You Versus the Marketer: Who’s in Charge?

For a long time after I began freelance writing, I saw marketers as my superiors.

It took a couple of years and a lot of paid projects to realize how wrong I was.

My goal now is to make sure you don’t make the same harmful mistake. Because ultimately, that mindset can hold you back from taking charge of your writing career and living the true writer’s life.

So in this article, I’m going to talk about how to handle direct encounters with marketers.

Who Holds the Power Here?

First, let’s talk about the idea that marketers are superior to writers.

I had that misconception because I thought marketers held the power. After all, they’re the ones who decide whether or not you get a project, what fee they’re willing to pay, and whether your copy is any good … right?

Well, yes. If you let them.

If you enter freelance writing with the mindset of a peon, you’ll get treated like one. You’ll be the one turning your schedule upside down to accommodate last-minute requests. You’ll be the one settling for pay that’s lower than you deserve.

Not a route I’d recommend.

Then there’s the flipside. You can assume you hold all the power in the marketer/writer relationship.

You can demand high fees, set your own deadlines and expect your clients to agree, and submit your copy with the words “No feedback required.”

But you probably won’t get hired by anybody … or if you do, they won’t be clients for long.

Instead, I recommend a middle-ground approach.

5 Steps to a Stronger Writer/Marketer Relationship

Your best bet is to follow a path of equal respect, fair give-and-take, and understanding between you and the marketer that you can help each other. That you’ll make each other’s businesses stronger and more successful in the long run.

Marketers want you. They need you. They can’t do what they need to do without good writers.

But like any healthy inter-dependent relationship, they expect you to respect them — and they’ll return the favor.

Unless (or until) you cross over into the marketing world yourself, you’ll have to rely on marketers to help you get your writing career launched.

So treat clients like you would any relationship — assuming you want it to be healthy and last for the long-term. Use the following set of tips as your guide.

  1. Recognize you’re on equal footing with marketers. They have a lot they can teach you about their companies, but you bring your own unique, beneficial set of skills to the table.

  2. Respect marketing clients as you would a best friend. Listen to their wants, needs, and goals. Let them do the talking, but share your own opinion on things — but be sure to say it in a positive or proactive way.

  3. Decide your value first, but be open to negotiation. Don’t let a marketer tell you what you’re worth. You’re a freelancer — YOU make that call. But also don’t be stubborn about your fees. Negotiation has value.

  4. Talk honestly about goals — both your goals and the marketer’s goals. One of my most profitable client relationships started with a proposal I sent to a client, outlining what my services would bring her.

    She wrote back to ask about my own professional goals. Once I shared them, she devised an even bigger, more lucrative project than what we’d been discussing — and it complemented our combined goals.

  5. Speak with confidence when you tell a marketer what you can do for him or her. Think of a young couple, deeply in love, about to get engaged. Surely the fellow wouldn’t get down on one knee to say, “Um … I’d like you to consider, if you don’t mind … possibly marrying me … even though I’m new to all this … and I don’t have any experience in marriage …”

    Can you imagine agreeing to a shaky proposal like that? Neither could a potential client.

Here’s your take-home: Marketers are your equals. They want and need your writing services. And they can’t do what it is they do without writers like you.

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Published: October 25, 2012

1 Response to “You Versus the Marketer: Who’s in Charge?”

  1. Especially when first starting out, it is easy to have that 'mindset of a peon'. I love the balanced approach you offer as well as the great tips for creating a better writer/marketer relationship. Thank you, Mindy, for this very helpful information! :)

    Susan M Paradise

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