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Old 11-08-2012, 04:48 AM
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Question Do You Do "Test Posts"?

I am in talks with a site to do some work for them and they requested a test post to see my style of writing. I went ahead and sent one over but I was talking to my husband about it. Do you guys state when you send it anything special about it being your work etc and not to publish it without payment or your permission? He was of the mind set that it was one post and not that big of a deal. If I get the job then great, if I didn't it was only one post. I just wonder what you guys do when you are working with a new client and they request that. I know a lot of people have been burned and their work taken and published without being paid so I am just curious....Thanks
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:29 AM
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I'll do a custom sample if the job is really something I want. Sometimes, sadly, the person asking for a sample simply wants free content for their site, and they'll post online looking for writers as a means to get that content. They get 50 people to agree and end up with 50 free articles.

When I do custom samples, I'll send it with a note saying that to prevent them from taking the content illegally, I'm posting it to my blog immediately, and that if they like it enough, I can delete it from the blog after I've been paid for it.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:31 AM
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I wouldn't do that in the future. Do you have clips? Make sure you keep a copy of your sent email. If they take your post and use it without contacting you, send them a take down notice. Since there isn't a contract it's not theirs.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:35 AM
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I don't provide free samples. I think my portfolio is large enough that potential clients can determine my style and abilities from existing articles. I also think there are more than a few unscrupulous people out there who ask for free samples when they have no intention of actually hiring someone for the job. They are just fishing for free content.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:01 AM
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I usually don't do free samples, but I have been in situations where I and a couple other writers were supposed to create one or more (paid) test posts. It was sort of like a trial run with a new client to see whether s/he liked my style and if I liked writing for them.

Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. I've always gotten paid like I was supposed to. But I'm one of those rare ones that's never been burned by a client. And I just jinxed myself, didn't I...?
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:26 AM
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I do not do free samples or test posts. Now, I have seen some test post requests that pay for the post and those I will do. If they are asking for a free sample I have plenty on my site and a simple Google search of my name and byline will show an extensive amount including press releases and articles clearly showing my title with a current client. If those samples, my resume and the fact that my resume and samples can be backed up with a simple Google search do not cover enough of a sample of my writing ability, then that is not a company I want to work with.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:03 AM
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If you do provide a test post, does supplying that post as a jpg file help (as well as clearly indicating you own the copyright until content is paid for)? That seems to be what Constant Content does.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:32 AM
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For me, it depends. Since I do catalog copy most of the time, I don't mind writing a couple of descriptions as a trial run IF the client has a unique brand or they want something different from what I've done for other clients. For instance, I recently wrote for a wine and spirits retailer who wanted me to do three trial descriptions because she wanted something fresh, unique, and creative. I didn't have previous knowledge of wine, and I hadn't written in the exact style she wanted, so I did not mind doing the first few before being officially hired so she could see my abilities in handling HER products. She did hire me, and she paid on time.

If a client is looking for something pretty basic, I don't do free samples. My portfolio is more than enough in that case.

With longer articles, it would have to be a job I REALLY wanted for me to do a free sample.

Last edited by ErinHill226; 11-08-2012 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:54 AM
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If a company wants to pay for the content, then I will provide a test post. Otherwise, I have more than enough samples in my portfolio and online.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:08 AM
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There are reputable companies that ask for freshly created samples, and I understand them. Those who automatically refuse, can miss out on good jobs.

When I'm recruiting for a few sites, I'll look at website samples, and usually go by those, but there have been about six occasions where I've hired based on the samples and then the writer's first assignment has been horrible, completely useless. With one of my clients, they pay writers before editing as a sign of good faith. After payment's been sent, the number of writers who refuse to make changes is astounding. Samples on websites have usually been edited, so it really isn't a great way to judge quality. I've learned to avoid samples that link to DMS or Wisegeek sites. Instead, I look for personal blogs where editing is not likely to have been done by someone else.
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