WRITING SYSTEM & PROCEDURES
FOR COPYWRITING AND CONTENT MARKETING…
CONTACT AND COMMUNICATIONS
I am available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. CST/CDT. I am easily reached by phone or email. By far, the best way to reach me is by email.
I try to respond to emails and missed phone calls within about 4 business hours. If you contact me late in the day, I will try to respond the next morning.
During busy and urgent times, I also am available by phone on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. CST/CDT. I ask that you request a weekend call by close of business on Friday only when necessary and I am working on a project of yours over the weekend.
DISCUSSING THE PROJECT AND SETTING A COURSE OF ACTION
I will schedule a phone conference to discuss your marketing objectives and what you think you need to accomplish those. I will ask questions, take notes, and request other information as necessary. Typically, this initial phone call will last 15-30 minutes.
After our initial phone conference, I will review my notes and whatever materials you may have sent. If I requested other information from you, I will postpone this review until after I have received that information. I will make note of any follow-up questions that I might have. I also will conduct preliminary, online research as needed. Afterwards, I will outline a course of action.
I will then schedule a second phone conference with you. I will ask any follow-up questions that I might have. During this call, I will convey my understanding of your marketing objectives. I will then walk you through my proposal, and we will discuss project scope. I will listen to any additional insights that you have on the project, as well as any specific directions.
After our follow-up phone conference, I will draft and send a written Proposal to you for your review and acceptance. If your legal team has an agreement, we can use that.
The Proposal will include a project quote and a clear indication of what is included. Depending on the nature of the work, the Proposal may include bundled or tiered quotes.
The quote covers time spent discussing the project with you by phone, reviewing materials received by email, postal mail, and fax, conducting online research, and writing. Where appropriate, the quote also covers time spent traveling and participating in face-to-face meetings and/or on-site visits.
The Proposal will include milestones and deadlines as discussed and agreed. Terms of payment will be explained.
Fees are payable 50% with return of the signed Proposal and 50% upon delivery of the final draft. Fees for copy critique are payable in full, in advance, as are fees that total $500 or less. Wire transfer or overnight payment is accepted. After we both have signed the Proposal and I have received the initial payment, I will begin work.
My process of conducting research is very comprehensive. I will review my notes from our phone conferences, any materials that you have sent, and your website. I will research the market, including your competitors. Depending on the nature of the project, I may ask to speak with members of your customer service team, past clients/customers, and different department heads. I will reach out to you, as needed, for further information, product samples, and other resources.
You can be confident that I will quickly understand your product. You can be assured that I will identify and write in your company’s voice, and that I will identify and understand what drives your customers to purchase.
As we work on a project together, communication is critical. It’s important that I know your preferences. Some clients are very busy and prefer that I handle the project independently; they prefer to provide little to no input until it is time for them to review a first draft. Other clients prefer to be much more involved at every step.
A good time to let me know your preference is after the Proposal has been signed, and I am ready to begin work. I will prompt you with an email, inviting you to let me know when and how (e.g., email, phone, text) you would like to hear from me.
At that time, it is also important that you designate a single point of contact on your team. I will communicate directly with that person, and request that (s)he follow-up with other members of your team as necessary to obtain information that I might request as well as compile comments and obtain approvals of drafts.
REVIEW OF FIRST DRAFT
When you can expect the first draft will be set forth in the Proposal as a milestone. The timeline will depend largely on the project size and scope. It also will depend on whether or not you prefer to see an outline before the first draft, and whether there is any urgency to completion of the project.
When you do receive the first draft, please review it carefully. Please also ensure that any members of your team, who also need to review the draft, do so at the same time.
For purposes of efficiency, the point of contact for your team should compile comments and address any disagreements about revisions prior to sending comments to me. The most important thing at this stage is to make sure that the tone, the message, and the offer or call-to-action are correct; the language will be fine-tuned in a later draft, as necessary.
It is also important at this stage to try to keep the project on track with meeting other milestones and the deadline for final draft. If there is delay on your end in meeting a set milestone for reviewing and providing comments, it is unlikely that I will be able to meet the next milestone on my end.
Two rounds of revisions are included. Unless otherwise indicated (e.g., rush projects), requests for revision must be received within 10 business days of my delivery of the draft to you. Such requests must be within the scope and consistent with the objective of the project.
Minor revisions will be made as quickly as possible, generally within 1-2 business days. More extensive revisions may, and likely will, take longer.
In all cases, I recognize that I am writing for your customers and will defer to you as much as possible. If I have concerns about a requested revision, I will voice my concern. If it is possible to do a simple A/B split test in such a situation, I will recommend doing so; otherwise, I will accept your decision as the final call.
Generally speaking, I expect that there will be a second review. I want you to be happy with the final result, and will gladly work with you on any additional fine-tuning. It’s my experience that revisions tend to decrease in number and complexity on subsequent rounds, and satisfactory results usually are achieved on the second round of review.
Once all revisions are done, I will submit the final draft to you. At that time, I will invoice you for the remaining half of the project quote. Payment of the invoice is due upon receipt. I will make every effort to be prompt in responding to your requests while we are working on the project together and assume that you will extend me the same professional courtesy when making payment on my invoice.
In most cases, you will send the final copy or content to a designer for formatting. I strongly encourage you to send me a PDF of the final version. I will want to review the formatted version to ensure that any graphical elements added by your design team enhance the copy and make it more effective. If I see anything that detracts from the writing, I will want to bring it to your attention. I’m always happy to work with design teams to make any changes that are necessary to make the end version as effective as possible.
TRANSITION TO NEW PROJECTS
Once the project is done, I provide a complimentary follow-up consultation.
We spend a few minutes on the phone and discuss what went well and where improvements can be made. We can use this time to discuss other marketing objectives, and how I can help you meet those.