Questions to Ask Freelance Writing Clients to Make the Job Go Smoothly

Knowing the right questions to ask freelance writing clients is crucial in delivering excellent content. As a contract writer, you will not always have the freedom to write according to your selection and tone. Instead, you will be bound by what your client wants and requires.

More often than not, clients already have an idea of what content they want. But sometimes, they cannot indicate or communicate the specifications properly. The job post may be vague or too simple for a writer like you to determine the exact requirements. So, it is important that you have a clear picture of what is being asked. In order to do this, you must have open communication with your client.

Types of Freelance Writing Jobs

typewriter with zoom in phrase Something worth reading

Freelance writing is one of the most sought-after gigs. Not only is it convenient because of its remote nature, but it is also very easy to find jobs. The demand for freelance writing jobs has always been high, and the income revenue forecast for independent writers continues to soar. While this is very good news for you, bear in mind that the number of writers joining the freelance workforce also increases. This means you have to keep on working on your craft, deliver excellent content, and sustain good relations with clients.

It is important that you keep track of what is in demand. There are different types of freelance writing jobs that clients seek:

  • Web Content Writer
  • Social Media Content Writer
  • Business Writer
  • E-Books Writer
  • Scriptwriting
  • Course Writing
  • Email Writing
  • Blogs and Ultimate Guides
  • Technical Writer
  • Marketing Copywriter

Whether you choose to specialize in one niche or be open to writing for different categories, it is crucial that you fully understand the expectations of your clients. To do that, you must ask the right questions from the start so that you can do your job smoothly and with less revisions.

Questions to Ask Freelance Writing Client

questions written on chalkboard

Before you start writing for a client, make sure to ask questions to define the article or content expectations clearly. You can create a form where your clients can write what they are looking for in detail. There are Google Forms freelancers can take advantage of to achieve this easily.

There are many benefits to knowing the right questions to ask a freelance writing client. First, you will have a clear picture of what is expected. This will save you time as you will now have the main idea of where to anchor the entire article or content. No more guessing! Second, there will be fewer revisions because you are already on the right track. And lastly, because you know what the client wants, you will get a good satisfaction rating which can translate to referrals and even returning clients.

Here are some of the vital information you need to know before starting a writing gig:

Purpose-Driven Questions:

1. What is the project and brand identity?

Before anything else, you must get to know your client. You must understand the history and the brand’s personality. Getting to know the project will provide a good insight into how you are going to go through with the article. Being in sync with the brand or client’s main vision will help make the article attuned immediately to your client’s expectations.

2. What is the goal or intention of the article?

Know the purpose of the article or content you are being asked to write. In your form, you can set the intent in a multiple choice type question to easily narrow it down. Is the article’s intention to inform, sell, or entertain? Or, it could be a call to action or release an official statement or stand.

3. Who is the target reader?

This is very important. Everything else in your article will be anchored on who the target is. You could be hired to write for very young audiences or a more specific demographic like dog lovers. Are you writing for local patrons or to an international market?

Knowing your target will help you determine the overall voice of your article. Remember, generations have different languages and expressions. Know which tone and words appeal to your audience more, especially if you have a specific goal like sales and advertising.

Technical Questions:

top view of writer with laptop and notebook

4. What is the tone and style?

Ask how you want your client to address their audience. Will it be formal or casual? Are you going for a humorous, aggressive, logical, or emotional tone? Knowing these will help you choose the correct word choice, language, expression, and cultural tone.

Do not forget to inquire also if the client wants an article divided by subheadings or chapters. If they do, ask them to set how many subheadings or chapters they expect or are comfortable with.

5. Fonts and images

Ask whether the client is expecting you to use a specific font or include images with your article. Some clients will immediately post your content once approved, so make sure that the font you are using is okay with them. For some social media content projects, you will also be asked to provide the images that best suit your text. Just remember that some fonts and images are subject to copyright and licenses.

6. Word Counts and Keywords

For some writing requirements like blogs and web content, it is important that you know the length of the article your client wants. Do not waste your time writing a two-thousand-word article and just end up editing it because the client finds it too long. If you are writing for e-books or online novels, ask how many chapters or pages are acceptable.

Also, for some, keywords and phrases matter, so do not forget to be clear about this.

7. Sensitive Issues

Ask your client if there are topics or issues that you must stay clear off. Again, this is why you must know your client’s brand identity. There may be instances where a subject is generally objective for you, but your client will find it offensive.

8. Publishing Platform

Knowing where your article or content will be published matters. There are some limitations to some platforms that you should consider when creating content. Especially if your client will be doing a cross-platform posting, you might need to adjust your article because some platforms may allow longer content while some have a limited character count.

9. Editing, File Format, and Submission Method

Some clients will want to easily edit your article, so they want an editable file. Others may prefer it to be in a PDF file. And some would simply explain the revisions via email or phone call. Ask your client what their preferred file type is.

There are freelance management systems that also allow the collaboration of documents that will enable both parties to edit the file. Ask your client if they are okay with this type of file exchange.

10. Versions

Some clients will want two or more versions of a content submitted to them. These clients want options, especially if it is for a social media campaign. It is better to ask this beforehand so you can also inform your client if there are differences in quotations or rates for multiple versions.

Other Matters to Discuss

To be able to deliver a good output, you should also discuss these other matters with your client:

  • Deadlines. Ask your clients when they are expecting submissions. You must also tell your client whether the deadline is reasonable or not. You have to agree on a submission date that will not compromise the quality of your work.
  • Versions and Revisions. As previously mentioned, the number of edits should be discussed. Also, you have to set parameters on what counts as a revision or version. Will changing the entire topic or title count as a new project?
  • Rates. Decide whether you are going for a project fee or a per-hour fee. Do not forget to include the costs for revisions, versions, or other additional fees like images.


laptop showing article

Your main goal is to have a detailed and clear picture of what the project is all about. Different writing skills are required for different types of writing requirements. Having a specific brief will really help you to do your job smoothly, especially if you have multiple clients.

Being a writer, you have more skill in bringing out the right words and expressions than your client (most probably). Keep in mind that not all clients will provide you with what you actually need to be able to write effectively. This is why you need to be honest (and modest) and communicate with your clients. Always have the questions to ask freelance writing client ready, so you can get the most helpful information from clients and avoid too many revisions.

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