Every freelance writer knows the value of a published clip to establish professional credibility, but a clip does not tell a potential client or new editor what type of person you are to work with, how good your writing is before editing, or whether you’re worth working with on a regular basis. How, then, can a writer share that information without seeming to brag? The answer is simple – have someone else say it for you.
What Is a Testimonial?
A testimonial is a quotable, word-of-mouth reference you can use to augment a clip portfolio or writing resume. But testimonials are more than just praise from someone who may have read your writing – while novelists can garner testimonials from readers, freelance writers must ask clients for these encouraging words, and not just any client will do. The best clients to ask are those who can truly speak to your quality and skills as a writer. Perhaps you’ve completed a complicated project for them or have been writing for them for years, but they are able to say more than a few bland words about your work.
When asking for a testimonial, be clear in how you intend to use it and why you’re interested in that client’s endorsement. Ask for a few sentences describing your work if the client would feel comfortable recommending you, but also let them know that you might need to edit the length, though not the words, of their response to fit how you plan to use the testimonial. Not all clients will be willing to provide testimonials, and if they refuse, it does not mean they do not appreciate your work – always assure them that whether they recommend you or not, it will not affect your work with them.
A clip can be easily emailed to prospective client or editor as a sample of your work, but how do you show off a testimonial discreetly? Because testimonials are only a sentence or two, they can be included in a variety of places, such as:
- In the sidebar or footer of a website
- As part of your business letterhead
- In an email signature
- As part of a regular newsletter
- Alongside a professional blog
Do not overwhelm your readers with testimonials; while the words of others can carry a lot of weight, the quality of your work in queries, introduction letters and manuscripts will carry more. Placed appropriately, however, a testimonial can help get your pen in the door.
How Testimonials Make Money
Convincing new clients to take a chance on you is not the only way you can make money from clients willing to testify on your behalf. When you ask a client for a testimonial, you are subtly letting them know you have more room in your schedule, and they may offer you additional assignments. Testimonials also help associate your name with different clients, publications and companies in a stronger way than a line on a resume, which can lead to other clients discovering your work and offering you assignments.
When just a few words from a good client or editor can add up to more than few extra dollars in the paycheck, why not seek a testimonial? Ask your clients to testify, and your paycheck can testify to your testimonial success!
Melissa Mayntz is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, websites and magazines, both local and national. See her client testimonials for both writing and editing work at www.MelissaMayntz.com.