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How to Piss Off Your Copywriter

Hire a Trained Professional, Then Let Her Work Her Magic

Angry Copywriter

Does your company hire freelance copywriters?  Do you depend on them to provide content for your marketing brochures, company website or mailings?

If you answered “yes,” getting along with your copywriter is probably a good idea.  You’ll get better quality work, and you’ll probably avoid a lot of unnecessary stress.

Here’s a list of the top ways to piss off your copywriter.  My recommendation?  Do the opposite.

Before the Copywriting Project

Ask your copywriter to work for free and tell her it will be a piece she can add to her portfolio.

While that might be a valid reason for a brand new copywriter to take you on as a client, for the rest of us, it’s offensive.  Pieces for our portfolio don’t put dinner on our table.  And saying we’ll get exposure is usually an empty promise.

We are trained professionals providing a valuable service, and we need to be compensated for our work just like any other professional.

Request a low price and tell the copywriter you’ll make it up to her on the next job.

Sorry, we’re not buying it.  The price we give you on this job will be precedent setting for the future.

The first copywriting job with a new client is always the most time consuming, as we strive to get up to speed on your business and your industry.  Pay full price for this job and, in the future, after you’ve proven yourself to be a loyal return customer who’s easy to work with, we’ll consider modifying our rate.

Compare your copywriter to other copywriters.

Don’t tell us about all of the other copywriters you found on the internet who charge only $50 to write a whole website.  If you liked their work, and felt it was a great value, you should have hired them.

We’re professionals. You wouldn’t haggle with your doctor, lawyer or accountant; don’t haggle with your copywriter.

We know what’s involved in doing your work, and we also know the value of the project when it’s done right.  Good copywriting makes you money through increased leads, sales and revenue.  Focus on using what we create to generate business and not on slashing our rates.  Your ROI will be greater.

Tell your copywriter that your project should take just a few minutes, certainly no more than an hour.

Sorry, but you don’t get to calculate our time.  Tell us about the job and we’ll tell you how long it will take, since we’re the ones doing the work.  If writing the copy was as fast and easy as you say, you’d do the job yourself!

During the Copywriting Project

Provide minimal information to your copywriter.

Don’t assume copywriters magically understand your company and industry. We need your input. You’re the expert.  When you provide the facts and clear direction on what you want, you’ll get a better end product.

Ask to see multiple versions of copy so you have a choice.

Unless you plan to pay for multiple versions, you get just one.  Asking to see an entire product line of copy just delays the decision process.

Copy is custom-crafted, and therefore labor-intensive to produce.  Asking your copywriter to compose multiple versions is a waste of time and energy.  Do your thinking now.  Choose a direction up front.  And once you pick it, stick it!

Get upset when the first draft of copy isn’t 100% perfect.

First drafts are not supposed to be perfect.  They represent an opportunity for you to offer additional input. Expect to participate in the editing process.

Your copywriter will gladly make any revisions you want.  She just needs direction from the subject expert, you!

Add to the scope of the project.

Before starting a project, copywriters outline its parameters.  That’s so you can approve the plan, and we can give you a price and timeline.

If you choose to expand or change the project, then be prepared for the price and completion date to change as well.

Say you don’t like the copy but can’t explain why.

Copywriters are not clairvoyant.  Saying things like, “I’ll know what’s right when I see it” doesn’t help.

We can’t provide solutions if we don’t understand the problem.  You’ll need to identify what’s bothering you about the copy in order for us to fix it.

Handwrite your comments and email them in a PDF.

We’re copywriters, not secretaries.  Don’t make us decipher your handwriting and type up your revisions.  Use Track Changes in MS Word or at least highlight your changes so we can find them.

Ask for unlimited copy revisions.

The points made in your copy can be expressed in multiple ways.  That doesn’t mean you have to explore every one of them.

A copywriter’s job is to communicate your message clearly.  Once that objective is achieved, anything else is just tinkering for the heck of it.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

After the Copywriting Project

Get feedback from outsiders.

Feel free to show your copy to friends and family but consider the source.  Just because your Aunt Martha got an A in Freshman English 20 years ago doesn’t make her qualified to review marketing copy.

Unless your reviewer has a background in marketing or is intimately familiar with your brand, her critique might be well-meaning but off-base.

Take forever to sign off the copy.

The copy does you no good sitting in draft form.  The sooner you review the copy and give it the thumbs up, the sooner the rest of your project can be completed and your marketing efforts can begin generating sales for you.

Make a few edits and then act like you did all the hard work.

Even though we’re paid to write, copywriters still like to be acknowledged for our contribution.  Stop patting yourself on the back because you changed a few words.  Editing is not copywriting.  The hard work is creating, and if you were capable of doing that, you wouldn’t have hired a professional.

Take your time paying the invoice.

If your copywriter met your deadline for completing the work, it’s only fair that you meet yours by paying your bill promptly.  Don’t make her check repeatedly on the status of her invoice.  She hates asking as much as you hate answering.

Get Off on the Right Foot

Great clients realize the best work is done as a team.  They appreciate their copywriters and value their professional opinion.  They provide good input for their projects and pay their bills.

Creative professionals. Group of cheerful business people in smart casual wear discussing something while having a brain storming in the meeting room

Collaborate with your copywriter to get the best end-product. 

Treat your copywriters with respect and they’ll return the sentiment. Collaboration will result in the best end-product and, equally important, the journey to achieve that objective will be a pleasant experience.

Contact Susan Greene

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