Sunday, March 16, 2008

A freelance writer's biggest pet peeves

Some of my old clients — and the ones I have kept on the "old rates" out of generosity and respect for their loyalty — have become a pain in my behind. It's just not worth the money anymore, and I'm thinking of looking for replacements.

Here are some of the things that make me want to drop a client:

1. Emailing their writer at the last minute for a press release they need ASAP &mdash every single time. I mean, come on. How difficult is it to ask me to write the press release while they're still in the process of adding the new product or service to their website? That way, everything can be released at the same time. Why is this such a difficult concept for some clients to grasp?

2. Hiring a writer and then rewriting everything themselves. I don't have a problem with newspaper and magazine editors making changes, but I do have a problem with clients — who have hired me as the expert — doing it. Particularly when the changes suck.

3. Being vague about what they want, and then complaining about what they get. If you don't tell me specifically what you want, how do you expect my vision of the project to coincide with yours? I haven't had to deal with this in a while, but I did once dump a client over an extreme case of it.

4. Ordering a rush project, and then going MIA. This isn't a current issue for me, but a conversation with another writer reminded me that it is one of my biggest pet peeves. "Rush project" does not mean that clients can take their time and let the writer make up for it by working more quickly!

5. Blaming the writer when your marketing efforts don't work. There are many reasons why great marketing copy doesn't generate a response. The client might not have done their market research, or they might just have a crappy product. The last time I ran into this problem, I decided I'll no longer write for products or companies I don't believe it.

What are your biggest issues with clients?

1 comment:

Lori said...

Amen to every single one of these, Katharine! I especially hate the end result - the blame for not nailing it. That's akin to being blamed for not being a mind reader.


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