Working with a freelance copywriter should be treated as a professional partnership. The client provides the information and the copywriter provides the copy. And together, both partners benefit by selling more because of this healthy partnership. For a mutually agreeable relationship to work, both must be comfortable and on the “same page”. If one or both partners are unhappy at any point throughout the project, it will have an adverse effect on the outcome of the copy.
For the most part, freelance copywriters rely on written communication from their clients. This may come as a surprise but it is common for a copywriter to receive harsh criticism regardless of experience level. Reviewing a draft should be done in a professional and constructive manner. Scornful comments alone are detrimental to this partnership.
Criticism is not the only stumbling block that freelance copywriters must contend with. Below are tips that will help you maintain a healthy working relationship with your freelance copywriter in the following areas:
As with any occupation, a freelance copywriter has to make a living. Prices are dictated by several factors: medium type, writing, research and briefing time, etc. Then add the cost of overheads on top of that.
As a client, you are entitled to negotiate but just keep in mind that it has to be reasonable and realistic. Pay fairly to avoid resentment of an underpaid worker and sub-standard copy.
2. Payment Terms
Unlike organisations, freelance copywriters don’t have the resources to constantly follow up on overdue payments. Payment terms are there for a reason which is why paying on time is not only courteous, it is best practice. In fact, paying in advance may just be an incentive for your copywriter to go over and above.
3. The Review Process
This process should begin as soon as your schedule allows you to do so. Pondering on the draft for too long causes two problems: indecisiveness and loss of enthusiasm.
For copy that has a high word count (more than 4,000 words) divide the draft into two sections and email one half to your copywriter as you review the remaining half. This will keep the ball rolling.
Maintaining communication is key to a successful partnership. Always communicate with your copywriter on any changes that will affect the deadline or information pertaining to the copy.
To get things moving, always provide a signature on a quotation. A verbal authorisation or an email stating “please proceed” is inadequate. Also, it is good manners to keep your writer up-to-date should your circumstance change.
Indeed, life takes over and commitments get pushed aside but a quick email or a quick phone call is all that is needed. Some email providers such as Gmail have a feature where it predicts a sentence as you type. As well as templates for quick responses. Point is, that there should be no reason not to reply back in a timely fashion.
5. Reviewing Drafts
This one is very important.
“I don’t like it” is meaningless to a copywriter. Be specific when reviewing drafts. Is the tone wrong? Is the copy too passive? Are the benefits not highlighted enough? Below are two examples of nonspecific and specific feedback.
“The copy is boring.”
“Please add more benefits and less technical information about what the product can do for consumers.”
“It doesn’t have enough sparkle.”
“Please add more personality on page 2. Here is my suggestion:
Your gym buddy backpack comes with a handy side pocket, big enough for your chicken and broccoli pre-made meals.“
The key to reviewing drafts is to be clear, objective and to specify the action you want your copywriter to take. The information you put will determine the turnover rate of your new and improved copy.
The key to reviewing drafts is to be clear, objective and to specify the action you want your copywriter to take.
In short, best practice and common courtesy do not only fall on just one person. It goes for both partners. Enacting these principles will ensure a healthy working partnership not just in copywriting but in all aspects of professional life.
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