Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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What to do when you disagree with a paying client’s changes?

When I’m not helping companies flex their web muscle, I enjoy writing. I got my start as a independent blogger here on Smooth Harold. From there I started a few other blogs which later secured professional gigs on larger blogs and traditional websites/magazines. But I’ve been spoiled as a blogger as I’ve never had to deal with editorial overrides until recently. In case you didn’t know, bloggers ARE the editors for virtually every online publication. We decide the headline, angle, tone, image, and word use. It’s rather liberating. :)

I wrote my first “non-blog” article late last year. The editor kept my headline and whatnot, only changing a few words here and there. The changes were very minor and even added some clarity, so I didn’t mind. A few articles later, a different editor at another publication restructured a few sentences of mine after I sent in my final draft. Though I disagreed on a few of his changes, for the most part, I was fine with them. Especially his copy edits to the headline which were better than my original. So it was all good.

Today, however, I sent in an article that was getting published in a few hours. I really liked my tone, word selection, and to an extent, my okay-headline. Shortly after, my editor (read: boss) sent back a radically and controversially angled version. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, and to make matters worse, I disagreed with the new-found premise. His headline was sure to foster more link-bait, but at the expense of what I thought was “a stretch” of a story. I sent back my differing thoughts to which a compromise was made. I then updated my story under his direction adding additional clarification to his edit, and the article went live.

After reading the my piece in published form, I went back and decided that I liked my original piece better with its accompanying angle and tone. In hindsight, I think it would have been better received. The take-away of all this? It’s nice to have your cake and eat it too as an experienced craftsman. Any Smooth Harold readers out there ever experienced the same? I suppose I should have seen this coming, as paying clients always have the last word, despite your creative opinion.