Archive for March, 2011
We copywriters spend a lot of time behind a computer screen. It’s a bit of an isolated way to come up with top ideas. And, to be honest, it can get a bit lonely. Which is why Melbourne is such a great place to be a copywriter. Not only is this town alive with creative minds, Melbourne has plenty of open spaces.
When I get the chance to kick the writing for a quick break, I head for the local … park, of course. Great for clearing out the cobwebs and surprisingly helpful for sparking new ideas. Actually, it’s amazing how often a new copywriting concept emerges right away from the monitor. Like this one.
You see the longer a copywriter spends sitting there trying to come to up with a sparky idea … the less spark it will have. Any writer will tell you the longer they work the slower they get. Best to down tools, take a break … and get some inspiration.
Near where I work in Melbourne, there’s a piece of bushland complete with creek (yes, very Waltzing Matilda). I find the action there can set the odd light-bulb off. People with the business lunch-break shuffle, jogger’s ear-buds or pet dogs engaged in a sniffing stand-off. But that’s not the real inspiration … this is.
As a professional writing service, it is our goal to offer high quality custom copywriting for every project. To do that, a copywriter will:
- spend time discussing the purpose and goals of a writing project
- take a full copywriter brief, including market, business and product profiles
- thoroughly research the content before it is written
- prepare and edit draft copy before presenting it to the client
- offer one or two rounds of amendments to fine tune the message
The thing is copywriting isn’t in the least like data entry
Your writer doesn’t just sit down and start firing out fun, formal or fantastic content. It takes time to get that right. And as we all know, time is money.
I was reading recently about how the perception of what a copywriter does (and the right fee) has changed. The argument being that large content driven websites (known as content farms) publish huge volumes of poor quality pages. Generally these online articles have been written by non-native English speakers who have been paid a pittance. In turn, this devalues the work of professional writing services.
Tunnel vision glasses … it’s a cost-based enquiry
In my experience, most prospective clients appreciate the process that leads to high quality copywriting. For the most part, they respect a professional view and defer to experienced judgement.
But there’s also the exception. Whenever the phone rings and the first thing a caller says is “I just want a quote for copywriting” there’s no way around it … they’re shopping on price. Often these are business owners with no prior experience of using a copywriter. And almost universally, they underestimate cost. Not only that, the timeline will be tight and the expectation high.
As I mentioned in the opening, there’s a process to achieving engaging communication. Any professional writer will agree. The fact is, that means most custom copywriting services will have a number of jobs scheduled at any one time. Sometimes, it’s possible to slot in smaller, urgent tasks. But not always.
Like so many things in life, you get what you pay for
When you’re shopping around on your copywriter’s fee, there are three things you need to remember:
- if the price is low, expect a poor quality output
(freelance = fair work for a fair fee)
- usually there’s a reason why writers have no work
(and a free schedule to start yesterday)
- you don’t expect a maitre’d at a fast food outlet
(so keep your service expectations within budget)
As a copywriter, I am approached by many businesses to write or polish their marketing communication. Actually, that’s part of the joy of working as a copywriter. But not every business writing job is exciting, interesting … or a fit with your personal and business values. So how to remove yourself from the client engagement process, politely and with your professional reputation intact?
Like any tricky situation, there’s really no simple answer. Each and every one of us is challenged by a unique moral compass. For instance, if you’ve had a problem gambler in the family, you probably won’t want to be copywriting for a casino. Perhaps politics or the adult industry aren’t your thing. The list goes on … religion, pro life, politics and so on.
The tactful withdrawal
Firstly, take the time to think the copywriting proposal out completely. Ask yourself, “in the long run, am I better off trying to make this fit, or should I simply to walk away?”
To do this, you’ll need to consider whether the writing project is clearly outside the scope of your copywriting services. If the subject matter, ethical approach etc fits to some extent within your business focus, where is the boundary?
Once you are sure about making a graceful exit, do so as early as possible. Before any firm decision about your suitability as a copywriter. Or expectations formed about the writing service you provide.
Choose your words carefully and avoid confusion by informing the prospective client in writing. There’s no need to go into detail about your personal position. Be diplomatic. They’re entitled to their view, it just doesn’t sit well with yours.
Lastly, no matter how low the bank balance gets, or how tempting a rethink … never go back on your position.