Edits are a copywriter's nightmare. We have studied how to reduce them and decrease their probability of occurrence.
This text is not about errors, literacy or correct execution of documents. It is about the relationship between the client and the contractor.
The main two reasons for edits are: the ambiguous understanding of the task by the contractor and indeterminate TA (technical assignment) from the client.
Uncertain understanding of the task by the contractor
If you doubt you can ask. This principle is always correct. It is a way much better to clarify with the client incomprehensible moments before the order fulfillment finds out that it's been wrong. It is not easy though, it is equally good to understand investments, crankshafts, baby powder and floristics.
It often happens that the task of writing a press release or news contains only a part of the information and leaves a lot of question marks.
If it is not about a site review or a product and a press release needs to be written, then the newsbreak must include an action. The latter could be a stock, special price offer, a mass event, assortment update, etc. In extreme cases, point out that the the online store authors explained their products.
Agreeing with a client with future text header is already winning half the battle.
This may be a press release, news, article, review, operating manual, interviews, etc. The format depends on the style of presentation. If the article can be written in a casual style with an appeal to the audience, then in a press release, such liberties are not permitted.
The writing format must be specified in order to avoid ambiguity when publishing. Some media outlets only work with news and accept neither reviews nor interviews.
Size and etc.
The media may refuse to publish a text that is too long or too short. The same applies to references with their types and quantities and other technical issues.
All listed nuances concern only the technical side of the text and relate to the contractor. The rest is the talent and professionalism of the author.
Ambiguous TA from the customer
The customer is equally responsible for the content
For technical specifications, which contain only a link to the client’s site and not another single written word, it's possible to either pay no attention, or to send them over for revision.
Of course, if you are working with a client several times and he completely trusts you, the briefs from him can look like a link plus a key phrase. But with new clients you should be more careful and try to find out what you need after all. This will reduce the probability of edits.
It is good when the TA contains the structure of the text that the client expects to see. Agencies usually prescribe the required number and format of subtitles, lists, etc. Texts in which the SEO component is important, should meet the requirements for spamming and uniqueness. For them, it is needed to specify the type and number of key phrases - low, medium and high frequency.
How to deal with "creative" customers
It happens that after the writing of the text, “great ideas” come to the client's mind. He wants to "rewrite" a little, add to the text, dilute it with fascinating facts, which only he himself knows and which was not in the brief at all in the first place.
If such aspirations are harmless, presented without claims, but rather in the form of a request, then do accept them unconditionally. Here you are a professional, a client is a person whose life may not be related to writing articles. He can see that the material needs to be added, after it has been written. Besides, additions increase the volume and accordingly the price of the text. It is in the hands of any freelance copywriter.
There is a measure for everything. If the price was reserved for the text without specifying the number of characters and it was supposed to be news for a couple of thousand characters, it’s good. News, which as a result of edits turned into a long read, should be paid appropriately.
With an unfamiliar client, you should first specify the number of edits. For example, each new version of the text, starting with the third, should be paid additionally.
What edits worth being accepted
Reasonable criticism: professional specific nuances, about which the performer may not know, changes in the text links, company names and other technical issues.
Requests to supplement text with facts, information and anything that does not go beyond the contract and the technical specifications. Customer must provide all additions.
Which edits are better to reject or revise
Anything that does not fit into the framework of the contract: excessive text enlargement that reduces the value of work. This may include requests to find pictures, videos, etc - a copywriter should not generate visual content.
Edits that change the format: requests to be made in an already finished article. For example, an interview or turn the news into a review. We must try to convince the client that this will create problems when publishing, as it may not synchronize with the theme of the publisher. In such situations, it is better to sell one more writing.
Always try to put yourself in the place of the client, and try to hold emotions that he wants to address to readers, and you will succeed!
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Guest post was prepared by Roman Onishchuk, head of product and marketing strategy at Proofy. Proofy is the largest bulk email verification service in the USA. The company gets an award #4 Product of the day on Product hunt platform and also was distinguished with Premium Usability and Rising Star awards from FinancesOnline.