I take great glee in the following.
I am not proud of it.
Because the story I am about to tell is not a happy one. If you are someone who likes feel-good stories with happy endings, I suggest simply X-ing out of this right now.
Because I am going to tell a story about a freelance copywriter who truly shat the bed.
Why do I take such glee in this?
Well it's not that I am gleeful at other people's misfortune. Or that I root for copywriters around me to fail. Quite the opposite actually. I want copywriters to get really good. Not only can we learn from one another, but when others get better, I have to get better too.
All the same, whenever I am told a freelance copywriter horror story, it tickles me something deep.
It is the same shameful glee I see others take in reading celebrity gossip magazines.
So in that spirit, let's start this edition of:
'The Copy Insider'
Yesterday I received word from a confidential source about a copywriting primadonna. Now, unlike other copywriting horror stories, the problem wasn't poor communication. Or being a total pain in the ass to work with. Or poor language skills. Or turning work in late.
Those are my favorite horror stories. This one is much more tame.
This copywriter, according to my source, took on a project and turned it in on time, but... the copy was a complete heap of garbage. In fact, it was so bad that my source -- the person who had hired the primadonna copywriter -- wasn't able to use any of the copy at all.
Not even a lick.
Which made the project "a complete waste of money".
Oh dag. What can you do?
To make matters even worse, this copywriter (and this is where the primadonna part comes in) demanded the second half of his fee, in full, for work that was so bad it was completely unusable. All this without even offering to redo the project, work with my source to make it better, or make it right in any way.
And on one hand I feel for the copywriter. It sucks to not get paid for your work.
But on the other hand?
He's a complete nub. I for one would be embarrassed to demand money for work that sucked. And I would do anything in my power to make it right with my client. Which is why I view my relationship with clients as a partnership. I don't just turn in work and get paid. I work with them until it is right and providing maximum results.
And -- in case you're wondering -- my confidential source wasn't trying to screw him out of the money (that does happen far more than you'd like to think -- remember this isn't a happy story. You were warned). In fact, the source is a pretty good copywriter herself. So when she says it was "trash and unusable", she ain't just blowing smoke.
All this to say, work with a copywriter you trust, who has demonstrated their ability to create copy that isn't a dingleberry-encrusted garbage heap waiting to be set on fire.
If you believe that is me, you are invited to join my waitlist here:
P.S. This same source told me another story about another copywriter she hired who turned in similarily bad work.
The person the source hired was a "copy cub" of a copywriter who is apparently fairly well-known (I'd never heard of him -- but that isn't surprising as I tend to study only the very best).
Don't fear, the results weren't quite as abysmal. She was able to "use a little bit of the copy from the second draft."
It really seems that there is no end to the horrors of hiring certain freelance copywriters. It makes me wonder if this is par for the course for any freelancers, or if copywriters are a particularly skeevy bunch.
My guess is the latter, as so many people sell copywriting as a "4-hour workweek" type of profession. They're told the hardest job a copywriter has is counting their money at their vacation house at the French Riviera.
The copywriters I know who could afford a house in the French Rivera work far too hard to spend time counting their own chips.
No matter, hop on over to the waitlist here: