Freelance copywriting: Clients and schedules

by Angela on June 17, 2007

Happy days, you’ve signed a new client and good cheer and excitement abounds. You’re happy with the client, the client’s happy with you, and all in the garden is wonderful.

Unfortunately, many projects slide downward from this hight point. So to get your project off on the right footing, you need to do some planning, and set a schedule for this project. This helps you, and it helps the client too.

It helps you, because you can squash this project in, and allocate time for it. It helps the client, because he knows when the final copy will be done.

It’s vital to set dates, and to meet the deadlines. Yes, I know that YOU would never miss a deadline, but your clients may not be familiar with the copywriting process, so you need to develop a plan, so that everyone knows what items are due on which date, and who’s responsible for the items.

Here’s a quick rundown which will help:

1. Materials deadline: this is the final date on which you’ll have all the material you need to work on the project so you’re ready to write. The materials could include product specifications, an interview with someone on the company’s team, previous marketing materials, and so on.

Occasionally a client will have nothing to give you. It happens, especially with new businesses. When you’re in this situation, factor in some research time. I like to do a quick search online and at the library for materials which may help if the client has nothing for me – I do this research before I’ll agree to the project.Without knowing how much research I need to do, I can’t quote an appropriate rate.

2. First draft deadline: this is your final date to get the draft copy to the client. If the client hasn’t worked with a copywriter before, you’ll need to explain what draft copy is – and be sure to explain that you need review comments back by a specific date. Clients sometimes don’t understand that you’ve blocked out time for them, and if they miss the review deadline, that time slot is filled with another project.

You’ll need to included the number of revisions you’re doing in your agreement before you start on the project. I usually allow for two. However, with complex projects, like Web sites or catalogs, there may be more than two reviews, because additional material needs to be added.

3. Final copy deadline: sooner or later done is done, and you send the final copy off to the client. Stick to the date you’ve set, and send in your invoice for the final copy.

[tags]copywriting, start a copywriting business, copywriter, freelance copywriter[/tags]

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