As a copywriter, you come into contact with vast amounts of sensitive and confidential information from each client.
It's very important to treat this with the respect and privacy it deserves, or it may be a very short-lived career for you!
Let's delve into the ethics and responsibilities of copywriting and content creation, as a freelancer, and what to do when you have access to sensitive data.
As a freelance copywriter, we come into contact with vast amounts of sensitive and confidential information from each client- every organisation has it, and most likely, a writer will need to delve into it.
This is normal, as each client requires their copywriter to possess the entirety of knowledge necessary to effectively create content for them, so that the end result is as if it had originated from the organisation itself.
That's how it works!
If they don't provide a freelance copywriter with the 'whole picture' of information, then the resulting material that is created would probably not be very accurate and appear as if the organisation doesn't quite know itself.
So, if a client hires a copywriter to work on a specific campaign, certain information will need to be trusted upon the writer for the right use and reasons only. Usually, a business with ask you to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, but whether or not this happens, the best way to conduct yourself with any work is to assume that this agreement always applies regardless.
This is where the point lies.
Commercial freelance copywriting means that you are only as good as your reputation, and it takes several tasks, jobs and hard yards to find your legs in the corporate world to become successful and known... so make sure it's for the right reasons!
This article is a gentle reminder to all writers out there that are privy to sensitive information- discretion for each client is paramount! If you have details on a product launch coming up, and a competitor tries hires you, make sure you take appropriate steps depending on the situation, whether that means letting each client know, turning down the second job, or, keeping both items completely separate.
The you can know what the best option is at the given time, but the key is discretion and integrity. Keep these two values at the top of your mind when conducting business, and you will be better off for it.
Not only is this good business, but it builds a respect and level of trust with a client that is worth its weight in gold.
People talk- the industry talks.
If you're entrusted with sensitive or confidential information about a business to undertake a particular task, then keep it disclosed in all situations. Discretion is always a copywriter's best course of action.
Mentioning something in passing, or even changing the names and giving half-truths can blow up into a situation that a freelancer, not to mention the client, doesn't want. Even the slightest reputation of being an information leak will end up spreading around and then you can sit and watch as your job offers drop off the face of the Earth.
Do yourself, your clients, and the reputation of our industry a favour, and keep all their details to yourself, even after the job is done. Don't succumb to the human temptation of mentioning sensitive details to other clients, especially through your writing.
This also includes pitching for work and creating a portfolio: make sure that all items you display are suitable for the public domain, and do not display important trade-secrets, even if the new client is in a completely different field: people talk- the industry talks.
Keep this quick tip in your mind as you write your materials, and you will thank yourself for reading this. In the words of Billy Connolly, "Times May Change, but Standards must remain" and in this situation, there is no exception.
Businesses are serious business, and clients expect no less from their trusted copywriters- so it is important that this is upheld in all we do.
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