Sample text in copywriting – is it worth writing?

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Beginning freelancers, including copywriters, are not always well versed in the rules of their industry. They are not yet familiar with the topic, they have not earned any money from their new job, and something is already being demanded of them. At the beginning of copywriting gig, it is usually a sample of writing skills. The proof text in copywriting still raises a lot of controversy. Is there really anything to fear? We invite you to read!

Why does the client expect test texts?

The text sample provided by the copywriter is intended to show the client that the job candidate “knows his stuff.”

What is assessed is writing skills, light writing, compliance with the topic, creativity, content, but also punctuality and communication.

Execution of an order not in accordance with the order or below the expected level may result in a delay of the entire project and financial losses for the client. The would-be contractor will have to look for another copywriter who will create new content – and this will take some time. That is why a copywriting sample text is so important for the client – then he knows what to expect from the writer and whether he wants to use his services.

Unfortunately, there is also the other side of the coin. Sometimes you can come across unfair practices used by clients, i.e. free use of ready-made text samples in their projects. Just think that the client will find several people from whom he will receive samples, and the order will be completely completed without any investment. These are exceptional situations, but if a copywriter encounters such dishonesty once, he may never send another sample.

Test samples are prepared with a view to receiving the entire order and remuneration for it.

It is no wonder that freelancers are reluctant to respond to such “requests” from potential clients if they have already been deceived. For them, this means sacrificing time that they could use on another, paid assignment.

When is it worth spending time preparing a copywriting sample text?

A copywriting sample text can be an argument that will convince a potential client to use your services, so you should not give it up. Take care of the following issues and you may be able to protect yourself against unfair bets:

  • Check the credibility of the client.
  • Never arrange several test texts.
  • Protect the text against publication – e.g. by adding a note that this text is intended to verify skills and is not intended for publication.
  • Agree with the client on at least a symbolic fee for the test text, and include the details in the contract.
  • Convert text into graphics – you can take a screenshot of the finished text and this will make it more difficult for someone who wants to use the text without your consent.
  • Suggest the topic of the sample yourself or choose a related topic.

Sample texts and portfolio

In the copywriting profession, your portfolio reflects your skills. Highlight what you are best at, something you specialize in and what you feel really good at. Show your best side. Then there is a chance that the client will not require the preparation of a test text and will only need to read your other works.

However, if you do not have your own portfolio or it is very limited, you can agree to send a sample. You gain a chance for lucrative gig, and fraud is relatively rare.

Consent to publication

You may be dealing with yet another situation when you voluntarily agree to publish the sent content without even knowing it. Sometimes potential clients guarantee this opportunity by asking you to sign a document in which you authorize the granting of a license free of charge. This is legal, so you should be aware of it (and read the contracts carefully!).

Reasons for rejecting the sample text

Once you decide to send a client a sample of your skills, it’s important to do it properly. The most common reasons for rejecting a text are:

  • gross linguistic, spelling and punctuation errors that effectively discourage a potential customer;
  • copied content;
  • too little writing skills and lack of lightness of expression;
  • too high financial expectations (if they were not specified at the beginning);
  • lack of knowledge about SEO principles;
  • difficult communication with the copywriter;
  • failure to meet the sample deadline.

If the client does not want to cooperate with you after writing the sample, you can always use this text to build your portfolio.

Summary

  • A sample text can be an argument that will convince a potential client to use a copywriter’s services.
  • Through a sample text, the client assesses the copywriter’s writing skills, light pen, creativity, reliability, but also punctuality and communication.
  • Writing a trial text is associated with a certain risk – spending time on its preparation does not always result in landing the gig.

Lordson Okpetu

I'm many things rolled into one; I'm an ex-journalist, a content strategist, digital marketer and 'rockstar' direct response copywriter. I've written tons of copies to sell thousands of products and services across diverse industries in Nigeria. In my occasional spare time, I play chess or spend time with my family. I am the Chief Operating Officer of Content Writer, Nigeria.

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