just as important as the actual words themselves. Investing in a good freelance writer is much the same as investing in a good web designer or coder.
In this way, it can a huge benefit to your clients if you are able to assist with their web design and coding efforts too. Even having a fundamental understanding of PHP, HTML, WordPress, and other standards will allow you to work more easily within the structure of your clients’ websites.
Graphic Design Skills
If more of your writing is for print–like copywriting for pamphlets and handouts–then having great graphic design and layout skills can be very desirable. If you know how to set up a newsletter and you can write the content that goes in it, you instantly become a more valuable commodity than the provider who can only do one or the other.
“I Can Do That”
It would be unethical for you to say that you a professional with XYZ skills when you know nothing about XYZ. When you do have those skills though, even if they’re not quite at the high-end professional level, they become a great selling point that can differentiate your services from those of your competitors.
Being great at your main skill is still very important and you should spend some time polishing it up so you can be the best, but remember that versatility still counts. As you business grows, you may even consider outsourcing to further expand the services that you can offer to your clients.
Filed under Freelance Writing.