You’ve decided you want to work with a freelance copywriter versus an advertising agency or marketing firm. What are the steps of the production process? As a freelance copywriter with over 20 years in the industry, I’ll describe the typical process based on my own experience.
In this meeting, you and the freelance copywriter should get to know one another. Most likely, the copywriter will ask you lots of pointed questions about your business and about your project. Initial meetings typically take place in person or by phone, but e-mail, instant message and Skype are other workable options, especially for clients who live in a different country.
At this stage, the freelance copywriter should provide you with a written summary, describing the project as defined in your initial meeting. It should be clear from the proposal exactly what responsibilities the freelancer will have and what is expected from you, the client.
Once any variables in the proposal have been decided upon, it’s time to attach some numbers to the tasks at hand. The freelance copywriter should spell out exactly what you’ll be getting for your money. Also included should be deadlines and, if warranted, a production schedule.
You’ll be asked by the freelance copywriter to sign a contract that states the items that have been decided in the proposal and pricing stage. Signature of that contract is binding both to the freelance copywriter and the client.
In many cases, you’ll be asked for a deposit on the project. Typically, a deposit is 50% of the full price. The deposit helps ensure that the client has committed to the project and also that the freelance copywriter has committed to do the work. Once you’ve established a relationship with a freelance copywriter, you may be able to request credit terms of net 15 or net 30.
Most freelance copywriters will provide a first draft for you to review. They fully expect to receive feedback as to what you like and dislike.
Based on your comments on the first draft, the freelance copywriter should be prepared to write revised drafts. Sometimes one revision is necessary; other times more if the project is complex. Each revision should bring the copy closer to “perfection.”
Once your freelance copywriter has provided you with a final draft, he or she may want to interact with the other members of your production team. These might be a graphic artist, a web site programmer or a printer. Interaction between the copywriter and these other professionals helps ensure a smooth transition through the production process.
Once the copywriting has been approved, the freelance copywriter will invoice you for the full amount (or balance if you paid a deposit). Even though your project may not yet be finished or produced, the freelance copywriter has fulfilled all of his or her obligations and is entitled to the agreed-upon payment.