The freelance game isnt always easy. Even if youre a great wordsmith and have tons of incredible ideas, it can be difficult to land a gig, and even when you do, it can be tough getting your work past the editor without it being totally torn apart.
The bottom line is, you must remain on the good side of your editor if you want to get regular gigs (and your work to see the light of day). With that in mind, here are five tips that will you stay in an editors good books…
Save Them Time
An editors life is extremely busy and as a result, their time is like gold dust.
The best thing you can do once your article has been commissioned is to save them time by adding additional value to your piece.
For instance, along with the draft, provide them with an SEO friendly title tag and meta description to accompany your article, as well as any charts, graphs and images which complement the piece.
Not only will this make your editor happy, it will make you seem more professional and, therefore, likely to land further gigs with that particular publication.
Do an Extra Proofread Before Sending
This is an extension of my first point, but it is so crucial that its most definitely worth its very own mention - go over your piece one final time before sending it over to your editor!
Take a break from the article for an hour or so, then look back at it with fresh eyes and iron out any small typos, repeated phrases or general redundancies to make it a lot more sleek and succinct.
If you do this, you will allow your editor to actually focus on the piece as a whole, rather than having to break down every little mistake - the turnaround will be quicker and you will definitely be favoured for it. Hello gig number two!
Phone a Friend
If you have written a piece or two for a publication and theyve been successful, chances are the editor will contact you with assignments.
Obviously, as a busy freelancer you might not always be able to take on the project, but sometimes, when you do have to blow off an editor, it can make you seem unreliable, uninterested, or just plain flakey.
The solution? Delve into your network of writing friends and contacts and refer one or two of them to the editor. This will clearly highlight that you care about the publication and are willing to go that extra mile - just make sure you trust the person you refer to do a good job or it could backfire!
Avoid Making the Same Mistake Twice
We all make mistakes: we are human after all.
The way we are often defined in the world of work is how we learn from our mistakes and use them to develop our skills - freelance writing is no different.
If youve made a particularly glaring error, make sure you note it down in a spreadsheet next to the name of that particular publication and make sure you refer to it every time you are working with that editor - because if you keep making the same errors, you wont get hired.
Also, once a piece is published, its always good practice to compare it to the original submitted draft to see how its been formatted by the editor in conjunction with their own guidelines. Look out for sentence structure, the use of serial commas, quotations etc. and ensure the next time you write a piece for them, you adopt the correct style from the start.
Keep Them in the Loop
Again, you may be scratching your head in disbelief as this sounds so obvious, but the fact of the matter is, so many people get this wrong and it really affects their career.
From the very start of the gig, make sure you note down your agreed deadlines in a calendar and stick to them like glue. If there are any hiccups, issues or potential changes to the slant of the piece, always, always let your editor know straight away and if they contact you dont leave them hanging for more than one day - keep them in the loop and they will really thank you for it. Leave them waiting and you can kiss goodbye to your next gig.
The message to take home here is that the relationship you build with an editor is as vital as the content you are writing. If you get off on the wrong foot or break any of the above rules on a regular basis, you will really narrow you opportunities for lucrative and rewarding writing work.
If youre a writer and have any tips of your own, please feel free to leave a comment.
As always, best of luck!