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Content Writing 101: 5 Things to Keep in Mind While Scoring Your First Gig

Getting a real job means learning the secrets of the trade. There are certain things you should know before you get involved in any kind of work, and this is especially true for content writing.

This is the most popular means of earning a little extra cash in Pakistan, but you need more than just good writing skills in order to excel.

After you’ve learned how to write quality pieces and deliver them on time, here are 5 main things that you need to keep in mind beforehand.

Decide on Deliverables

Often, a writer will send a piece of work thinking that he/she has done a pretty decent job, but the client will point out errors and ask for revisions. It is not at all uncommon for some clients to end up canceling the order in these cases.

So what can you, the content writer, do to prevent this? You need to protect your interests as well, and within reason.

You can:

  • negotiate and settle on a mutually-agreed rate for work being done, based on the project type – essays, blog posts, descriptions, website content, etc.
  • decide on the number of article revisions beforehand. You may encounter the odd client who, no matter how many times you revise your content, will not be satisfied. Insist on them paying you more if they exceed the revision quota.

Remember, in the content writing business, the document you share with your client is the final product, and they can choose not to pay once they’ve gotten it. But that doesn’t mean that they can exploit you for the hard work you’ve put in your work so far.

Again, we must stress this, as a writer your work must be easy to read, presentable and to the point. Otherwise no client will take you seriously, one revision or fifty.


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Advance Payments

While the general idea of advance payments can come across as too much, but for those in the freelancing content writing business, it is necessary.

Discuss the deliverables with your client. Based on the project size and requirements, you will have to insist on either 25%, 30% or 50% advance payment (whatever suits you).

By doing this you are treating your own work fairly. It also helps weed out unscrupulous clients who have no intention of paying you once you turn your work in. Content writers are all too aware of this situation here.

Inform Availability Dates Beforehand

In the event that you should need to pause your freelance work, you can do so.

Talk to your employer and clients beforehand, if you have some family or other commitments coming up.

If not, clients will be at liberty to penalize you over canceled orders etc. Your freelancer profile also shows bad feedback left by clients who were not informed of any emergencies in such cases. It pays to be courteous and careful.

Understanding Order Maturity Dates

For most firms, your payment doesn’t get processed immediately. It can take one week, two weeks or even a month. This is known as order maturity.

Ask your employer about order maturity time periods and estimate the date on which your payment will be processed.

Consider this: you’ve sent an assignment on a Monday and the processing time is a week. Your order will be matured by the following Monday. Suppose that Monday is the 30th of January, and you get your paycheck on the 1st of February. If your order had matured before 1st of February, you would have gotten paid for it then, but because it hadn’t, you will get paid for it on the 1st of March.

Also it helps if you can dig into the client’s history. Check their ratings on freelancing platforms. In Facebook groups, you can check what others are saying about a client before signing up for a project with them.

Keep a Task Sheet

When you’re being paid on a monthly basis by your employer or manager, it is not uncommon for you to lose count of the number of tasks you’ve done over 30 days.

Always keep a spreadsheet handy and jot down the order number, date, type, payment and order maturity dates.

You will need to prepare an invoice at the end of the month anyway, but it’s good to update your task sheet while you do your work in order to avoid any errors or miscount.

While content writing may be great, you don’t have fixed work hours. This might mean some days where you can type away frantically in the middle of the night, but you’ll get used to that.

Our next post will feature where you can find content writing gigs in Pakistan.