Tag: clients

How to Manage Client Feedback

Whether copywriters develop website copy or an advertisement, we use expertise, research, and client feedback to create the best content possible.

However, this can quickly turn into a nightmare if we receive vague feedback like: “Fix this paragraph” or “I want this ad to ‘pop’ more.”

Proper feedback, in my opinion, is descriptive (not prescriptive). That means clients describe what they don’t like about the copy and tell us why they feel that way in relation to their end goal. This leaves it up to us (the hired experts) to come up with a solution.

Copywriters should take responsibility for managing client feedback. After all, this might be the first time your client has ever worked with a copywriter. Taking responsibility not only gives us some dignity for our work, but it also helps our clients’ projects succeed.

Educating Clients

An easy way to educate clients is by showing them the difference between good and bad feedback. I do this by sending clients a one-page PDF called “How to Provide Effective Feedback on My Work” a day or two before I submit my work. (I originally got this idea from an article written by Paul Jarvis, a freelance web designer.)

Since I may not get everything perfectly right on the first try, it’s important for me to know what’s not working for my clients. And with feedback, it is my job (as the hired expert) to come up with appropriate solutions to fix these issues.

This is how my PDF starts:

To ensure a project’s success, here are the effective ways my clients can provide the best feedback for me to do my best work:

  • Be honest. If you don’t like something, I need to know right away. (Not three weeks down the road!)


  • Be specific. Point out what, exactly, is not working for you, and why it’s not working.


  • Ask why. If you were not sure what I was thinking, I’d love to explain my reasoning. Everything I’ve done for the project has a purpose.


  • Refer to your goals. Relate every piece of feedback and criticism back to the goals we set at the start of the project.


  • Relate to your audience. Your audience should be on the top of your mind for every critique you give. What do they need? What will they love? What won’t they like?

That’s it! All it takes is a simple e-mail asking them to read this over before reviewing your work. Feel free to use this as an example to educate your own clients.

It’s little things like these that will keep our clients happy!

The Quick Turn: Writing to Meet Crazy Deadlines

I don’t prefer last-minute projects. But as a freelance writer, I understand that most of the time, sometimes it’s a necessity because that’s where clients need me the most and that the turnaround time may be out of their control. It can happen when a last-minute project (sometimes called a “quick turn” as shorthand for “quick turnaround”) lands in the client’s lap or the usual writer is unavailable.

Fortunately, writers are used to getting last-minute requests. While they’re not the sought after jobs, we do them for many reasons:

  • We have availability!
  • We excel at meeting deadlines.
  • Quick turn projects are an opportunity to connect with a potential long-term client.

So having worked on quite a few quick turn projects myself, success is more likely with these elements.

1. Meet in person. I like meeting clients face-to-face to kick off a project and get the download as quickly as possible. I can ask questions as they pop into my head, and I can see any visual examples immediately (on a shared laptop, for example). A meeting for even 30 minutes can avoid missed information later and establish a better level of trust and understanding.

2. Communicate often. Writers, be upfront that you will be in touch often, and ask for the best number to call or text. Ask questions for clarification. Provide updates. Send a rough draft or outline. Repeat.

3. Be candid about the results. If you have three days to turn around a 15-page proposal, as I recently did, tell the client that you cannot guarantee the quality of the final product. This acts as a disclaimer for the quality of work you provide and will give the client a graceful way to back out or kill the project. Get it in writing as part of the estimate you send to the client.

4. Agree on a final product you both can live with. If your client can live with a final, presentation-ready copy that may not be absolutely perfect, and you can live with some extra or late evening hours rewriting and responding to client requests, then go for it.

5. Call in another writer for final or concurrent review. This helps with quality control and will help make the final product even better. A second writer can proofread copy and catch any glaring errors and point out inconsistencies. He can write headlines and check for compliance with the project’s requirements. He can be moral support and be there at the end to say, “I can’t believe we did it.”

6. Price accordingly. Like the 1 a.m. call to the plumber when your basement is flooding, emergencies ain’t cheap. Make sure your quote includes an opportunity cost (because this job requires 100% of your time that will require you to turn down or defer other work) and reflects the unusual nature of the work and turnaround time (e.g., a stress surcharge).

I hope this overview helped you!  If you’ve worked on (or solicited) last-minute projects, what are your thoughts?

Untangle Your Freelancing Money Knots

The Copywriter Conclave of Portland will host its first event of 2015 on Thursday, February 5th at Forge Portland.  The event features Shell Tain, a veteran life coach and money knot “untangler.”

Untangle Your Freelancing Money Knots

Shell Tain

The event is designed for Portland freelancers and business owners, helping to untangle the “money knots” we find ourselves in.  Some examples would include what to charge prospects (or even regular clients), how to negotiate more effectively, and how to avoid the feast/famine work cycle.

Below is a brief Q&A with CCPDX President Amber James on why Shell Tain’s event is sponsored by CCPDX.

What led to requesting Shell Tain as the presenter for CCPDX’s first event of 2015?

A while back I asked our members to share ideas for event speakers. Member Sheila Ashdown knew of Shell Tain and recommended her. Considering the work Shell does (helping people live better lives by unpacking and overcoming their hang-ups around money), she’s a perfect speaker for the Conclave and for all the self-employed professionals in Portland.

What “money knots” do you notice freelancers running into?

There are only a few, but they’re biggies: the ability to set competitive rates and stick to them, giving yourself a well-deserved raise, and negotiating contracts with confidence. For the most part, we’ve been trained to be very polite and accommodating, to not fight over money or push back too hard when someone want to pay us less. That’s a bad habit for a self-employed professional because if you don’t get paid, [your business] can’t thrive.

How do you think this event can help the freelance community in Portland?

This event will do two primary things:

1) Give freelancers permission to question their money habits and thoughts around money; and

2) Make them aware of Shell, and the services and advice she has to offer the community. Portland has a wealth of freelance resources and educational professionals ready to assist. Shell is one of them, and I’m extremely excited to learn from her.


Want to meet Shell Tain, The Untangler?

Register here for the event

5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 5th

Free food and libations

Easy access to bike racks and nearby parking lots and garages