I remember my first official freelance assignment like a dream that never was.
I was working from my kitchen table. Framing my computer screen was a pretty view of the apartment cluster’s courtyard. The smell of coffee mixed nicely with the scent of salt air from the beach a block away. I remember sighing and thinking “this is the life” as I wrote my sell sheet copy for an incontinence product.
There I was typing, revising, sighing and sipping coffee—I was deep in the zone…and then the phone rang.
It was my client.
That was the first of a career’s worth of reminders that there is a lot more to writing than writing. Over the years I’ve embraced the ethic that copywriting is a service, and success depends on how well you serve your clients.
More often than not, that means attending faithfully to the non-writing parts of the job: the picking up the phone and promptly getting back as well as the planning, proofreading, strategizing, discussing, brand-emmersing, presenting, revising, listening, sharing, meeting, researching and reminding.
It’s hard to believe just how much service is wrapped around a little 60-second video script, copy deck, case study or ad concept. The details may seem trivial, but they determine the positive flow of projects, make clients’ lives easier and protect the quality of the writing.
Service determines the success of projects. To me, it’s really just a synonym for good communication—a clear delineation of goals and roles, which promotes efficiency. It also translates to alignment, which ensures the copy syncs with the design, media choices and more.
Service is much more than a nice to have in this business. Besides, who wants to work with a grumpy hermit writer anyway? Have fun. Do good work. Demand great service.
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