What's the difference between a good content writer and a great content writer?


Here at The Content Lab, one of the things I’ve been coaching content writers on a lot lately is the initial call with a prospective client.

This first call is where the great content writers separate themselves from the good ones.

Technically this is a sales conversation. Usually in this first call the client wants to know more about the copywriter, how they work and what they charge. In my experience, however, it’s always best for us copywriters to consider the first conversation with a prospect a discovery call as much as a sales call.

You see, a content writer isn’t going to make any difference in a client’s business if they’re focused solely on putting words on a page. We’ve got to dig down deeper and figure out what the client wants to happen in their business once that content is published.

  • More leads?
  • Increased sales?
  • Boosted credibility?
  • Growing email list?

Content is just words until you put a motivating goal behind it.

The first thing I do when I get on the phone with a new client is ask them questions about their business, their customers and their goals. The content itself doesn’t matter one bit until I understand what the client wants to achieve for their business.

Spending this time listening to the client gives me the opportunity to look for solutions.

In fact, I actually try to forget the reason they called me in the first place.

I listen with fresh ears.

It doesn’t matter what content they think they need.

What do they want to achieve?

Only once I’ve heard them out, figured out what their end goal is, and noted any opportunities they might not have spotted themselves do I circle back around to the content they want.

By then, I can tell them either, “Great! This project will certainly help you achieve your goals. Here’s how we go forward,” OR “This content won’t get you where you want to go. But here’s what will … “

And – this might shock you – but I also use that first conversation to determine if I’m the right person for the job. It’s true: I might not be the best person to help that prospect. I sometimes say no when someone really, really wants to give me money for my services.

I know where I excel. I know what I can realistically help clients achieve. I know where I can stretch outside my comfort zone and tackle new types of content. And I know when someone else would serve them better.

As many proposals as I put together for prospective clients, I easily refer as many people to other copywriters.

Most people don’t actually need a copywriter. They need the best solution to help them reach their business goals.

Most businesses don’t need content on command. They need a content strategy that keeps their business goals in the spotlight and their audience front-and-center.

What’s the difference between a good content writer and a great one?

The answer is in that first conversation.

Good content writers give the client what they ask for.

Great content writers find out what the client actually needs – and deliver the best possible solution.


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