Lots of writers take on both copywriting assignments and magazine articles. And a pressing question they have is whether it’s okay for them to do copywriting for an article source. In other words, if you interview Jane Smith for an article and she asks you to write some web copy for her…can you do it without breaking some ethical code or getting in trouble with your editor?
Using a client as a source is considered a conflict of interest. However, my advice is, if you ever have a question, is to simply ask your editor.
So here’s how I handled this recently.
I e-mailed my trade magazine editor:
I had a great interview with Jeff Jones of MoneyManagers today!
Jeff had taken a look at my website and let me know he’d be interested in having me write some client success stories for him. I told him that I would need to talk to you because there’s a potential conflict of interest if I write about him for Magazine and then have him as a client as well.
How do you and Big Editor Boss feel about that? I’d love to write for MoneyManagers, but I definitely don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with Magazine, which is one of my favorite magazines to write for! So let me know, and I totally understand if you’d rather not have one of your writers writing for a source.
Thanks so much,
Here’s the response I got:
Thanks for getting in touch about this. No issue whatsoever with you freelancing for Magazine and MoneyManagers. The one caveat is that we want the content you provide us to be exclusive—in other words, we don’t want to see the same content in Magazine also on the MoneyManagers website or on a brochure. If the content is separate and different, I’m fine with it.
Success! I asked politely and was open to — and prepared for — my editor to say no. And I was pleasantly surprised when he gave me the okay.
So: Don’t be afraid to ask your editor if you’re approached by a source who wants you to write for them.
How about you? Have you ever done copywriting for a source? Did you ask your editor for her okay? How did it work out?
Note: My next Write for Magazines 8-week e-course starts on April 9, and the Basic version is Pay What You Want (minimum $30) — a huge discount from my original $120 price tag! One of my most recent students just landed an assignment from Grit. Check out the e-course page for more testimonials and success stories. [lf]