Working as a freelance copywriter and trying to earn a living can be a challenge. There are plenty of projects available online and when you are finally given one, you’re willing to start working on it right away. But hold your horses. There are several things that need to be discussed and clarified with your client before you accept a project.
If you think that the process is quick and straightforward, you’re wrong. Lucky for you, we’ve created a list of 10 rules you need to know before starting a copywriting project. Dig in!
Get the Details of the Text Straight
One of the most of the first things you should be familiarised with is the project’s details.
Ask your client to lay down the requirements so that there’s no confusion at a further stage. Copywriters need to know the length of the text, its purpose, structure, keywords, etc.
If your client is not able to answer these questions, you should take the initiative and be able to make positive suggestions based on your expertise. After all, you’re a pro here.
Establish the Starting Date and the Deadline
Delivering a project on time in order to avoid your work being rejected requires a specific plan and organisation. Your client may expect you to submit a text by the next week, next month, but in most cases as soon as possible.
You need to know what their expected deadline is and consider the amount of work required to finish the project. If it’s a long-term cooperation, you can ask the client to provide a schedule for you to help with the workflow. You may also create a weekly schedule to plan, manage and execute your own tasks.
Discuss the Budget
Delivering a project on time requires a certain plan and organization. Fiction Editor, Michelle Morgan advises that time management is crucial for better productivity.
Your client may expect you to submit a text by the next week, next month, but in most cases as soon as possible. You need to know what their expected deadline is and consider the amount of work required to finish the project. If it’s a long-term cooperation, you can ask the client to provide a schedule for you to help with the workflow.
Most companies prefer to agree on a flat rate, but hourly pay is also available in some instances. You should be able to give your client an estimate and adjust it to their budget. But don’t be too thoughtful.
Time is money so if you know the project might require a lot of effort, and the company is not willing to pay you decent money, maybe it’s better you decline it.
Find Out Everything about the Client Before you start writing you need to gather all the information about the client and his brand.
It’s crucial as you will adjust the tone to the desired outcome. Copywriting does not always mean creating an article. It can be a leaflet, newsletter text, offer, product description, etc. A good practice is to ask your client questions about his company.
Who can better describe it than its owner? You should also be provided with other marketing materials so that you learn about their way of communication as well.
Learn about the Target Audience
This one is closely related to rule number 4. Your client will most likely describe their target audience and for you as a copywriter this information matters.
Knowing more about your client’s customers gives you an advantage of tailoring the text in such a way, it will attract more traffic and increase brand awareness. But if the company doesn’t know who their target audience is, be careful.
Ask Your Client the Non-Obvious
Before starting a project, copywriters ask their clients questions about the project to find out what they expect and want from them.
But they usually fail to be told what the clients don’t want. Being aware of certain expectations is one thing, but knowing what to avoid is another story.
Your client may have particular requirements about the project, and it’s good to learn how not to ‘un-satisfy’ them.
Throughout your career, there will be projects that may require adjusting texts to be SEO-friendly. After all, you’re not a regular writer; you’re a copywriter.
Therefore you should have a basic knowledge of SEO. We’re living in a digital world, and the majority of companies are present online.
Creating content specifically for their websites means adding some simple optimisation to the text, but you should always discuss it with your client first as they might provide you with specific keywords.
Who Generates Topics?
Topic generation is mostly associated with long-term cooperation. Clients usually provide copywriters with specific topics each month, but they may also want you to be responsible for this part.
In this case, you should always ask if they have any requirements or the choice of subjects is entirely up to you. Of course, you will be given specific guidelines such as categories, so that you write a relevant copy.
Another essential thing to discuss before accepting a task is copyrights. Some projects can be confidential, and you won’t be able to add them to your portfolio. In this case, you will always be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
With other projects, you may get credit and brag about the copy you’ve created.
Ghostwriting from home is another story as you’re practically giving away all the rights to your client and you are not allowed to use the copy.
Work on the Details of the Cooperation
Once you’ve agreed on the price, discussed the nature of the text and gathered all the other information you need, it’s time to talk business.
Don’t start work before you and your client both sign an agreement. Make sure it includes all the necessary information such as the price, starting date, deadline, text specification, and a method of payment.
Discuss how many rounds of rewrites you include in the original price to avoid misunderstanding. If it’s long-term cooperation and will require a lot of writing, maybe it’s better to agree on an hourly rate as it can be difficult to predict the price of the project at an initial stage.
Whether you’re a copywriting professional, or just started this amazing adventure, you should be aware of the business side of it.
Never start writing until you know everything about the project. While content creation is the main focus, an extensive discussion beforehand is crucial to maintain certain standards and be able to meet your client’s expectations.
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