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  1. Krissy wrote on

    Great post as always! I’m constantly surprised by clients who get annoyed with the questions I ask prior to beginning a project – I like to be thorough but sometimes I feel like they just want me to write whatever!

  2. Dean at Pro Copy Tips wrote on

    Good advice. I’ve been writing copy for a long time, and I’ve learned that if you’re not specific about what the client wants, you can end up going round and round with revisions.

    The biggest problem I have is when a client wants me to hurry up and write the copy but then trickles information to me causing endless rewrites. Explaining this to clients can be tricky. Say too much, and you sound like a complainer. Say too little, and you’re inviting trouble.

  3. Karri Flatla wrote on

    You could always do what I do, Glenn … put their head in a vice. (See my recent post as reference )

    Also, thank you for sharing points #18-24. It would appear I’ve in fact been too easy on my clients, vice ‘n all ;)

    @ Dean I feel your pain. Which is why I recently initiated the “flat fee including one round of revisions” rule. Momentum is an important part of the copywriting process and this is lost when the client thinks there should be 2 writers on the team instead of 1.

    Karri

  4. Rob McGuire wrote on

    Good point. While I don’t write copy for a living, I do build blogs and websites and I’m often taken back when a prospective client asks, “How much to build a website?” without providing any other information. There is a lot of information that is needed to do such a thing, just as there is a lot of information needed to write effective copy.

    Asking the above question is just like asking a contractor, “How much to build a house?” Without more information the question just can’t be answered accurately.

  5. Charles Cuninghame wrote on

    Hey Glenn, I’m curious about a couple of things:

    1. How do you handle clients who think they can write the copy themselves?

    2. How do you gather all this information? I usually interview the client because I’ve found they often need help answering questions like these.

  6. Glenn Murray wrote on

    G’day Charles. Thanks for your questions. I’ll do my best to answer:

    1) Most of my clients don’t, in fact, think they can write the copy themselves. I’ve had clients like that in the past, and I still do occasionally encounter them. Rarely (once, I think) have I encountered a client who wants to rewrite an entire piece. Usually they just want to rewrite certain sentences. When this happens, I review their change (I always have Word’s Track Changes turned on), and if they’re ok, I Accept them. If not, I Reject them, and discuss my reasons with the client. If they insist that their version is better, I’ve found the best way is to broach the issue firmly. I usually say something like, “You’re paying me for my professional expertise here. This is my opinion / You should leave it like this because… However if you’re adamant that it needs to be… it’s your call.”

    2) I send a questionnaire to the client. I used to interview clients on the phone, but found that clients were never able to answer all the questions. With the questionnaire, they have the time to consider their answers, without the pressure of me breathing down the phone line! Some clients find the questionnaire a little daunting, but overall, it works well. It’s also a good safeguard. On the rare occasion when you get a client who introduces a major change of scope, and claims that it’s NOT a change of scope, you have the original questionnaire answers to prove it.

  7. Rab wrote on

    This is an invaluable page for people who are about to engage a copywriter.

    I’m sometimes asked to write web copy and have just a few lines to go on. Clients sometimes don’t understand that I need as much information as possible, in fact the more information a client can give me the better.

  8. Copywriter wrote on

    Hey…….

    Nice post, I have also writing copy form a long time by building blogs and articles for my website. You should spend quite a bit of time telling your copywriter what shape you want, what style, what construction, what size. It is necessary for client to know all the need of you, the more your copywriter knows about you, your goals, your site, your customers, their goals, their problems and your competition, the better your copy will be. So make sure to clear each and every thing intimated to copywriter.

  9. Pingback: If you're a copywriter, the customer's NOT always right

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