The ‘five minute’ copywriting job

http://www.123rf.com/photo_15880790_close-up-of-alarm-clock-everyday-object-close-up.htmlIf you’re a seasoned copywriter, you’ll know all about those ‘five minute’ copywriting jobs.  And if you’re new to copywriting, don’t worry, you’ll find out about them soon enough.

Those ‘five minute’ copywriting jobs do exist – but only in your clients’ imagination!  As any experienced writer will tell you, the ‘five minute’ job ranks alongside the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas. But they’re a potential hazard for the new copywriter who might not know how to deal with their client’s flights of fancy.

The word count

It’s a common misconception that the shorter the copy, the less time that’s needed to write it.  As a copywriter, this is something you might need to educate your clients about.

It’s considerably easier and faster to write 250 words on a given subject than trying to fit the same message into a mere 50 words.  If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.  Write a paragraph about your business and then try to write the same thing in a ten-word sentence.  Not easy, is it?

Writing short copy calls for economical use of words and a great deal of skill.  And it can’t be done in five minutes.

Copywriting processes

As a copywriter, you need to understand your client’s business. For a regular client, you should have this part covered.  But if it’s a new client, you will be starting from scratch, and the time you spend on this must be factored in.

Before you can start the job, you must have a thorough brief and understand the ‘proposition’.  How are we doing for time?  Are our five minutes up yet?

Next you’ll move onto the planning stage of the project.  That takes time too, irrespective of whether you plan it out on paper or simply think about what to write and how to write it.

Now you’re ready to start drafting the copy.  An average copy typing speed is about 40 words a minute, but this is quite different to the typing speed for something that needs creativity and a lot of thought.  Are we out of time yet?

Once your draft is written, it must be checked and you might make a few amendments.  And of course, if you’ve amended the copy, you’ll need to check it again.  How long did that take?

Finally, you have to send the copy to your client who might want some changes made, and the whole process starts again.

So, if you’re a new copywriter and get asked to do a quick ‘five minute’ job, don’t make the mistake of thinking it can be done.  It’s your job to make sure your client understands professional copywriting takes time and there’s no such thing as a ‘five minute’ copywriting job.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

2 Responses to The ‘five minute’ copywriting job

  1. […] You’re competing against services like People Per Hour, where someone will happily knock out text for a 10 page website for £250. Suddenly, your client expects you to do the same, yet give them a fully custom, bespoke service — the type they’d never get on People Per Hour — for little to no more money. Because after all, they think the words are the only billable part of the job. […]

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