From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Asking Clients Questions

Hi Scott,

Something came up recently on which I would love to hear your thoughts: I was asked to write a brochure for a vet practice showcasing the benefits of a hydrotherapy-pool exercise for dogs. After the job specifics were sorted out and a contract was in place, I sent the client my usual “preliminary copywriting questionnaire” asking about their company, product, etc. I got it back, with most of it ignored, and a covering comps slip saying, “All this, for a mere 600 words!” Should I have done away with my 30-odd questions? Are there occasions where the in-depth research just isn’t necessary, etc?

– Tracey

Hello Tracey,

You always want to do your research before writing any sort of promotion. However, you also want to make it easy for a client to work with you. The marketer or the head of the company (I can’t imagine that this veterinary practice is so large that you were dealing with anyone other than the vet himself) may not have the time to answer 30 detailed questions.

Time is a very valuable commodity.

I would suggest, in a situation like this, that you ask for any previous promotions and existing information they have about the product. This information should answer most if not all of your questions. If it doesn’t, feel free to do some of your own independent research. Only then should you email the client with any questions that remain, and only if the missing information is vital to the assignment.

Hi Scott,

I’d like to share my own self-made niche that is moving in an income-doubling direction.

Next week, I’m taking on a job for a small film company seeking to expand its sales of training media nationally. The job entails rewriting all of their Web copy and writing special promotional pieces. In addition, I will be writing 4 specialty newsletters for the company that go out to prospective clients in 4 different industry sectors. I negotiated a contract which will pay me in two ways: an advance of $50,000, plus 20 percent of all Web-based sales, paid quarterly. (Totally trackable electronically too, down to the nickel.) I am contracted to write all controls exclusively.

If it wasn’t for the Accelerated and Masters Copywriting programs, I would still be thinking small and missing out on doing 2 things I love: writing and cashing checks.

– Anthony C.

PS: the company is referring to me as a “Special Projects Facilitator.” I like the ring to that!

Hi Anthony,

That is Great!! Keep up the good work.

Hi Scott,

I’m still in the beginning phases of the program (though I’ve pretty much read the entire thing three times now), and I’m happy to report that I just landed a $6,000 per year writing contract with our local Chamber of Commerce. That’s for four newsletters (4-8 pages) and 10 press releases. That’s for 30 hours of actual work – $200 an hour!!! It inspires me to complete the program ASAP.

– Mike H.

Thanks to one and all for your questions and comments. Keep those emails coming!


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Published: February 13, 2006

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