April 23, 2014

Increase Your Chance of Being Re-Hired as an Online Freelance Copywriter

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The online freelance copywriting industry is growing by leaps and bounds. More and more copywriters are realizing that finding online jobs is a lot easier than finding offline gigs.  This, however, means more copywriters will be vying for the same jobs. The competition is getting stiffer, so your overall work ethic, attention to detail and work habits must be fine-tuned.

Still, there is this sense that online commitments don’t have to be taken as seriously as in-person pledges.  Don’t make that mistake.  Copywriting projects are taken just as seriously by online employers as they are by offline employers

On that note, there are certain chinks in the armor of some freelance copywriters that turn employers off and which may be the deciding factor for rehiring you or recommending you over an equally qualified and similarly priced copywriter. Those bad practices include the following:

•You ask questions when the answers have already been laid out in the job posting

Read the job description and comments carefully before you ask the employer questions.  If it’s unclear or can conceivably have more than one meaning, then ask away.

•You ask for an extension at the last minute

Stuff that we can’t control happens to all of us. However, if you find that needing an extension has happened to you more than twice, forgo the gigs where the time constraint is likely to be an issue. You hurt the employer and you’ll begin to chip away at your reputation in the freelance arena.
•Offer to email an assignment long before a deadline to impress an employer, and then renege on that promise because the contract said you had more time.

 If you want to complete the assignment early, then do so, but don’t say you will unless you are going to follow-through. If your employer takes you at your word and schedules something based on that promise, you may be putting him in a bad position.  Yes, contractually, you have until the written deadline, but ethically, you’re wrong.  You don’t want that to be what an employer remembers about you. The same way freelancers discuss employers; employers compare notes when it comes to recommending freelance copywriters.

•Ask for half up front, do part one, then slack off for part two

Every leg of your project must be your best work.  Some freelancers have been known to put their best foot forward, initially, get paid, then slack off for the remainder of the project. Remember, the entire project represents your freelance brand.

•Ask basic questions that someone of your claimed expertise and skill set should know

If you hold yourself out to be a Tweet copywriter, then you should be very familiar with how Twitter works and with Twitter stuff.  Asking what he means by “hashtag” is not a good look.

•Hand in well-written fluff work product with filler phrases

Don’t use fluff, well-chosen words filler words and esoteric turns of phrase to meet a word count requirement because you don’t feel like exerting the energy to come up with something of substance.  Don’t kid yourself into thinking that just because you’ve included some and a few esoteric phrases, an employer won’t see through it.  She may not say anything to you about it, but in her mind, she’s saying, “never again.”


Request to be rated when your employer seemed dissatisfied

If your employer has demonstrated that you’ve disappointed him, especially more than once, don’t bug him to give you an online review or rating. What he has to say about you may do more harm than good. However, you have to clean up your act so that such work habits don’t become a permanent part of your routine.

  

Employers come to us because they can’t do it themselves or because they don’t have the time.  Let’s not disappoint them and risk our reputations by providing substandard work or by not living up to reasonable expectations.  Even if it is a pro bono assignment or an assignment for which you now feel underpaid (after contract), excellence is all you should be thinking and giving . . . nothing less.

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Comments

  1. Marilyne McIntosh says:

    I’ve done every one of these things at one point or another, and you’re exactly right: those clients rarely hired me back.

  2. Kale Harmon says:

    I have been on both the providing and hiring end of freelance copy writing, and the one thing that instantly blacklists people from future work is your third point: slacking off on the second, unpaid part of the job. It’s always advisable to create a firm deadline and stick to it. Another thing I believe ruins the chance at a call back is injecting too much personal life into the transaction. “I’ll finish it as soon as the baby naps.” I hear that once from a “professional” copy writer. Babies don’t belong in business.

  3. I agree, Kate. Firm deadlines are extremely important for freelancers, because things can get out of control fairly quickly. As to family life interfering with your business, freelancers have to learn to treat their practices like traditional employment. Personal things do happen, but we would never tell our boss that we’ll finish the project they’re paying us to do after our routine personal matters are handled first.

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