Four ways copywriters get themselves fired.

by Nick Usborne


It would be nice to think that the relationship between a freelance copywriter and client always runs smoothly.


But as we all know, this is not the case.


Clients fire their copywriters from time to time.


Sometimes they may not be fully justified in doing so. But at other times they are.


There are four main reasons why clients either fire their in-house copywriters or stop working with particular freelancers.


Reason #1: Not meeting deadlines


This is probably to the number one deadly sin for any freelancer.


Nothing diminishes your reputation faster than missing a deadline.


The key here is to plan in advance. If you think you might have a problem with a deadline, warn your client well in advance. Most clients will try to accommodate you.


What they truly hate, and with justification, is when a freelancer calls or emails on the day the job is due and announces it won't be done.


Act professionally, keep in touch with your client, and hopefully you can avoid missing deadlines.


Reason #2: Not delivering what you're asked for


Make sure you fully understand the brief. Again, if you have questions, ask them early on.


But once your client has made it clear what he or she wants, and you have agreed to take on the project, don't deliver copy that is not on target, or in a tone or style that doesn't fit with what was asked for.


Reason #3: Showing too much ego


Some freelance copywriters simply approach clients with the wrong attitude. They think they are smarter and know better. When the client asks for one thing, the copywriter comes up with a "better" approach.


This is a dangerous path to follow.


Most of the time your client will have a great deal more experience with his or her product or service than you do. Respect that.


This isn't to say that clients aren't open to new ideas and fresh creative approaches from their writers. Most of them are.


Just be careful not to cross the line. Don't be arrogant. Don't be patronizing. Don't let your ego get in the way of professional conduct and common courtesy.


And when your client comes back with comments on your first draft, don't get defensive about making changes to your copy.


You can discuss the requested changes by all means. Just don't be defensive about it.


When you get defensive, it's like you're wearing a sign on your forehead that says, "Second-rate copywriter who can't take feedback."


Too much ego with get you fired in no time at all.


Reason #4: Not writing well


In an ideal world, every copywriter would be a good copywriter.


In the real world, this is not the case.


Clients are quick to terminate the relationship when copywriters...

- Deliver work with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.


- Cut and paste copy from other places, instead of writing 100% original work.


- Communicate ideas clumsily.


- Write with poor flow and rhythm.

Sadly, a lot of second-rate copy that is delivered to the client is not written by someone who can't write well.


The problem is usually that the copywriter was lazy and just sent in the first draft.


If you want to be a successful copywriter, NEVER send in the first draft. It will never be your best work.


ALWAYS be self-critical, brutally so, and don't allow yourself to submit copy until you have worked yourself to the bone and you know it's the best you can do.


Concluding thoughts...


Being good at your craft is only half the story when it comes to becoming a successful copywriter.


The other half is to be professional and courteous at all times.


Please your client every time - and he or she will give you more and more work.





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