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Guest Post: How to Start Writing for Corporate Clients

By Susan Weiner
You’ve decided to pursue corporate clients. But you don’t know what corporate clients want. How can you get started? Try informational interviewing—meetings in which you raise questions, but don’t ask for work—as a first step.

Before I became a freelancer I worked as a staff reporter and as director of investment communications for an asset management firm. I fell into freelance corporate writing. When I did informational interviews looking for a full-time corporate job, people kept asking if I’d do freelance work. Eventually I accepted my first project and discovered I liked it. By then I’d done about 100 informational interviews and created a network I could tap for future work.

If you’re brand new to corporate writing, try a variation on what I did. Set up informational interviews about corporate writing with writers or people who hire writers. When they know you’re not going to sell to them, they’re more willing to meet with you. You’ll learn the language of corporate writing and you’ll make a connection that may eventually turn into work. For example, I didn’t know what a white paper was when I started networking. (They’re a cross between an article and a brochure, pose a problem faced by customers and tell how to solve the problem). Now they’re a favorite kind of project. I got my first white paper project after an informational interviewee passed my name along to her friend.

I asked questions such as
• What kind of writing does your company do?
• Who’s your audience and what do you want them to do?
• Who does the writing?
• What’s the process for getting your writing projects accomplished?
• Are there things you wish you could change about the writing process?
• Do companies in your industry use freelance writers? If so, what are they looking for?
• How do you think a writer like me could help companies in your industry?

I started my informational interviewing with people I already knew. Then I asked them for referrals to others. As a result, I never had to make a cold call. You probably know someone who can introduce you into your target industry. So pick up the phone and get started!

Susan Weiner is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) who helps financial professionals increase the impact of their writing on clients and prospects. She writes and edits articles, white papers, articles, investment commentary, web pages, and other communications for leading investment and wealth management firms. Visit her website or sign up for her newsletter at http://www.investmentwriting.com

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Guest Post: How to Start Writing for Corporate Clients {network}