There are some basic professional courtesies to follow when working with an editor as a freelance writer. Here are some from my experience on both sides. I hope these three tips will help you if you are starting out and serve as a reminder if you are already a freelancer...
2. Show initiative where possible and required and they will appreciate it - Editors notice when freelance writers take initiative to find an extra source, include a sidebar of useful resources, or even add vital statistics to a story. But also remember that if you’ve been given a set framework to work within then adding these bells and whistles is not going to help. Know when to put in the extra effort and doing so at the right moment will certainly have the editor taking note of your work. They are human much as you are, and they can do with some extra assistance where possible. Just make sure that extra assistance on your part doesn’t add any additional work on their plate. Better yet, check in with your editor if you can add that extra source or sidebar and that way, neither party will be exercising extra effort that will be lost in the final published story.
3. Keep them informed when things go awry - Confirm with your editor when you can take on an assignment, and keep them informed of sources that have confirmed for interviews or any other associated requests but positively keep your editor informed when there is anything out of the ordinary – you cannot meet the deadline, you cannot reach a source, you cannot open the reference links they sent you, etc. Open communication always is the best policy. They might even be able to help you with some of these issues but assuming you are fine without speaking to a specific source they asked for because you got the other two or being careless about a deadline on one story because another assignment from the same editor has a different due date – these are big no’s. If you feel you need help, always turn to your editor. They understand most times and will try their best to extend all assistance they can.
Found these tips useful? Chime in with your comments below...
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