Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I hire you instead of an ad agency or marketing firm?
I have nothing against ad agencies. In fact, ad agencies, marketing firms and web design companies are some of my best clients. However, if the project you’re doing is copy-driven (i.e. a website, brochure, landing page or press release) you’ll probably save a lot by coming directly to me.
Typically, agencies have a high overhead which is reflected in their rates. Plus, most agencies don’t have in-house copywriters. Instead, they either ask their clients to provide their own copy or they farm it out to a specialist like me (adding a little something for themselves to my rates).
Assuming I’ve decided to go the freelance route, why should I hire you vs. another copywriter?
I have over 20 years of writing for results. I have experience as a nonprofit executive and as a business owner. I know the challenges of bringing in clients, customers and funding. I bring not only expert copywriting skills and training to the table, but also marketing acumen and business know-how. I’ve written in a number of different markets and helped clients get results in all of them. I can do the same for you.
Who are most of your current clients?
They fall into two main categories. The first is marketing firms, ad agencies and web site designers. These folks typically subcontract the copywriting work for their clients to me.
The second group is companies for which I work directly. They range from professional service firms like accountants and real estate brokers, to manufacturers and tech startups, to restaurants, and government agencies.
How do you charge?
My rates are reasonable. After all, as a freelancer working out of my home, I have minimal overhead. I quote each project individually. I try to assess the number of hours I’ll need to complete the work and take into account its level of complexity. I’ll give you a firm quote before work begins.
My clients, without exception, feel they get excellent value for their money. In addition to great copy and first-rate service, they receive the benefits of my marketing expertise and business know-how.
What are your terms?
I require a 50% deposit up front. The balance is due upon project completion. After we’ve completed our first few projects together, we can discuss credit terms.
What types of payment do you accept?
I accept company checks or electronic payments through PayPal. If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can still pay through PayPal using a Visa or MasterCard credit card. I can send you a link that makes the process super easy. Please be aware that PayPal charges a fee of approximately 3%.
If you are based outside the U.S., I cannot accept a check. Payment must be made through PayPal. Prices are determined in dollars and then converted through PayPal into your country’s currency. Please be aware that PayPal charges an international money transfer fee, which is based on your country of origin.
I’m looking for a copywriter with whom I can establish a long-term relationship and provide on-going work as different projects arise. Do you have experience working with accounts?
Yes, I do. Many of my clients have been with me for years. They like that when they need any copywriting done — whether for a website, brochure, press release or product label — they don’t have to invest time bringing me up to speed on their products or services.
The process is completely hassle-free. They just contact me with their writing assignment, and with minimal direction, I get the job done right.
What is the typical process for having you write say a brochure or website for my firm?
I’ll usually want to speak with you by phone. I’ll ask you a lot of questions related to your marketing objectives, your prospects, your customers, and your competition.
I’ll obtain from you as much information as possible (written or verbal) to use in preparing your copy. I’ll then produce a first draft and await your feedback, then make revisions as needed. Only when you’re 100% satisfied with every single word do I consider the job done.
As you probably know, some copywriting projects evolve. They start out as one thing and then change direction or grow in scope. How do you handle this?
I provide a quote on the project based upon the parameters we discuss. If during the production process the parameters change or the scope grows, then I’ll talk with you about adjusting the budget accordingly. I’m fair and expect that you will be too.
Where are you located? Can we meet?
I’m in upstate New York. I don’t usually meet in person with my clients, especially since many of them live in a different state or country from me.
We should be able to communicate about your copywriting project via phone, email, and if necessary, Skype. As for meetings, the ones I attend are via conference call, and I think most copywriters would say the same thing.
Will I have to sign a contract?
Yes. After we’ve discussed the parameters of your copywriting project, I’ll put together an agreement that summarizes the details including the price. The agreement is a good way for us both to ensure that we have the same expectations.
What happens if I don’t like the first draft of copy?
Usually I come pretty close to hitting the nail on the head, but if that’s not the case, it’s a problem easily solved. In fact, that’s really the purpose of writing a first draft. It helps me to clarify exactly what you do want. That first draft then becomes a starting point for me to get your feedback and write a second draft that’s more on target.
What comes first, design or copy?
This question comes up a lot, and there’s no right or wrong answer. If you already have a design or layout, I’ll work with it, making sure my copy complements and enhances it. If you don’t have a design, I’ll draft copy and give recommendations for a layout. The bottom line is, whatever your situation, I’ll make it work so that the end result is a marketing piece you’re proud of.
In what form will you submit your copy?
I’ll provide the copy to you in MS Word sent via email. If it needs to be placed into a brochure, onto a product label, or into a website, your designer/developer will handle that function.
What kind of copywriting work do you like best?
Websites. I enjoy sinking my teeth into a massive amount of information and organizing it to be meaningful and effective.
Also, I truly believe in the value of the Internet as a marketing tool. I’ve spent the last 15-plus years studying the Internet and learning what gets results. Good copy is absolutely vital for getting placement on search engines and for converting prospects into customers.
I need copy that will help improve my site’s ranking on Google. Do you understand search engine optimization (SEO)?
Yes, I’ve been writing SEO copy for over a decade. My own websites, as well as those of many of my clients, rank on page 1 of Google in large part because of their written content.
I can assist you with keyword research. Or you can provide the keywords you wish to target, and I’ll produce quality copy that cleverly incorporates them.
In addition to page content, I can also write your title tags and meta-description tags, since they’re important elements of search engine optimization.
Will you be able to write about my business if you don’t have direct experience with my field?
Yes. Sure I’ll need to take some time to become familiar with the particulars of your business, its jargon, and your industry at large, but I don’t see that as a formidable task. I enjoy doing research and will quickly get up to speed. More importantly, regardless of the business you’re in, the same basic marketing principles apply. It’s just a matter of adapting them to your particular situation.
Do you have any references?
You can read testimonials from my clients here.
How are you at writing About Us pages for websites? Is this something you can do even if you don’t know anything about my company?
Oddly enough, I am frequently asked to write About Us website pages, more so than any other type of page. My guess is that many people have trouble writing about themselves. They struggle with how much to tell. They know this is the page where they should toot their own horn, but they don’t want to come across as bragging.
I enjoy writing About Us pages. However, as I’m sure you can understand, I’ll need to start by interviewing you or someone knowledgeable in your company. Usually, with a 30-60 minute phone interview, I’ll be able to glean enough information to put together a draft for your review.
What if I’ve already got a rough draft, and I just need help with copy editing?
No problem. Let me take a look at what you have. I’ll give you recommendations for improvement and a quote for me to do the copy editing. If the copy really doesn’t need improvement, I’ll tell you for free.
When can you start on my project?
That’s a loaded question. I usually have a queue of copywriting projects lined up. However, I do my best to give fast turnarounds.
If your project has a tight deadline, please let me know up front. I’ll tell you right away if I can accommodate your schedule.
Even if you’re not in a rush but would just like your project completed as soon as possible, I’ll give you a completion date so you know what to expect.
How long are turnaround times?
My clients are usually impressed with how efficiently things get done. Once we clarify the parameters of your project, I’ll give you a firm completion date. If you have a deadline to meet, please let me know up front, and, as I said earlier, I’ll do everything I can to accommodate you.
What if I live in another state (not New York like you) or country? Can we still work together?
Absolutely. While I do have many clients based in New York, I also work with companies from other states and other countries. In fact, within the past year I’ve completed copywriting projects for clients in England, Australia, and Kenya. We work by phone and email, and the process moves along just as smoothly as if we were both in the same city.
You mentioned your international clientele above. Why should a foreign company hire an American copywriter?
Many companies today sell their products or services outside their immediate geographic area. If their target market is the United States, England, Australia or some country that uses English as a first or second language, then they’ll want to build a website in English.
American English is widely accepted and understood. An American copywriter also understands all the literary and cultural nuances of the U.S. and can write copy that resonates with fellow Americans. Someone who has learned English as a second language or was not born and raised in the U.S. may not have mastered those elements.
Will you sign a non-disclosure agreement? How about a non-compete agreement?
Yes. You can provide those documents and I will sign them. However, you should also know that I’m an extremely moral person with a strong code of ethics. That’s how I roll.
I would never intentionally do anything that could harm a client’s business or compromise a client’s trust in me. For all the years I’ve been in business, I’ve never been sued or even threatened with a lawsuit by any of my clients.
Do you ever provide copywriting services to clients who are competitors?
As previously mentioned, I’m an ethical person. I’m also extremely loyal to my clients. I would never do anything that could harm them or their business, and that would include working for a direct competitor of theirs.
If a competitor of an existing client calls me or if I sense taking on a new client could be a conflict of interest, I refer the new client to another freelance copywriter. And yes, that has happened a number of times.
If I hire you to write copy for me, who owns that copy?
Everything I do is a custom job. You own the copyright on any copy that you’ve hired me to write for you. I’ll never give it to anyone else. And you can use it any way that you’d like. In fact, my clients will frequently leverage their investment in professional copy by re-purposing it in a variety of materials.
For example, you may be able to take content I’ve written for your website and incorporate it into a sales letter. I want you to derive as much benefit as you can from the content I produce for you.
You sound like a good fit for my copywriting project. What’s the next step?
Let’s start a dialog. Either email me about your project or call. Together we’ll figure out the best approach. You don’t need to commit to work with me until I’ve put together a proposal with prices and a timeline.
Need great copy? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org