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.