Compromising on quality is among a content writer’s worst fears. And unfortunately, such situations are quite common for professionals tied to stringent deadlines and client expectations.
Unfortunately, sticking to deadlines is easier said than done for numerous reasons.
Maybe you’re swamped with too much work and haven’t had enough time for a certain project to be double-checked. Or maybe, the client modified their instructions when you’re almost finished with it, so you need to start from scratch. Maybe the deadline was rescheduled for an earlier date. Or maybe, something urgent came up in your personal life that you had to deal with, and that ate into your work day.
There could be many reasons why you may have to trade off quality for meeting deadlines. But that choice is never easy, especially because we all know that “content is king!”
If you compromise on quality, you risk losing a consistent source of income in the future. On the other hand, most clients will view you as unreliable and unprofessional if you can’t honour deadlines.
That begs the question: Is there a middle ground you can take without jeopardising future content writing gigs?
Don’t worry. We’ve come up with a solution that can consistently yield results for you if you are persistent and patient. With the help of these content writing tips, you can master this delicate balance with ease.
Quality Or Deadline: How To Decide?
Don’t rush to submit your work just to get paid. It could have negative consequences in the long term. For one, your portfolio can become lacklustre; your credibility can be jeopardised, and you might even struggle to find better clients in the future. Instead, take a few minutes and contemplate the following points to make a more informed decision — both pre-assignment and during the course of the assignment.
Before You Accept A Project Or Assignment
#1. Don’t Entertain Clients Who Expect The World From You: Unfounded demands and impractical expectations can take a heavy toll on a writer in the long run. Choose your clients wisely. If your client hires you as a freelancer and yet expects a daily turnout of 5000-word-long impeccably written pieces that are highly entertaining, unique, and SEO-driven, complete with photos, research links, and graphics, don’t kid yourself. Just steer clear. The client probably doesn’t know anything about what writing content entails or the quality of the content.
Pro Tip: Don’t cave under pressure or go head over heels for a client. And don’t ignore your other clients in the process.
#2. Don’t Accept Projects With Irrational Deadlines: Writing fresh, well-written content can’t be done by a robot. It requires creativity and the human touch to capture the hearts of its readers. No matter what topic or what type of content you’re writing, you need to be able to connect with your readers. You can’t consistently produce good work every day if you don’t get adequate time to do the job properly. So, when deciding on deadlines, be pragmatic, be practical. Negotiating deadlines is just as important as negotiating your commercials.
Pro Tip: Don’t get into commercials with any new client(s) if you think they may place impractical or non-doable deadlines on their projects.
After You Accept An Assignment
#1. Quality And Its Many Facets: You may have written the most thought-provoking and engaging piece of your career. But if you haven’t ticked all the ‘ts’ and dotted all the “i”, your work isn’t up to any standard. In other words, if your work fails even by a small percentage with respect to non-negotiables, such as grammar, tone, format, spelling errors, links, images, etc., it’s best to ask for an extension. All content writers know that the devil lies in the details; you simply can’t overlook them.
Pro Tip: Decide on the best time and the right situation to ask for extensions.
#2. Deadlines Mean Revenue: It can be tough to make money as a beginner, especially when clients are few and funds are barely trickling in. From that standpoint, sticking to deadlines is essential because that’s when you’ll get paid, especially as a freelancer. So, if you’re crunched for time and literally cannot afford to delay your paycheck, you can submit your work if the revisions needed don’t detract from the meaning of the final draft.
Pro Tip: Of course, that applies only if your handiwork makes sense to the copy editors.
#3. The Dilemma Of Compromising On Quality To Meet Deadlines: Mark Twain once said, “Deadlines are the greatest source of inspiration.” And yet, for most writers, it might seem like a cardinal sin to forsake quality just to get to the finish line. While your primary focus must be on creating original, target-specific content that hits the spot, you must remember that not all deadlines are set in stone. For instance, you may have to overlook quality if you’re working on a time-sensitive project. But it will be easier to extend a “soft” deadline; use this time wisely to polish your material.
Pro Tip: Find different tools to ensure quality within your deadlines.
#4. What Quality Really Means: This is relatively subjective and depends primarily on client servicing. Some days you’ll be working on social media posts, whereas on others, you’ll have to write a newsletter or a blog article. In short, the many genres in content writing serve different purposes and cannot be compared so easily. So how do you gauge the quality of your work? Check what resonates with the audience. Does your content actually resolve people’s queries? Is it authentic and transparent? Can you find the right string of words to inspire a call to action? Is your content actually helping your client scale their business? If not, you should take a few extra days to work on all of these.
Pro Tip: And oh! Don’t forget about the actual writing! Your writing must be appealing, alluring, and interesting — no matter the topic, format, or purpose of the content.
#5. How To Ensure Quality: Now that you understand that quality goes beyond just what you write, there are a few ways to zhuzh up your content and ensure quality on all fronts. For one, use good and reliable content writing tools, such as Google Trends, SEMrush Writing Assistant, Trello, Hemingway Editor, the HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator, etc., to create fresh, unique, easily readable, engaging, and SEO-friendly content on trending or relevant topics. In the editing stage, you can utilise the services of Grammar and Plagiarism Checkers to make editing a breeze. You cannot cut corners during research, nor can you do so during editing.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to lend your own voice to the content while writing, but make sure it is all coherent and consistent.
#6. Ensuring Quality When Sticking To Deadlines: You may possess brilliant content writing skills, but you can only consistently deliver quality work if you’re self-disciplined. When you know you don’t have much time, streamlining your process can make all the difference. You must create a routine that maximises your productivity; do what works for you! Plan the framework a day before to save some time. If you have multiple projects, try breaking your work day into different segments where each piece gets your undivided attention.
Pro Tip: Don’t bite more than you can swallow! Content writing is no get-rich-fast scheme. Don’t treat it as such. You’ll lose your clients in the process.
#7: Just Breathe: Don’t get too worked up, especially if you have tight deadlines. Sure, maybe you need to work on your time management skills, but you don’t have to beat yourself up over it. We’ve all been where you are at some point in our careers, too. If you freeze mentally, you won’t do your best work, irrespective of deadlines. And that defeats the purpose of doing the job in the first place. So, just take a break or meditate for a few minutes if you’re feeling very stressed out.
Pro Tip: Writer’s block is a real thing — even for content writers. So, stop trying to write 3000 words in one go. Take frequent breaks throughout the day. Take your weekly offs. Take personal days. Don’t forget: It’s like any other job.