I have decided against sharing samples with prospective clients as it is a violation of client confidentiality. I suppose my 2350+ buyer reviews should be enough to get a feel for my work. I just can’t have a client complaining later about someone stealing their articles, so don’t want to take the risk. But I wonder if it’s the right move. How do you handle a situation when someone insists on a sample?
When someone asks for a sample, I send them one or two video scripts that I’m allowed to share. These scripts can’t be stolen, because they’re written to promote specific companies and their services, and I have asked for permission to share them (and got the said permission), so I’m not violating client confidentiality.
I have also written 3 book blurbs for imaginary books, and use them as a sample. The same can be done with articles, write a few and either post them on a portfolio site (one of the permitted URLs, of course), or simply send them to buyers when they ask for samples. Portfolio site would be better, because then they can’t just use these articles without being penalized for duplicate content.
Or, if you prefer, you can tell the buyers to look at your gig description to get a feel for your writing, and that you can’t share samples with them because of client confidentiality, just like you wouldn’t share the articles you write for them with anyone else.
That seems to be the best solution. If they don’t trust my 2350 reviews, then why order.
I got inboxed by someone who asked for ‘references’, told him sorry, I don´t provide any because I guarantee absolute confidentiality to my customers, I didn´t even make an effort to get the job, the contrary if anything, because I didn´t feel like discussing that, but I got the job anyway. Maybe some clients are just used to the ‘sample thing’, but when they hear someone doesn´t hand them out, suddenly get the idea that they might like someone who won´t hand theirs out either and rethink.
Some customers of course won´t mind if a seller uses the material ‘for advertising’, some might even like it, I guess it depends. Not giving any seems to work for me.
Especially if they get free advertising that way.
I have a .PDF file with varied samples. Some I had buyer permission to use and the rest I filled in by looking for holes.
I spent a few hours writing to show topics and styles that I excel in. It was tedious to make, but sending it promptly to those who’ve asked has netted me enough sales to cover the time. Works for me, so far!
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Making PDFs, converting to and from other file formats, and editing PDFs once they are made is one of the most tedious things to do. Word/PowerPoint are at least easily editable. PDF ensures consistency in displaying the formatting, in exchange for loss of quick editing potential.
100% agree and I think you definitely made the right move!
Anything that I share with my sellers: pictures, articles, manuscript, eBook covers, etc. I want it to be kept confidential. I have no problem sharing on the seller’s profile after delivery, if it’s something that I do not deem private; but that should be my choice.
I realize there is very little secret when it comes to the internet and you will never know who will and who won’t. I make a point to be very careful on what I do and do not share.
** There could be that small chance someone asked you that as a test. The fact that you told them “no” is the reason they placed the order with you. **
I don’t share samples and I point towards my gig descriptions as an e.g. of my sales copy (which is 99% of my work) along with glowing reviews. If they don’t like it and start pulling out bad techniques like “I am interviewing x other sellers” when their gig is super urgent, I’m like “this isn’t my problem, this is yours” and point out that I’m writing perfectly naturally off the cuff so what’s the issue? Trust me, and trust 1700+ 5-star reviews. Or go to the guy who’s bending over backwards for your commission.
This may change in future as my outside projects develop. Then I’ll smack them with $$$ results and jack my prices up. Pretty simple. Obviously if they get mad and insult you and all the rest of it, it’s time to drop them. If they’re interested in you, they will come back. It’s just a case of arguing your case smartly.
One more tip–which I haven’t used myself, but I’ve seen another seller leverage it–is the “anyone can send you a glowing sample but how do you know it’s really their work?” and then twist the knife if you know they had a bad experience before.
I do have samples, but I can’t be bothered anymore, as the people who want samples also don’t make any effort to read the gig description, so just cough up, please. I’ll do the job and very well, but let’s not flim-flam.
A LOT of sellers offering writing services are NOT good writers. Their descriptions are great, but their actual writing is just…
Writing samples shows your style and your quality – more so than a conversation with the buyer, your reviews, or than your description ever will. Writing samples are important. Writing samples do not have to be things you’ve given to buyers, you can make some in your spare time. You can ask buyers before purchasing the gig whether they are okay or not with you using a snippet of the writing as a writing sample for future potential clients (and tell them that it’s okay if they say “no”).
Things that do NOT make up for not having writing samples:
This is you selling yourself, not a writing example. Buyers only generally skim through this. They don’t see it as a writing example. And it’s only ONE example. Many buyers like to see a few examples to prove that you’re not using other people’s work and that you haven’t just gotten this one piece edited.
Yes, you have done a good job before. That’s great! But… how does this show your writing style or quality, at all? Yes, you’ve got happy customers… but maybe their standards are below what the current buyer wants?
Yes, you can talk with someone through text. Good on you! But this doesn’t prove that you can write quality articles/ebooks/essays/whatever. It just proves that you can speak English. Writing examples, as already mentioned, show your quality and your experience.
Of course, you can still definitely get work without having writing samples… but writing samples definitely do come in handy, and help you get more sales!
EDIT: People seem to be misinterpreting what I’ve said, so let me clarify. No, do not use your clients work without permission as a sample. What I’m saying is that if you’ve written something for yourself, by yourself, which is completely yours, you can use that as the writing sample. Writing samples doesn’t necessarily equal to the work you’ve done for clients, they’re just writing samples that YOU have done.
I don’t share samples. They can get a a custom offer for a short piece and that way pay for a sample.
I don’t share sensitive information from other clients and certainly don’t work for free.
This is the main point imho.
If you absolutely insist, you can pay me $30 for a customized 100 word sample.
I’m sorry, emmaki, but I don’t quite understand what you mean? I was just stating my opinion on the matter and my opinion is that having writing samples to show clients (not customized – just writing samples; spare articles or writing snippets that you’ve done in your spare time and which wouldn’t see the light of day again otherwise) IS a good strategy to have, since it wholeheartedly proves that you can write in a various manner of styles.
Emmaki is a copywriter. Her gig descriptions are definitely examples of her writing (her selling herself, as you pointed out). Read all of them, and you’ve just got several writing examples.
Your strategy might work for you, but for me and several others, I’m happy to show them the door if they insist and won’t play the game my way.
After all, if it’s sales copy they’re looking for, they want to know its effective. Well, I say once again, look at my gigs–most of them have made thousands,if that’s not good enough for you (generalized you), then I don’t know what to tell you. Is that not as good as–if not miles better–than a sample that’s some snippet which wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day? If that’s not good enough for a buyer, the conversation’s over unless they purchase a customized sample. If they won’t do that, I understand that they are not serious. That’s fine.
A serious buyer with money to spend doesn’t care about how many styles I, or any other writer can create stuff in. They want copy that works and shifts the product, or sells the service. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. Ideally, they also want someone smart who can jump right to the crux of the point and nail it without any retakes–and that’s what my service offers. it’s reflected in my reviews. The conversational aspect isn’t really much, but some buyers have been burnt by “speaka da Inglii and write god!” sellers, so it counts. A writing sample might make you the odd $10 here and there, but I’d rather just wait for someone with cash to splash to come along and for me to intelligently discuss their project and win it that way. Better yet, they see it and just order the damn thing already.
If a client doesn’t understand my value preposition and starts whining about samples, I’m just gonna say “bye”. If I’m feeling mean, I’ll cheerfully warn them of the dangers of fake lifted samples from other sellers. Which does happen, as I said somewhere further upthread.
Besides, my only real samples are weird erotica books for Kindle. (lol)
I agree that if someone is serious about hiring you they can just do it. You have enough great reviews and your gigs are so well written that it’s a no brainer to make the decision to hire you. You are long past the time when you needed to prove yourself to make a sale.
If the person I hire to proofread my 80,000 word thriller doesn’t have problem sharing samples with other buyers - I must admit, I do!
By law (at least in the U.S.A.) that is my property, no editors/proofers/beta readers/blurb writers/etc. have the right to distribute or even give a sample of it to anyone.
If anyone provides a sample to show -“Look what I did.” Before or after I put it up for sale is giving away a copy of my work. Neither I or any other writer/author would appreciate that.
Yes, but maybe some buyers don’t want to sift through a whole bunch of different pages? I don’t see why emmaki couldn’t just compile her gig descriptions into a Word Document? I’m not saying people have to, I’m just saying it could help make the buyer more acquainted for and appreciated. People like convenience. There’s no doubt about that, and that’s all I’m saying – make buying from you more convenient than buying from the next guy.