I’m a copywriter and content strategist, bumbling along and trying to make clients happy.
This client is a classic sweetheart with a generous sprinkle of daftness.
One day I found he’d published on the eNewsletter and company blog a ham-fisted article offering my services without consulting me or gaining permission. We’d only had one initial meeting talking about aspirations and goals - no parameters, scope, compensation or anything remotely contract-y was in place. He just went for it.
I know he meant no harm but it had the potential to blow up in his face if he didn’t agree to my payment terms and a bad name for me, so I organised a call to straighten things out.
Me: I see you’ve published some advertisements about my services. That’s great but we need to talk scope and logistics before the ball really gets rolling, so neither of us end up in a corner. Let’s revisit budget first so we’re in the same ballpark. Have you thought about this?
Client: Yeah! I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think your proposed payment plan is feasible.
Me: (Confused.) Oh, that’s odd - I haven’t sent a proposal yet. What do you mean?
Client: When we met, you said you’d want me to pay “by the line” on your blog posts - I figure that’s going to be difficult with responsive design. I want to pay you fairly but I don’t want to be paying you one thing one day and another the next.
It took me a moment to figure out what he means, and then I started to laugh.
Me: Ah, I see! I said I’d like a byline on blog posts - a byline is just author attribution. I didn’t mean paying per line. You’re right, that would be untenable.
Client: Oh, that’s a relief! You copy types are in another world - so much jargon!
I chose to not point out byline is a common word in journalism, copywriting and content production in general. Bless him. Per word and per project is well hashed, but I doubt per line is the future for web copy.