The Middle Ground Between Content Writer and Content Strategist

Many of my coaching clients start their freelance writing businesses as “order takers.”

I don’t mean “order taker” in a disparaging way. I simply mean that when a client or prospect wants a piece of content, the writer creates it for them.

The client identifies the content need, and the writer satisfies it. The writer isn’t involved in deciding what content to create and how it will be used.

There’s nothing wrong with this arrangement. Many freelancers will work within it in for their entire career — and it suits them just fine.

And if that’s you, then that’s great!

But maybe you want to get more involved in the planning and decision making. You see opportunities to repurpose content or content gaps that should be filled.

You want to take a broader perspective and get involved in the strategy side of copywriting or content marketing.

But how do you get there?

Should You Declare Yourself a Strategist?

If you decide you want to get more involved in strategy, do you simply declare yourself a strategist and decline to work with any prospect who doesn’t want to bring you into their content planning and decision making?

You could. But the danger is that you’ll scare off a lot of prospects.

Why? Because often, prospects don’t think they need strategy advice. Or maybe they recognize that they could use some help, but they aren’t willing to go there yet.

Often, their focus is on “right now” and they don’t want to get into big discussions that could bog things down and send their costs up.

They’re just trying to put out a fire by finding a writer for their next white paper or set of articles.

And besides, how could you — an outsider — possibly understand their business well enough to devise a strategy?

Fortunately, the division between order taker and strategist isn’t so cut and dry. You can position yourself on middle ground.

The Middle Ground

To find this middle ground, you need to educate the prospect about your strategy services. In your initial discussions, underline that fact that your services go beyond writing content on demand and set the expectation that you will come back to the topic of strategy.

You can say something like, “I can help you with your immediate copywriting needs, but I’m also a strategist when the situation calls for it.”

Or, “I can write your marketing content. But I don’t just stop there. I can also help you think through your marketing strategy, if you ever need another set of eyes.”

Or, “I’d love to help you with that white paper. And by the way, if it’d also help to work with a writer who understands content marketing strategy and can quickly grasp what you’re trying to accomplish, I’m your guy.”

With this approach, you’re using your role as an “order taker,” to get in the door. You complete a few projects, get to know the client and let them get to know you.

Once you’ve fostered trust and built your credibility, you can start to bring strategy ideas to the table.

And because you set this expectation at the outset, the prospect will be more open to your ideas.

Position Yourself as an Order Taker and Strategist

This middle approach gives you the best of both worlds.

You satisfy the client’s immediate content needs and leave the door open for strategy discussions.

You’re also giving yourself time to better understand the client’s business.

As a result, you’ll give better advice when the time comes — and the client will be more open to receiving it.

And much more likely to take your advice.


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You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here

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If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and me build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at [email protected] … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.