Copywriters and Deadline: How to Deliver On Time Every Time…

Photo by Marlon Maya on Unsplash

Which copywriter’s attribute trumps the other; talent, ability or writing to deadline? Of course, there is need for talent and ability but if you can’t trust a copywriter to deliver a job on time, obviously talent counts for nothing. Time is a limited commodity and missed deadline is every client’s nightmare.

Have you ever thought about what it’ll feel like as a copywriter not to be constrained by time? Let me guess; it will feel like heaven. But because time rules the affairs of men and of course women too, we’re always playing catch up with time.

Deadline is one-way time strikes fear into the hearts and minds of copywriters and any one for that matter that is engaged in a project. And it’s for a good reason.

Whether you’re a freelancer or on full employment, failure to meet deadline  not only adds costs to business, it leaves reputation in tatters. But with good planning, copywriters can write to deadline and avoid spiraling costs for their clients or employers.

This article covers:

• why deadline is a big deal for businesses
• why copywriters may not meet deadlines
• how copywriters can write to deadline

Deadline is a Big Deal for Businesses

Business is a collaborative venture and its affairs are ruled by time. Businesses and their agents including copywriters strive to be in her good book. To do otherwise will seem like sounding a death knell. FedEx captures the essence of time with its tagline ‘the world on time’. And if you need further reminding, look at the events unfolding in British car industry.

The motor industry in UK is booming. Jaguar Land Rover is a testament to this glorious story. It has 5 facilities for R&D, Manufacturing and Vehicle in UK.

Thanks to ease of collaboration with its different facilities scattered around Europe. It’s so easy to move parts around from different locations in Europe saving precious time for business to run smoothly.
But Brexit has thrown a spanner on the wheel of ease of productivity. With Britain leaving Europe and the single market, movement of materials and staff take longer at the border. Time is therefore placing constraint on the ease of doing business for Jaguar Land Rover in UK.

They have just announced 1000 job cuts in West Midland.
Although Jaguar Land Rover have no control over Brexit, but it shows how loss of time can affect business operations with devastating consequences.

Unlike Jaguar Land Rover, copywriters have control over time to meet deadline. To put it into perspective, failure to meet deadline is like coming late to a job interview. It limits job opportunity significantly.

Why Copywriters Miss Deadline

There are 3 major reasons why copywriters miss deadline leading to extended project time;
• Lack of clarity
• Increased workload
• Procrastination

Lack of Clarity
Missed deadline may be because of failures on the part of the client or a copywriter. In a candid interview with advertising freelancer by digiday early in the month, lack of clarity is identified as a major contributor to extended project time.
Here is how he put it when asked; do you find that there is often a lack of communication?

Yes. Agencies are a little better. They are more used to dealing with onboarding freelancers. With brands, there is an overall lack of clarity, and more back and forth. I think brands can get so caught up in the way they do things internally that they forget that someone who is coming in from the outside doesn’t have all the knowledge of their process right off the bat.

Sometimes I also get the sense that a brand really doesn’t know how to accomplish what they need, which can be difficult because being able to find the heart of the problem quickly is crucial for a freelancer’’

When asked to give an example, he continued…

‘’I’ve been brought on to a couple projects where what was talked about in the initial meeting was not what they ended up needing. For instance: adding some front-end development work to what was supposed to only be a quick user interface project. It was a combination of the client not knowing what they needed and not knowing how to articulate what they thought they needed’’.

Increased Workload

One reason that most people that embraced freelancing and nomadic work life style always gives is freedom from bosses. In the face of meeting deadline this freedom sounds hollow. There is really no freedom if one is going to work to make a living.

When you escape from your boss looking over your shoulder and receiving odd telephone calls, you’re confronted with increased workload that is common among freelancers.
Freelancers end up doing a lot of things outside of the main project at hand. Looking for new clients, responding to enquiries, self-promotion on social media, and billing can all take up a lot of time. And one can easily be overwhelmed by this increased workload


If you have never procrastinated before, please raise your hand. Procrastination challenges everyone of us at one point or another. And is the usual suspect for missed deadline on the part of a copywriter. But if as a freelance copywriter, you have elevated it that you become a bottle neck that costs the entire production chain, it’s time to turn the page.

Planning and Good Time Management

Ability to write to deadline is a major trait that a business owner looks out for while hiring a copywriter. The reason of course is obvious; missed deadline adds costs to business. To get job regularly, delivering quality job on time should be a priority for every copywriter.

The following 3 points should help slay the dragon of missed deadline and open more opportunities for future jobs for a copywriter:

Planned brief taking

Being able to find the heart of the problem quickly is crucial for writing to deadline. Work on the brief. Be clear that your client knows what he/she wants and how and when it is wanted.
The ideal situation should be to get involved early in the planning process.

But where it is not physically possible, send a detailed project over view form and follow up with clarifications.
Don’t make assumptions. Start only when both parties have agreed on what the problem is and of course what the expected solution should be. Agree on the number of rewrites and feedback before final delivery.

Proper time management

Back on your desk with a clear brief, it’s time to confront the task at hand. But you need a clear plan of travel from A to B (problem to solution) and the obstacles in between.

Break the task into segments and do further research if you need to. Write you initial draft and continue to refine.
As you must have known, being a freelance copywriter, there’s is a lot of extraneous work that you must do that you aren’t hired for, so managing your time well is key to meeting deadline.
Dedicate more time to the task at hand and reschedule appointments for future clients.

Spell out clearly and communicate your terms of service to clients including time for responding to emails. Know your limit and avoid briefs with tight deadline in between.
Make a schedule for attending to your social media and emails. Communicate your progress to client and take on board the feedback. Leave enough time to edit your copy.

Kill procrastination

Do a bit every day instead of leaving everything till the last hour. The more time you dedicate to your work, the better result you get. Even expert copywriters know that.

Copy written in a hurry to meet deadline always disappoints. It leaves holes large enough for your reader to fall through without getting to her destination. An hour lost at the bottle neck is an hour lost for the entire system. (Eliyahu M. Goldratt) You don’t want to be the bottle neck to your client; kill procrastination and come out with an enchanting copy you are capable of writing.

Missed deadline costs money. Get a pro for a copywriting task delivered on time, use this form to hire a copywriter.

Thanks for stopping bye. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. As always, comments and feedback are welcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *