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Why I don’t audition for writing clients

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A few years ago, I came across this thing of “auditioning” for writing clients. Potential clients would ask for samples to pit writers against each other. Well, I don’t audition for writing clients.

That isn’t the sort of thing I get into.

Now, I know some potential clients are going to chat to multiple writers first. That isn’t the problem here.

The problem is the way they go about getting writers to do samples for them.

Clients asking you to audition want free samples

The big issue is that these potential clients want the writers they’re looking at to write samples. No, this isn’t sharing your previous samples, but writing a specific sample, in a specific way, on a specific topic.

I’ve shared before why you shouldn’t write free samples but what you should do instead. So, I definitely don’t think you should audition for writing clients.

There’s little chance you’ll get the job. In fact, there’s little chance there was even a chance in the first place.

You see, I don’t audition for writing clients not because I think I’m too good for them, but because I value my time and work. I know I should be paid for everything I do for a client. If they want samples, they get one of my previously written samples that is available for everyone.

It takes time and effort to create well-written content. I’m not going to spend my time writing for free when I have paying clients or my own blog posts to get on for. My business is a for-profit business.

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What should you do if you don’t audition for writing clients?

If you’re not going to audition, what should you do instead?

This all goes back to my blog post about why not to offer free writing samples. You don’t need to write a specific piece for a potential client.

The potential client should want to see your writing skills. Some will want to see your skills in a particular niche. If you are offering content on a specific niche, you’ll want to make sure you have samples that will cover you for that need.

Put the samples online with your byline. You can use your own blog, but I do recommend getting some sort of social proof. As much as I don’t like the way The Huff Post treats writers (although that was a long time ago and may have changed now), writing just one post for the site on your niche to work as a sample is a great way to gain the byline you need.

Don't Audition for Writing Clients

Tell the potential client your writing rate

Sometimes, a client will want you to do a “test article.” This is fine, as long as it’s paid.

You shouldn’t be doing any work for free for anyone. This isn’t an internship or some sort of step up. Too many potential clients out there are using free “test articles” as a way to get the content they need without paying anything.

So, you tell the potential client your rate. And it will be the same as you charge normally. Don’t reduce your rate just because it’s a test article. It doesn’t matter. It still takes you the same amount of time.

If a client isn’t happy about paying for a test article, they’re not a client you want in your life.

I’m never going to tell you what you should definitely do. However, when it comes to an audition for writing clients, you need to think again. You’re not going to get work out of it.

MORE: Why content mills are not a complete waste of time for writers

What have you had potential writing clients ask for? What would you like to achieve with your writing business? Let me know in the comments below.