Each week, I collaborate with marketing agencies, in-house marketing professionals and businesses that need help from a freelance writer to meet their content creation goals.
Most of these partnerships get an A+.
But, sometimes an email from a new prospect triggers red flags for me, and I ultimately decline to work on their project — even if the topic and content needs are in my wheelhouse.
But, why? Let me share.
Disclosure: This blog is reader-supported, which means this post contains affiliate links and advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you amazing content. Thank you! ~Angela
Why I Said No to Your Freelance Writing Project
Not all marketing clients are ready to bring a freelance writer on board, and we can sniff them out a mile away. If any of these things happen during our first interaction or two I’ll likely step away from the offer.
1. You Don’t Have a Content Plan
Don’t reach out to a writer until you have a clear roadmap of what you need and expect from them. A content plan includes a content strategy and how the freelance writer will fit into your workflow.
In our first few conversations, I’ll ask how many pieces of content you need per month, how the deadlines are staggered, what the revisions process looks like and how we will collaborate (shared cloud documents, via a platform, etc.) Be ready to answer these basic questions.
Learn more about content plans in this in-depth article I wrote for ClearVoice’s blog.
2. You Don’t Have a Budget
Freelance writers don’t work for free, so be ready to discuss fees, payment style (per word, per hour, per project) and payment methods. If you’re not sure of your budget, or how payments are processed for your freelance partners, figure those things out before you start a conversation with a contract worker.
I am much more likely to accept a writing project if the person contacting me offers budget information upfront. I can then quickly tell them if we’re in alignment, or not. I don’t want to waste my time learning about your project only to discover your budget is half my usual fee.
Freelancers: Learn more about calculating fees in, “Freelance Writer Rates: How Much Should I Charge?”
3. You Don’t Have An Assignment Summary
Whether you call it a brief, assignment summary, assignment details or simply the project information, I’ll want to see that before accepting the project. You can’t expect someone to sign on the line and agree to do something that they haven’t seen the parameters for, can you?
Please provide a detailed assignment summary that includes core details such as type of content (blog post, landing page, e-book, social media posts, etc.), word count range, type of sourcing (links from the web or original interviews), and what extras will be needed, such as recommending stock imagery, writing social media promotional copy or providing a summary of the article as a teaser for a newsletter.
4. You Ghost Me, Then Come Back
This one makes me laugh, because it’s happened. Please don’t start a conversation with me, explain how we can work together, then not reply to my emails for months. Life happens. I’m a pretty understanding person if you tell me you need to hit the pause button to manage a personal situation at home or something big happening in the office.
I expect professional communication, and that means letting me know where you’re at with things. If you ghost me for months, then pop back into my inbox like nothing happened, you’ve shown me that you’re a poor communicator and I don’t want to work with you.
5. We Aren’t a Good Pairing
Sometimes I’m simply not going to be the best person for your project, and I’ll tell you that. This might be based on the timeline of the project, the budget, the topic being researched or how the workflow is managed.
Last week someone reached out to me to write in-depth political analysis pieces. Could I do it? Sure. That’s my journalism background showing. But, I’m not a political writer and don’t enjoy drafting those pieces, so I declined the project.
As a freelance writer, I have the freedom to choose which projects I accept.
Are there other reasons you decline collaborations? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
Do you need a reliable writer on your team? I collaborate with marketing and advertising agencies to create content for blog posts, web pages, social media and newsletters. Learn how I can help your clients HERE.