In the real estate world, there is an oft quoted line: “Location, location, location!” Everyone knows what that means when you say it. The main point conveyed is, of course, that location is everything in the real estate market. If you have the most gorgeous home in the world and it’s in the worst neighborhood, nobody will likely spend money on it to purchase it. At least not what it’s worth.
In the writing business, I submit to you that quality is the most important aspect of your job. We live in a very fast paced world. We have fast food, drive through pharmacies, grocery delivery to our home, and priority, express, one-day, one-hour everything. It seems the more technology we have, the more connected we are, the faster we want things done.
When this attitude carries over into your work as a writer, though, it starts to hamper results. If you’re working for clients and your goal is to pump out 20 articles a day, you might be able to do that. But if you aren’t taking the time to write quality articles, you can’t demand the same fee, and you won’t get the clients you want. Unfortunately, high quality content has become the exception rather than the rule in the writing business. But while that’s an unfortunate statement about the freelancing world (come on, people, you’re better than that!), it’s actually quite a great opportunity for writers to sell work.
Behold! The top five reasons you should focus on quality, and why taking a bit more time to do quality work will help you in the long run.
1. You’ll Stand Out
Let’s say you’re walking down the aisle of your local jewelry shop. You notice some strands that are pretty, but not exactly outstanding. Some earrings that are nice, but kind of tacky at the same time. Standard, cheap jewelry that goes for $5 to $15 a piece. Then, you run across a beautiful necklace, high quality, well made, and dazzling. Ah! This is just amazing. Not only is it wonderful in and of itself, but compared to the other pieces of jewelry it’s even more amazing. Would you pay a little more for it? A lot more for it? Probably. The same thing goes when people search for content. Chances are, they’ve had more than a few run-ins with horrible quality, endless revisions have been required, and they might be pretty well done with the bad content they’ve found. When they see that you have excellent quality, they’ll be so happy! Not only that, but they’ll be willing to pay you more just because you do such great work. You stand out from the crowd when you write quality content. This is also a good reason for why you should always submit quality samples and proposals.
2. Saves You Time in the Long Run
It might seem counter-intuitive, but spending a little more time on your work up front can save you a lot of time in the long run. Ask me how I know. Whenever I throw together content, hoping to just submit some articles and put them up for sale, inevitably I get asked to do several revisions before the editors will post it. The time it takes me to go back and redo everything is ridiculous, and it would have been so much easier to just take the time to do a thorough job and edit it one or two times before submission up front. This is the reason I started outlining, as I mentioned in this blog post, and why I do a lot of things by hand instead of online. Ten minutes of preparation up front can save you hours in the long run.
3. Can Open Doors to Larger Projects
You never know where something is going to lead. Let’s say you submit a proposal for a $50 job. Not a huge job, but it’s something. You might be tempted to do good-but-not-great work because the assignment is rather small. Don’t. Every sample, every proposal, every article, every submission, every blog post, everything you write should be written as though it’s a $2/word article in the top magazine in your field. Why? Because you never know who your client knows. If you submit an awesome sample article for your small job, even if that client can’t commit to repeat or long-term work, he or she might know somebody who does. And that somebody could end up needing a $1,000 project done. You just never know where something you write will end up, so always do your best and take the time to do quality work every time.
4. Bolsters Your Reputation
Your reputation is everything, as any business person knows. Your writing is your business, so taking the time to do a quality job every single time will ensure you are seen and known as a high quality content producer. This will inevitably help you as you go throughout your freelance career. Reputation is very important in any business, but I would posit that in the freelance world it’s even more important, because you are your own brand. It’s a personal reputation, as well, which tells others not only what your business is like, but what you’re like as a person, what your ethics are, and so on. Do the best job you can every single time.
5. Makes You a Better Writer
A lot of people can throw together a 500-word article on gardening without doing much research and just following the template of other articles online. But only the best authors sit down and do high quality research, writing, and editing on every single article they write. Be one of those top quality authors. It makes you a better writer. Every time I get a suggestion from an editor, find a mistake in my work, or work extra hard on an article, I learn more about writing, myself as a writer, and where I need to improve. Knowing these things means you’re continually learning and improving, and that’s something everyone needs to do, no matter what industry they work in.
Sometimes it might seem that if you can get away with a good-not-great quality article, you should. After all, it does save time. But saving time isn’t everything. Once you become known as someone who writes just enough to get by, it’s hard to climb out of that reputation pit. Not only that, but you should strive to be the best at what you do. Every time. Can you imagine if your doctor thought “Well, this one isn’t such a serious case, I don’t have to examine her quite as well as the others.” Scary! So why should you treat your clients any different, or put more effort into one article over another? You shouldn’t. It always pays off to take time to do your best work the first time.
Do you have any great stories about how putting a lot of effort in up front payed off big? We’d love to hear! Sound off in the comments.
Until next time, happy writing!