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We copywriters are generally a friendly bunch. Well us Australian Copywriters are anyway, those English ones are a grumpy lot.*

But there are ways to make our blood boil.
There are buttons you can press.
And there are plenty of utterances that make us utterly crazy.

So, if you want to keep your working relationship sweet, here are 17 sentences you should never say to your copywriter.


Number 1: “We have sent the first draft to the facility directors and the board members for a look.”

Why: Because feedback by committee sucks.


Number 2: “I thought I’d let you know I’ve resigned and my replacement doesn’t start for two weeks.”

Why: Because we all know that replacement is going to change everything, just because they can.


Number 3: Ah sorry, I forgot to tell you. We’ve changed direction since we filled out your brief.”

Why: Because we know a change in brief most often means a change in scope but the client won’t see it that way. Sigh.


Number 4: “I’ve sent it to my wife/husband to check over, she/he’s in marketing.”

Why: Because the wife/husband will say something, just to say something. And you can’t criticise her/his opinions, because, well, they’re married.


Number 5: “I have a bank of articles that I purchased/copied and they just need tweaking so they’re original.”

Why: Because a) stealing other people’s work is evil and b) we’re not word shufflers we’re writers. Right?


Number 6: “Can you make it ‘pop’ a little more?

Why: Pop? What does pop even mean? I’d like to give every client who says this a pop in the eyeball.

TOP TIP: Send back with random use of bolding, ALL CAPS and a few !!!!s always seems to do the trick.


Number 7: “I don’t like it. I can’t explain why, but I just don’t like it.”

Why: Well if you can’t articulate what and why you don’t like it, how are we supposed to get it out of you?  By osmosis? Are we mind readers? No we are not.


Number 8: “Can’t you just take <competitor’s> site and copy their content into mine and move things around a bit?”

Why: Because that’s what we do anyway. Nah just jokes. Because that’s STEALING!


Number 9: “How about I just pay you commission on any sales I get from this newsletter/DM/landing page/article/blog?”

Why: How about I stick my keyboard up your bum hole?


Number 10: “(After you provide a quote). I think that’s a bit much. Don’t you agree?”

Why: Erm, if I though it was a bit much I wouldn’t have sent it. How about you get yourself over to Fiverr?


Number 11: “It’s only 200 words. What, half an hour’s work? And cost me maybe $50?”

Why: Think about it. Nike’s “Just do it.” slogan is just three words. How much do you reckon they paid for that? Shorter copy is often harder to write than long copy.


Number 12: 

Client: “I’m having trouble making these products sound different.”

You: “OK, tell me how they differ.”

Client. “They don’t. I just want people to think they are.”

Why: I. Can’t. Even.


Number 13: “I’m sorry there are a lot of changes. I thought it would be easier if I marked them up by hand. Here’s the PDF. Sorry my handwriting is so appalling.”

Why: Bangs head on desk.


Number 14: “I know it’s the final draft, but I’ve just flicked it to Legal.”

Why: Because Legal always hate EVERYTHING.


Number 15: “At this point we can’t offer any money, but it’s great exposure.”

Why: Okay great, I’ll just pay my mortgage with these amazing exposure dollars.


Number 16: “It needs some work, I haven’t got time to fill you in now, but I’ll call you.”

Why: Because now we’re left hanging and thinking the worst.


Number 17: “I’ll know it, when I see it.”

Why: Just as PITA** clients know ‘great copy’ when they see it. So, we copywriters know PITA clients when we see them.


This is the final version #copywriter #copywriting #copywriters

A photo posted by Kate Toon (@katetoon) on


Other contenders:

  • “I don’t do the track changes thing.”
  • “I’ve just texted you some amends.”
  • “I read this article/book on copywriting once and it say that…”
  • “Can you make it chatty but not conversational.”


Over to you

What’s your most hated client saying? Please add to the comments below.

Contributions to this post may or may not have been provided by Anne Maybus, Bek Lambert, Anna Butler, Sarah Spence, Charlotte Calder, Belinda Weaver, Nicole Leedham, Matthew Fenwick, Sally Bagshaw, Brook McCarthy, Kylie Saunder and Lisa Cropman.

P.S. Special thanks to Nicole Leedham for the inspiration for this post.

  • I’m English so am allowed to say this :-)