Did you know that 7.5 million blog posts flood the internet each day? With so much content circulating online, the competition is fierce. As a freelance blogger tasked with crafting compelling posts for clients, your primary goal is to deliver the very best quality. Your mission? To provide original content that informs readers, addresses their questions, resolves their pain points, or sparks their curiosity, ultimately driving them to connect with your client’s business.
But here’s the challenge: How do you consistently create outstanding content that satisfies your clients and minimizes the need for endless revisions? The answer lies in the all-important scoping call.
Do You Need to Have a Scoping Call for Blog Writing?
I’ve pondered this question from various angles. To be completely transparent, not all my clients require scoping calls. In many cases, I’ve built strong relationships, and I’ve come to understand their expectations intimately. However, a scoping call is a brilliant idea when it comes to new clients, particularly those who haven’t provided much context for their needs. It’s undeniably the most effective way to align your efforts with their expectations right from the start.
Now, let’s take a step back. I’ll be honest—I’ve never been a fan of phone calls and I’ve set up boundaries to help keep phone calls to a minimum. It’s a preference that hasn’t wavered over time.
Consequently, I’ve dedicated myself to pinpointing the essential elements of a scoping call, streamlining it for maximum efficiency and productivity. After all, as freelance bloggers, the first blog scoping call doesn’t typically translate into immediate income. These preliminary conversations, often referred to as discovery calls, mark the inception of your collaboration with a client and lay the groundwork for your future projects together.
In this context, a bit of friendly banter and a get-to-know-you exchange hold significance. Maintaining professionalism and engagement is non-negotiable. However, it’s equally vital to transition smoothly into business matters. Over time, I’ve compiled a list of key questions for these discovery calls, ensuring I extract the essential information required to commence work and, yes, start earning income.
Here are five questions to ask in your next scoping call.
1. Who is the audience you are writing to?
Your client should provide valuable insights into their business and the products or services they offer. The beauty of asking this question lies in its dual purpose: not only do you gain a deeper understanding of their business and priorities, but you also uncover crucial details about their target audience.
By grasping both aspects, you position yourself to create content that not only aligns with your client’s objectives but also resonates effectively with their ideal buyers, making it a doubly beneficial inquiry.
2. What makes your business different?
This is where you extract the vital information necessary to ensure your completed article aligns seamlessly with Google’s E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) methodology. Your mission here is to unearth precisely what sets your client’s business apart amidst the crowded digital landscape.
Why should readers care about what they have to say? By asking this question, you embark on the journey to establish your client’s expertise, experience, and authority.
The ultimate goal is to engender trust among your readers. You want to comprehend the unique value proposition of your client’s business, the distinctive solutions they offer, and the unparalleled insights they bring to the table. This is where you explore the essence of their competitive edge, their years of experience, and the innovation that makes them stand out in their industry.
Armed with this knowledge, your content can confidently convey its distinctive position in the market, ensuring it resonates with readers and, in turn, bolsters your client’s credibility.
3. Who is the competition?
For certain businesses, identifying their competition might be pretty easy. For instance, I have experience writing dental-related content; when creating an article about dental cleanings, the competition primarily consists of local dentists. However, pinpointing competitors may not always be crystal clear for other businesses. In such cases, it’s essential to request a list of a couple of their competitors from your client.
Conduct at least a cursory review of these competing websites to gain valuable insights. This step helps you become more informed about the content and subject matter you’re about to write, ensuring that your content strategy remains competitive and relevant.
4. How much flexibility do you, as a writer, have?
So, what exactly does this entail? This is the moment when you need to clarify the scope of your creative freedom. You’ll want to determine if there’s a creative brief guiding your work, specific keywords to include, preferred calls to action (CTAs), and any other constraints or preferences set by your client. Alternatively, you might inquire if you have the liberty to craft content on topics that align with your client’s business goals without strict guidelines.
In my experience, I’ve had clients who fall into both categories. Many clients, especially in the early stages of our collaboration, provide detailed creative briefs for me to follow. However, as I become more acquainted with their business and industry, the need for such comprehensive briefs diminishes.
I need to emphasize that some clients recognize the need for website content but may lack a clear starting point. In such cases, they rely on your expertise to generate ideas. While this is perfectly acceptable, it’s essential to invest some time in research and analysis. By studying their competitors’ content and identifying relevant topics, you can ensure that the topics you propose resonate with the audience and serve a purpose, avoiding the creation of irrelevant or inconsequential content.
5. What are the basic SEO requirements for the article?
Now, let’s touch upon the fundamental SEO prerequisites. While this aspect should certainly be addressed during the call, it need not dominate the discussion. As a seasoned freelance blogger, you’re well-versed in the significance of SEO elements, the art of storytelling, optimal blog length, and more. Hence, it’s prudent not to dwell excessively on this topic. Instead, aim to ascertain the client’s specific SEO expectations quickly.
In my practice, I typically reserve this discussion for the latter part of the call, using it as a concluding note to solidify our understanding and align on the terms of our work contract. By doing so, I ensure that the content I create not only aligns with their business objectives but also meets their SEO requirements effectively. It’s all about striking a balance between comprehensive understanding and efficient time management during the call.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Blog Scoping Call
A blog scoping call is an invaluable tool for ensuring your content creation process aligns seamlessly with your client’s needs. It’s the bridge that connects your expertise as a freelance blogger with your client’s objectives, setting the stage for successful collaboration. Remember, this initial conversation need not be a lengthy affair; in fact, it can often be wrapped up in just 15-30 minutes.
To recap, we’ve explored key questions to ask during these calls, covering aspects such as understanding the audience, assessing competition, gauging your creative flexibility, and addressing basic SEO requirements. Each of these elements contributes to crafting content that not only informs but also engages readers effectively.
Whether you’re a beginning blogger seeking guidance or a business owner in search of a freelance blogger to elevate your online presence, I’m here to help. If you’re a beginner, consider scheduling a consultation with me to kickstart your blogging journey. For business owners, looking to enhance their online presence with great content, I’m just a click away via LinkedIn or Upwork. Let’s connect and take your content strategy to the next level