The relationship between writers and their clients can be complicated. Some writers claim they write just for the sheer joy of it, to express their inner soul, and don’t care if they ever make a dime at it. That’s great for them, but working writers are trying to make a living, such as it is, and that means they need clients, and the clients need the writers. It’s the definition of symbiosis.
The Good Clients, The Bad, and The Ugly
Usually this relationship works well enough. Most clients are nice people who are normally easy and pleasant to work with. They have a good idea of what they need, and communicate those needs in an understandable and concise manner. They are reasonable and rational. These are the clients every writer hopes for.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as smoothly as one might hope. If you’re looking for a few ways to drive your freelancers crazy for grins and giggles, here’s a list to get you started. Of course, if you want to keep your team of content writers content, you can do the opposite of these suggestions!
Best Methods For Tormenting Writers
For those clients who enjoy breaking bad and want to sharpen their skills, here are some effective industry insider tips. Good clients can read it as a quick primer on the wrong way to work with their writers. For the more experienced diabolical ones it’s just a brief and handy refresher. But if you’re a good client who just wants to take a walk on the dark side, here’s how to drive your writer bonkers, just for the fun of it.
- Make sure your list of article instructions and requirements is at least as lengthy as the content you need written, even longer if possible. You should write in vague and impenetrable prose, and contradict yourself at least twice. The tone of your content brief should be condescending, dismissive, and a little bit threatening at all times.
- Add several attachments to your brief in some weird, obscure format that will have your writer spending hours trying to figure out how to open them. For even more fun, make sure when they finally do figure it out, they’ll be blank. Make sure one of your attachments is a list of condescending writing guidelines that will make your writer feel like their back in 5th grade English class.
- Set a ridiculous deadline, offering a big bonus for a fast turnaround. Then right before the deadline arrives, email them that you don’t need it right away after all, so no bonus of course. Then email them again late in the evening saying you’ve changed your mind, and if they can have it done within the hour, the bonus is on.
- Ask for revisions, lots of them, for the smallest of reasons, like adding a couple of words to a paragraph, or alternatively to rewrite whole sections or even the entire article, and your requests should be additions to or contradictions of your original instructions. This is a lot of fun, and can go on for a long time if done well. One of the surest ways to drive them nuts.
- Be almost impossible to contact, and when you do answer questions, make sure it’s right before the deadline ends. If you feel generous you can add a small amount of time to the deadline, but do it grudgingly and make it clear you consider it as all the writer’s fault.
- Don’t send payment until you feel that a lawsuit is imminent, then reluctantly send them a partial payment, and repeat the process. This can provide months of giggles.
These are just a few of the basics, but with a bit of imagination and creativity you should be able to come up with some really creative ways to make your writer’s job the hardest it can be. Remember that lack of communication, confusion, and contradiction are your best tools.
Bob P. is a former Web Search and Website Assessor for Lionbridge Technologies, contracting for Google, and was also a Social Media Networker for Slingshot SEO writing backlinks and web content for a wide variety of clients, and has experience with keyword oriented content writing for several other companies. He’s a former radio talk host/news anchor/producer, creating and hosting two original radio programs in the Indianapolis market, Radio for You and The Central Indiana Outdoorsman Show, and also served as co-host on one of the longest running jazz shows in the Midwest, Jazz Lives.