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Copywriting - misleading job description

(6 Posts)
MyRealNamesBernard Wed 10-Jun-15 10:25:21

Hello all, I am looking for some advice from anyone really, although it is about a copywriting job I have undertaken - so would be great to hear from other copywriters.

I have got myself into a bit of a pickle! I am a journo, but was approached by an SME to do some copywriting earlier this year. I accepted, and they have been drip-feeding me through the odd bit of work since January. Just a bit of website content here and there.

Last month they asked if I could write some more copy for them. They were very specific - there were five items they needed completed. I quoted them, said it would take me a week, and gave them the dates I was available. They accepted.

However, when I started the work on Monday it turns out they want far more work done than I originally signed up to! There are 50 pieces of content, including a re-write of one of their websites! They are also being vague about the deadline and are not very forthcoming about providing details on what I should be writing.

I have got other work lined up for next week and for the beginning of July, so I am keen to get this job wrapped up before then. But this looks like months of work!

Is it bad form for me to tell my copywriting clients I cannot do this work, or am I perfectly within my rights to turn this down - even though I have already started the job?

(Ps: I have already explained this was far more work than originally discussed... they were a bit evasive and just said they would find out more about a deadline and get back to me.... )

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 10-Jun-15 11:56:44

Did they leave the 0 off by mistake?

If they are being vague I doubt they are in a rush. I would requote and suggest a timeline to them (as they seem unable to come up with one) which allows you to do other stuff and see what they say.

I know they are the client but they need to be reasonable.

IMO website projects are always behind....

MyRealNamesBernard Wed 10-Jun-15 16:26:10

Thank you Margo, good advice!

I do think I need to write a friendly, polite email explaining my concerns. Giving them a timeline is a great idea - especially as I doubt they have an exact timescale in mind.

As a journo, I am used to having a deadline, and I feel like I am drifting, idly, without purpose when I don't have one!

They are paying me per word, but using most of my time explaining, changing their mind, then asking for my opinion on the direction their business is going. I think they need a marketing/PR consultant not a copywriter.

BobsBurglars Sat 11-Jul-15 17:49:41

Send them a further quote and timeline for the additional work and until that is agreed, only do what is agreed. Have you got a contract? If not, worth using one even for small jobs and/or regular clients

OhGood Tue 14-Jul-15 12:36:04

Sounds like a car crash in the making, and that you might need to do some project management / consultancy as well as the copywriting.

Are the 5 original pieces in the work they have given you, and are you able to do those on their own? If so you could finish those and quote for the rest.

Then how about when you requote and send in a timeline (with time built in for them to faff about working out what their business does) you quote some of the time for consultancy work and some for copywriting. Be very clear about which is which.

You also need to be able to say to them 'This is a decision for the business. This cannot be solved at a copy level'. Happens ALL THE TIME. When a business sees what you have written - clearly setting out what they do - they realise that is not in fact what they think they do, and they don't really know what they do, but they want the copywriter to solve it!

sorry, but garbled, but gist is you will be messed about too much if you approach purely as a copywriting job.

Becauseicannes Tue 14-Jul-15 12:40:13

Yes, totally requote. They then have the option to accept or not. I would not proceed until a suitable solution is reached.

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