How to be a content writer and still maintain your integrity.

Published: 18th November 2019

When we started By Jingo, we were quite clear about what we didn’t want to do, and that is to deploy smarmy, manipulative, hard-sell tactics, or to flog stuff to people who couldn’t afford it and had no use for it. This meant no writing brochures designed to prey on the infirm and the elderly, no spruiking scam-products or other unethical types of sales copy.

But what about writing for clients who you are ideologically opposed to, or just don’t gel with? The best thing you can do is politely refuse the job.

Why?

For the client’s sake.

Because you know if your heart isn’t in it, then it’s not going to be your best work. And that should be important to you no matter how many years you’ve been a content writer.

So, what are some ways of rejecting work without things getting awkward?

You actually use a really underutilised content writer trick called honesty.

You state why you have your scruples and send them on with a referral to another content writer who might not share the same framework as you do.

Or you say, “I don’t think I’m the right content writer for you” and refer them on to another copywriter. The last part is important but, be careful how many difficult clients you sling to your competitors, you might get a few in return for your efforts.

The number one thing is to do it early. You don’t want to find out later on, once the job has started, that you aren’t comfortable and need to break-up with your client. That’s when things can get messy!  

We’re yet to have someone get shirty when we have stated at the outset that we think another content writer would be a better fit for them. Because by doing so we are saying we care more about their copy than their money, and how often do you come across that in a content writer? But, seriously folks, this doesn’t happen very often. Philip Morris and other dubious large companies don’t usually go knocking on small copywriting firm’s doors. 

But if you do feel the need to assert your ideological difference with a client, remember it’s alright to say “no”, (even in the wake of cakegate) but it’s always best to do it politely and early, because in case you hadn’t realised, as a content writer in a small town like Perth, your reputation is your livelihood.