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Write for Clients

1. Be True to the Brand

When writing for other people, it’s important to speak with their voice, not yours. Ideally your style will mesh exactly with the way the brand or client envisions themselves, but sometimes you have to write for brands you don’t connect with-and sometimes about topics you don’t even understand. In those cases, never lose sight of who it is you’re writing for. You have to take care to write what’s best for the brand, including phrasing, word selection, tone, audience, and themes.

2. Keep It Short

I think in terms of “additive” vs. “subtractive” scripts for clients. This means I’ve tried writing scripts that are too short, asking the client to add details they think they need, and writing longer, more detailed pieces and requesting the client subtract details that are extraneous. In my experience, clients love what they do and are enthusiastic to hear more. This means they rarely remove information from a script, and therefore it is almost always better to write a shorter piece and let your client add in anything they think you missed. Besides, brevity is the soul of wit.

3. Murder Your Darlings

There’s simply no way to talk about writing without mentioning this pearl. It is as true with client-facing writing as with any other type of writing. You must be ready at any moment to rewrite, revise, delete, or completely eviscerate your favorite parts of what you’ve written. It is for the good of the whole project, even though it’s hard.

4. Find Out What Your Client Needs

Spoken or unspoken, articulated or not, it’s your job to suss out exactly what your client needs from this particular piece of prose. A good conversation with your client is always ideal when figuring this out, but sometimes, even your client doesn’t know exactly what they need. You may need to do some research to familiarize yourself with the best way to speak to your client’s customers-the audience.

5. Know Your Audience

Actually, know both of your audiences. Your client is the primary audience, so you have to write to appeal to them. But the best way to make your client happy is to write to their audience.