Navigating your first freelance writing discovery call can feel like walking a tightrope without a net—exciting but kinda terrifying, right? You want to impress, land the gig, and seem like a pro, all while figuring out if this client’s a good match for your skills.

Getting ready for that call is simpler than you might think. It’s about understanding the client’s needs and how your writing can solve their problems. A little prep goes a long way—you’ll come off as professional and capable. Think about what questions to ask to get a clear picture of the project and how to convey your relevant experience without sounding like you’re reading from an encyclopedia.

Understanding the Client’s Needs

In the beginning, it can feel like you’re playing charades on a discovery call, trying to guess what your client really wants. Relax, it’s not a mind-reading test. With a few clever moves, you can decode their needs and ace that call.

Research the Client’s Background

Getting to know your client’s business is like doing your homework before the first day of school. It makes you look good and feel confident. Start by checking out their website and social media profiles. What’s their brand voice? Are they formal or more laid-back? A quick peek at their latest blog post or Twitter feed can give you a sneak peek into their world.

Review Previous Works

Want to hit the bullseye with your pitch? Dive into the client’s previous content. Like a detective sifting through clues, look for what works and what doesn’t. Was their last blog series a hit? Did a particular ebook miss the mark? This isn’t just busywork—it’s your secret weapon to show you’ve done your homework and you’re ready to bring fresh ideas to the table.

Preparing Your Portfolio

Let’s face it, rummaging through your past work to impress a client can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But, with a bit of wit and a sprinkle of strategy, you’ll pull out the golden samples that make clients nod with an impressed, “You’re hired!”

Select Relevant Samples

Start by cherry-picking pieces that sparkle with relevance to your client’s industry. If they’re in healthcare, your blog on the latest wellness trends will outshine that recipe article from ages ago. Be strategic; choose samples that mirror the type of writing the client needs. If they need website copy, showcase your punchy product descriptions. Need an email campaign? Bring out your best open-rate champions.

Highlight Your Expertise

Now’s the time to shine a spotlight on your special skills. If you have a knack for turning complex topics into easy reads, boldly feature those explainers. Got a flair for persuasive writing? Display those call-to-action masterpieces that boosted client engagement. Remember, this isn’t the time for humility. If your work snagged an award or a commendation, let that badge of honor gleam in your portfolio.

Setting Up the Call

Do you know the horror of being on a video call where the only thing shared was awkward silence and frozen faces? Not fun, right? Let’s make sure your next freelance writing discovery call is as smooth as a fresh jar of peanut butter.

Choose a Communication Platform

First things first, pick a platform where both you and the client can chit-chat comfortably. Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet are popular choices, but always confirm with the client what works for them. They might prefer something else, and flexibility never hurts.

  • Zoom: Great for screen sharing and recording the call for reference.
  • Skype: A classic choice that’s been reliable for years.
  • Google Meet: If they’re into Google products, this could be a breeze.

Test Your Equipment

Nothing screams unprofessional like technical difficulties. A day before the call, do a quick run-through.

  • Microphone: Speak a few lines to check clarity. No one wants to strain their ears or guess what you’re saying.
  • Camera: Make sure it’s at eye-level and the lighting makes you look like you, not a shadowy figure.
  • Internet Connection: Test your speed. If possible, have a backup connection ready. Your mobile hotspot can be a lifesaver.

And with that, you’re all set! Your prep will show, and it’ll help keep the focus on your skills, not on tech hiccups.

Creating a Checklist

It can be super embarrassing to have a moment during a discovery call when you blank out. It happens to the best of us. Good news though: a checklist can be like your personal cheat sheet to staying on track and making an impression that sticks.

List of Questions to Ask

Before hopping on the call, it’s wise to make a quick list of questions. This isn’t just any list; think of it as your guiding star during the conversation. Lay out your questions in a way that flows naturally, like this:

  1. Background details: What is the story behind your business?
  2. Project specifics: What kind of content are you looking for?
  3. Goals and objectives: What do you aim to achieve with this content?
  4. Audience insights: Who is the target audience and what resonates with them?
  5. Performance metrics: How will you measure the success of the content?

Having this list ready ensures you don’t miss out on any key information you need to propose a tailored solution.

Topics to Discuss

Now, what about the topics you need to cover? This section of your checklist ensures you touch on the necessary subjects that showcase your understanding and interest in the potential client’s needs. Here’s a simple way to structure these:

  • Your process: Briefly describe how you work, including timelines and revision policies.
  • Previous work: Mention similar projects you’ve done and their outcomes.
  • Collaboration: Explain how you’ll communicate and collaborate throughout the project.
  • Rates and terms: Clarify your pricing structures and payment terms.

Focusing on these topics will not only give your client confidence in your abilities but also sets clear expectations right from the get-go.

Building Rapport

Discovery calls can feel as awkward as a penguin at a beach party. A little bit of chitchat and some good old listening can warm things up faster than a sunburn.

Small Talk Strategies

Engage with topics that are universal yet personal enough to spark a connection. Begin with observations that are easy to agree on—the weather or a recent major event, for instance.

  • Comment on something current: “How about that local sports team?”
  • Use open-ended questions: “What got you started in your industry?”
  • Compliment genuinely: “I heard great things about your latest project.”

Aim to keep things light and upbeat – you’re setting the stage, not giving a monologue.

Active Listening Skills

Listening isn’t just about silence while the other person talks; it’s about showing that you’re truly locked in on what they’re saying.

  • Nod and maintain eye contact to show engagement.
  • Paraphrase their words: “So, you’re looking for a writer who can…?”
  • Ask follow-up questions: That shows you’re interested and gives you deeper insights.

Remember to balance your talking time with listening—this isn’t a solo recital, it’s a duet.

Discussing the Project

Getting ready for that first freelance writing discovery call can feel like preparing for a first date—nervous but excited, and you want to make a killer first impression. Let’s break the ice and dive into what you need to know about the project itself.

Clarify Project Scope

What’s the big picture? Ask the client about the overall purpose of the content you’ll be writing. Your goal here is to pinpoint what they’re expecting in terms of content type and how it fits into their larger marketing strategy. Is it informative blog posts, engaging email campaigns, or snappy social media content? Align on the project’s specific goals—like increasing brand awareness or driving sales—to set the stage for your writing.

Timeline and Deadlines

Timing’s everything, right? Nailing down when your client wants to see drafts and the final product keeps everyone on the same page. Outline a realistic schedule that includes milestones for drafts, revisions, and final delivery. Boldly highlight important dates:

  • First Draft Due: MM/DD/YYYY
  • Revisions By: MM/DD/YYYY
  • Final Deadline: MM/DD/YYYY

This shows that you respect their timeline and are a pro at managing your workload. And hey, it helps you avoid those last-minute writing marathons—we’ve all been there!

Pricing and Contracts

Scared of getting tongue-tied when a client asks, “So, what do you charge?” Let’s tackle this hurdle together and get you speaking dollars and sense with confidence!

Discuss Your Rates

Before hopping on that call, have a clear understanding of your rates. Write them down—hourly, per word, or project-based—and keep them handy. When the topic comes up, be transparent and assertive about your pricing. Remember, if you don’t value your work, why should they?

  • Hourly Rate: $XX/hr
  • Per Word: $X.XX/word
  • Per Project: $XXX/project

Negotiating Terms

The art of negotiation lies in the balance between flexibility and firmness. Be open to discuss terms but also know your non-negotiables. Payment terms, kill fees, and revision scopes are all on the table. Get these in black and white in your contract; it’s like a promise that keeps both sides honest.

  • Payment Terms: 50% upfront, net 30
  • Kill Fee: 25% of total project cost
  • Revisions: Up to two rounds included

Remember, this call is as much about you interviewing them as it is them interviewing you. You got this!


It’s a common story— you have a stellar meeting that somehow fizzled out into radio silence. Here’s a secret: the magic often happens after you hang up. Nail the follow-up and you’ll turn those ‘maybes’ into solid ‘yeses’!

Sending a Thank You Message

Shoot over a quick thank you email within 24 hours of the call. Make it personal; mention a highlight of the conversation or express excitement about the project. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. This small gesture keeps you top of mind and shows you value the client’s time.

Outline Next Steps

Be proactive: in your thank you message, list the next steps. Whether it’s a proposal you’ll send by a specific date or a second meeting you’d like to arrange, spell it out. Use bullet points for clarity:

  • Send proposal by [Date]
  • Await feedback until [Date]
  • Schedule follow-up call if needed

The goal is clear communication, leaving no room for guesswork on when they’ll hear from you again.

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