Contact and Communications Policies
As we work together, it is important that we have easy, consistent communication. It is also important to dedicate time to writing and research, without interruption.
During our project, I specifically reserve 1 to 4 PM Eastern time weekdays for communication and collaboration — email, phone calls, Skype meetings, text messages, social media chat, etc.
If another schedule is needed, we can negotiate. Please understand that this schedule devotes the highest quality time I have to working directly on your project. Quality is vital.
Of course, I encourage you to email, leave voice or text messages at any other time, with the understanding that I will collect these and respond during the assigned times. Email is by far the best method.
Discussing the Project and Questionnaire
I will send you a Discovery Questionnaire via email. Or we can share it via Google Docs or other file sharing system. The Questionnaire will help define the scope of the project, so we can make the best use of our time when we discuss it.
Please return the completed Questionnaire as quickly as possible — for most clients this is between 1 and 3 business days.
Once I receive it, I will review and study your answers, also as quickly as possible — generally between 3 to 10 business days. I will conduct any preliminary research needed. I’ll build a short Project Overview, which will save you time and demonstrate my understanding of the project. This Overview will be the basis for our Launch Call.
The Launch Call is a 20-minute call that we schedule in advance to discuss the Project Overview. Together we’ll refine the Overview with any additional directions or insights you have on the project.
Investment and Getting Started
Following the Launch Call, I will draft and send you an Agreement. If your legal team has an Agreement, you can send that to me, and we may be able to use that instead. The Agreement will contain all the details on the project, what exactly I will deliver, deadlines, revision policy, amount and terms of investment. Note: I require a deposit of 50% of the project total to begin.
Once we both have signed the Agreement and the deposit is received, I will begin work on your copy as agreed.
Thorough knowledge of the product or service, as well as the target audience, is vital. I start with the information you send me, which may include customer profiles, user guides, marketing statistics, product samples, and interviews with your customer service and sales teams. I may even need to speak with department heads.
I will research the market, including your competitors, as well as your customers and prospects. All of this research will lead to a complete understanding of your product or service, your brand, your voice, and the particular emotional drivers that lead to a sale.
I am a huge fan of status updates. It helps establish confidence that the project is moving forward when those working on it stay in touch regularly. In most of my team endeavors, we practice twice-weekly status updates to keep everyone on the same page.
Clients’ preferences differ. Some like near-daily updates and some want to be left alone until time to review the next draft. So, I appreciate your letting me know how much communication you prefer while a project is underway. Please also let me know your preferred method of update, be it email, text, phone, etc.
I do require that you assign a single point of contact on your team to work with me, for the sake of clarity and efficiency for all of us. I will work directly with that person, and they can work with any of their team members necessary to obtain information or approvals.
If you are not already familiar with Google Docs, I strongly encourage you to get to know it. Not only do I do all of my writing in this word processing environment, but it lets us track changes, comment, and collaborate in real time. The shared document is always current. We don’t have to worry about emailing the wrong version or misplacing files.
There are other collaboration and file sharing platforms out there, and if there is one you just love, please let me know, and we’ll take a look together.
Review of First Drafts
Time to first draft varies according to project size and scope, but the average is 10-14 business days. Once you receive it, please review it. Have any appropriate team members review it as well.
In the first draft review, we are targeting tone, message, and offer. Please give any feedback to ensure that these are right. Fine tuning comes in subsequent drafts.
In reviewing the first draft, please note any changes you’d like via the comment feature in Google Docs. Or you could use the Edit Mode feature — I’ll turn that on when I share the draft.
I review all suggested changes within 24 hours of submission. Adjustments are made over the next 2-4 business days, depending on breadth and complexity of the suggested changes.
While I recognize that you know your customers best, and attempt to defer to you as much as possible, times do arise when clients make suggestions that I know will harm profits if implemented. You can count on me to be frank about these situations. When clients expect changes that I believe will harm them, I always recommend a simple A/B split test to impartially find the best answer. Let the market decide.
After the first set of changes, additional fine tuning may be needed. Your satisfaction is paramount. I will happily work with you until you are delighted with the copy.
Most clients find that one review after first draft is enough. When more are needed, generally there are just one or two more sessions. The fine tuning process does move quickly, so we can usually get to final copy within 1-3 business days.
Once revisions are complete, I will share a final draft with you. At this point, you approve the copy by sending me an email stating that everything is ready for distribution.
Once I receive this final approval from you, I will invoice you for the remaining 50% of the project investment. The invoice is due upon receipt. I will make every effort to be prompt in responding to your requests and assume that, as a professional, you will do the same with my invoices.
Frequently, final copy is sent to a designer for formatting specific to the intended media. Although this occurs after delivery and finalizing investment, I strongly urge you to send me a PDF of the final version. Because the effectiveness of my work is so important, I will check that any graphical elements added by your design team enhance the copy, making it more effective, rather than detracting from or neutralizing it.
If I do see a concern that could hurt your response rates, I’ll let you know frankly. And If requested, I am glad to work with your design team in making any changes needed, so that the end version is as effective as possible.
Occasionally, fast-moving situations can require a change to final copy not long after it is delivered. I can make a minor revision within the first 30 days of delivery if necessary. Outside the 30-day window, a new Agreement would be needed.
Transition to New Projects
Post-project, you receive a complementary follow-up consultation via phone. We will discuss what went well and where improvements can be made. We revisit the Discovery Questionnaire to discuss additional ways to uncover new profits. Where appropriate, we map out a new project, ensuring that you continue receiving excellent copy that grows your business.