7 ways to be an awesome copywriting client

by | Dec 1, 2016 | Copywriting | 0 comments

So, you’ve found an awesome freelance copywriter to craft some stunning words for your business?

Great! Now here’s how to start the working relationship off right by being an equally awesome client.

1. Know what you want to achieve

Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve is the best way to get amazing copy that will make it happen. Your copywriter will worry about the details, but you’ll need to tell them what your endgame is.

Let’s say you’ve hired me to write a landing page for your website. What exactly do you want customers to do after visiting that page?

  • Buy your product?
  • Call you for a consultation?
  • Request a brochure?
  • Sign up to your email newsletter?
  • Engage with you on social media?
  • Log onto Yelp and slur your competition? (I joke, I joke.)

There are a bunch of different things you might want to achieve, and very often you will want to do more than one of them.

But knowing what your objectives are before you brief your copywriter means that everybody is working towards them from the start.

2. Think about your ‘brand personality’

How do you want your business or organisation to be perceived? Friendly and approachable? Knowledgeable and trustworthy? A rebellious upstart? Cheeky and with a sense of humour?

Copywriters have to understand your ‘brand personality’ before they start writing because it defines the tone of voice of your copy.

A friendly, down-to-earth business needs chatty, conversational copy, while a big, authoritative brand usually does best with a more formal style of writing.

If you haven’t worked out your brand personality yet, don’t worry – a good copywriter will help you tease it out. We can can even put together ‘tone of voice guidelines’ to help embed your brand personality in everything you write.

3. Know who your target customers are

It is essential that you know your target audience before you brief your freelance copywriter.

Saying ‘just make the copy appeal to everyone’ doesn’t help much, because different things appeal to different customers and demographics.

If you’re in the furniture business, you can’t expect the same copy to effectively sell a computer desk to a suburban single parent and a Fortune 500 executive. If we try to make your copy appeal to both of them, chances are it’s not going to appeal to either of them.

4. Be as detailed and specific as possible

Copywriters love it when you give them a really specific brief with loads of background information about your product, your business, your customers and anything else relevant to the project.

Honestly, it makes our job so much simpler. The more precise your aims and objectives, and the more information we have to support them, the easier it is for us to write incredibly effective copy.

The ‘detailed and specific’ rule also applies when giving your copywriter feedback on a draft. Saying ’sorry, I just don’t like it – I’m not sure why’ doesn’t help anybody.

5. Accept that good copy costs money

Copywriting is one of those things where you get what you pay for.

There are any number of ‘global freelancing platforms’ out there where you can find someone to write a blog post for $US5 or so. But I guarantee you that if you use that post, you’ll be doing your business’s reputation a hell of a lot more than $US5 worth of damage.

Copywriting isn’t a business expense like printer ink or teabags. It’s an investment – one that pays off pretty quickly by attracting more customers and building your company’s reputation.

Good copy is difficult to write. It takes time and mental energy, and freelance copywriters expect (and deserve) to be paid a fair rate for that time and effort.

We’re not out to scam you, and are usually happy to work out an arrangement that fits your budget, but please don’t expect to get great copy for next to nothing.

Also, don’t assume that the cost of copywriting is always proportional to the number of words – short copy often takes longer to write than larger pieces.

6. Stick to the schedule (and tell us early if you can’t)

Freelance copywriters are usually juggling multiple projects at once, which means we either:

  1. learn to become masters of time management, or
  2. collapse into a screaming, crying heap under a mass of missed deadlines.

As a reformed procrastinator, I’m very happy to count myself among the copywriters in the first category. But good time management only works if clients deliver what they say they will, when they say they will.

Let’s say Bozos Inc. need some brochure copy by COB Friday. It’s only a few hours work, and they’ve promised to send me the background info I need by COB Wednesday. That might mean I’ve set aside Thursday to work on the Bozos Inc. project, and have scheduled other client work for Friday.

But Bozos Inc. don’t get the info to me until COB Thursday, at which point they get a courteous email saying that, as specified in my standard terms and conditions, the late delivery of this info means I won’t be able to tackle their project until the following Monday, after the original deadline.

‘But!’ they say. ‘You said it was only a few hours work! Can’t you just knock it over tomorrow morning?’ Nope, because that would mean either:

  1. pushing my other carefully scheduled client jobs over until next week, or
  2. working all evening, which I’m not willing to do just because Bozos Inc. can’t get their shitake mushrooms together.

Having said that, most copywriters understand that a lot of things are beyond your control, and will bend over backwards to be flexible with schedules if they can. So if something comes up that means you can’t meet a delivery date you promised, just let us know as soon as possible so we can plan around it.

7. Pay your invoices on time

Do you know why my invoice is due two weeks from the day you get it? Because that’s the exact day my bank account will run dry and I’ll no longer be able to afford my rockstar freelance lifestyle of watery gruel, tea brewed with the same bag I’ve been using since January and long evenings reading the free community newspaper by candlelight.

Freelancers don’t earn a regular salary. To you, our invoice might be just another bill to pay at some stage. But to us it’s our livelihood. And if our clients don’t pay on time, we don’t eat.

So please, please, please pay your freelancers’ invoices by the due date. It really is the best thing you can do to maintain a good working relationship.

Keeping your freelance copywriter happy and well-fed means they’re more likely to do that little bit extra for you in future, like cancelling their day off to take on your super-urgent project or rounding their next quote down to the nearest $100 just because it’s neater.

On the flip-side – if you make a habit of not paying your invoices on time, your relationship with your freelance copywriter will definitely suffer. I’ve ‘fired’ a couple of clients in the past because constantly chasing them for payment became too much of a hassle.

Are you an awesome copywriting client?

I love writing for awesome clients. So if you need some copywriting or editing done and agree with the points above, we should definitely talk. Get in touch with me today for a chat and a free, no obligation quote.

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