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The Importance of Web Copy Writing Contracts

18 May

Do you use contracts for your writing projects? If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last five years as a professional web copy writer, it’s to always get it in writing. I learned this early on in my career when a client hired me to do some ghostwriting of a book chapter and then failed to pay me for about 15 hours worth of writing and research work. Although I later tracked this unscrupulous person down and reported him to the freelance website he was using to find writers, and finally got payment, this was an eye-opening experience for me as a writer. From that point on, I started getting everything in writing with clients.

Sure, in some cases an email can be recognized as a legal agreement between two parties, but oftentimes it’s not enough. A contract states clearly in black and white what is expected from each party. Additionally, it spells out in certain terms what work is to be performed, at what rate and when it will be completed. A contract is a legal document that gives both sides the chance to resolve and make claims for what is expected from the start. Without a contract, you are taking chances with your time, business and reputation as a freelance writer.

If you need guidance on what should be included in a freelance writing contract, here are some pointers:

1. Information for both parties should be included at the top of the contract. Get the actual name of the business, the responsible person’s name, the full address and contact information.

2. Provide a breakdown of the work to be performed. Be clear and to the point. Remember you can always modify this agreement if you choose to do more work for the client in the future.

3. Give a clear price list or hourly rate for your work. Do NOT offer discounts in the contract – those can be negotiated later via email or phone. Set clear payment terms as to any fees due upfront and when the final payment is due. Also state what will happen if the client fails to pay you on time.

4. Provide a disclaimer for your work that it does not guarantee any specific results or goals for the client. How the client uses your work after you submit it is up to them.

5. Request that you are granted the ability to include a link to any content published online in your personal portfolio. This gives you a chance to show examples of your work to future clients.

6. Get the contract signed and dated BEFORE starting any work for a web copy writing client. Failure to do this works against your efforts and can lead to trouble. If a client is reluctant to sign it, then run away quick as this can be a bad sign they are not sincere.

Here are some more helpful guides and resources to help you write a contract for writing clients, which you may find useful.

HTML Writer’s Guild Contract Guidelines and Templates

Sample Freelance Writing Contract

Simple Freelance Writing Contract

So, do you already use writing contracts? Why or why not? Please feel free to leave your comments below!

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