“I don’t like this copy. I don’t like any of it.”

Any decent copywriter who cares about their reputation never wants to hear those words. Yet today I heard the story of how a flashy agency’s copywriting let someone down.

After snatching the money, the naughty agency went silent then months later presented copy for an entire website without properly consulting their client. Then they delayed redrafts indefinitely and showed little interest in fixing the problem.

How could any self-respecting copywriter let this happen?

After lending a sympathetic ear, I offered to rescue the project and clean up the mess. But with the understandable hesitancy of a client with burnt fingers they first asked what I’d do to prevent the same malpractice.

Thankfully my clients are always happy with my copywriting. And I replied that I’d do everything in my power to keep things that way. But my latent moral outrage compelled me to elaborate on how I’d do that.


I believe in early, regular and incremental involvement with clients and copywriting. Big-bang delivery simply invites trouble whereas timely and appropriate review points mean less surprises. Because you keep a tight reign on inevitable change and people feel more invested in your copy.

Yet before you’ve even started a copywriting project there needs to be consensus on what it is that you’re supposed to deliver. That’s why I write a simple brief that answers fundamental questions like:

  • What’s wrong with things the way they are?
  • What must happen to change that?
  • How might the ideal solution look?

The brief is easy to read (as you’d expect from a freelance copywriter) and quotes things the client has said, literally. Plus it’s never longer than one page so there’s no excuse for busy people not to read it.

Why use a freelance copywriter?

According to the poor victim in our story, rumours of a skeletal brief were lost in a bureaucratic paper trail by the same naughty agency. Perhaps that’s another compelling reason to choose a freelance copywriter.

As commissioner you talk to us direct because there’s no expensive middlemen to muddy the waters. We’re more agile, flexible and responsive because of it too.

That’s not to say agencies are evil. I’ve worked with some lovely ones here in Leeds. Yet when I’m invited to join large project teams I still insist on the same levels of involvement with my client and a fully explored project brief.

Just like that naughty agency should’ve.