Over on The Copywriter Underground (which should be part of every freelance writer’s complete nutritious breakfast), Tom Chandler reminds us about the importance of client feedback.
And we’re not talking about editorial comments before going to press — we’re talking about taking a hard look at the effectiveness of the piece once it’s published. Did your advertising copy bring in new customers? Did your feature article generate letters to the editor? Did people find your report to be informative and useful? And how can you find out?
The writer’s job isn’t done when he or she sends a final draft after the last round of edits. It isn’t done when the check arrives (or even when it clears). A good freelancer wants to know how his or her little one is faring in the world after being pushed out of the nest.
I’ve had some managers misinterpret my interest as writerly vanity, and even as insecurity. “Don’t worry about it,” a marketing manager once told me, in soothing tones. “It was a good piece. I’m sure people will like it.” What bothered me more, though, was when I explained why I was interested, she replied that it wasn’t important for the writer to know how well the piece performed.
Actually, lessons abound for the writer. And an important part of the writer’s job is to learn them. Your insistence will — eventually — open your editors’ eyes, and get them thinking differently about the performance results of your copy. Next time, they will be more able to fine-tune your assignment so that it’s as good a performer as it can — and should — be.
Finding time for a followup call or e-mail can be hard. I’m often guilty of it myself. But I’ll redouble my efforts to follow Tom Chandler’s advice to put a note in my calendar and call my editors.
Think of it this way: it’s another way to show your professionalism — that you care about how well your work serves your client’s needs.