“I finally got a copywriting client!”

…now what?

It’s like a dog chasing it’s tail.

You finally got a client to write copy for — congrats!

But what do you do now?

You ask questions and find out what the client expects of you!

But this post is all about what you’re responsible for and how to make your client happy (so hopefully you get hired again or get a nice referral).

What format do you write in? What are you responsible for?

BEFORE you take on a client and take ANY MONEY — you should start off by asking the client for their expectations.

Do they have any expectations already?

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. What is expected of you?
  2. How does the client define success?
  3. What format do they want?
  4. Do they want to be hands on or hands off with the project?
  5. How can you prevent “scope creep?”

You always want to know what the client wants.

A Video Sales Letter (VSL)?

Do they want you to write a new lead?

Knowing what the deliverables are and when they’re “due” is key.

How does the client define success?

Some clients care more about vanity metrics. Others just want sales.

So make sure you know what the client sees as a “win” and tailor your copy to get that result.

What format do they want?

If they want a word document, do that.

If they want aa PDF, give them a PDF.

Always ask — don’t just assume.

Do they want to be hands on or hands off with the project?

Ask what the client is expecting (if you don’t already know).

In general — smaller clients and businesses tend to be more hands on. Larger clients and businesses tend to be more hands-off and systematized.

Bigger usually means more money to pay you, but can also mean more red-tape and “pain in the ass” factors.

How can you prevent scope creep?

Establish what the client will get from you up front.

How many re-writes?

What deliverables?

Will you be designing anything, yes or no?

Define things up front and try to get them in writing if possible to prevent scope creep. Otherwise one project can become 10 with no extra pay.

BONUS: Am I responsible for designing stuff?

In general — no. You’re not a designer. You’re a copywriter.

And a certain A-Lister always tells me on our calls: “You’re not the designer — stop trying to design. Let the designer do their job and you do yours!”

In general — larger companies SHOULD have professional designers. Many are not familiar with Direct response — but they are designers.

Design is usually NOT your responsibility. However, you can always give guidance since ultimately you are responsible for the success of your copy.

So — if you have an idea for a designer, let them know in the copy using brackets! Brackets are these things -> [ ]

Here’s an example using the legendary John Carlton:

But will never, ever tell you to your face!

[DESIGNER: Add in a graphic of a hot woman giggling with her girlfriends]

Dear Friend,

The ladies have been talking about you.

See how I just put a suggestion to the designer in brackets?

In general []’s are understood to mean: THIS IS A COMMENT AND WILL NOT APPEAR IN THE COPY.

It’s like how in coding, different languages have different ways to add comments. Comments are text that will not be read as code.

Well — the same thing applies here.

However — whenever I submit copy to a client, I usually make it explicit that anything in []’s will not appear in the final copy. I also tend to bold and highlight to make it stand out.

[]’s seem to be an industry standard, but never assume anything. Especially with smaller clients who might have their own way of doing things.

Hopefully that gave you some ideas!

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Andrew Trachtman

I currently write copy for multiple 7 and 8-figure business and freelance on the side when I have free time (which is... not that often).