Every business professional has a system they follow to consistently deliver a quality result.
Here’s how I write…
Step by step through your project, in plain language
When you tell me what you need in general terms (such as: “I need a monthly newsletter with a main article of 500-600 words and several shorter tips” or “I need you to prepare 2 short emails per month with recent developments in our field and how we can help our clients handle them”) and you’re comfortable with the ballpark figure I give you, then…
Step 1: Planning.
I will send you my eNewsletter Planner which includes questions about your expertise and specialties, understanding your target audience, determining the recurring themes and messages, publication frequency, voice (formal or friendly or…?), who will write the first draft (you or me?), and a starting list of individual newsletter topics. Email delivery details and list management, too.
The Planner also includes my NDA. My non-disclosure promise to you.
Step 2: Agreement.
I will reflect your answers in the Project Agreement, which you electronically sign and return. It spells out what I will deliver and when, and the recurring appointments in your Newsletter Calendar.
Your copy of the Agreement will also confirm the pricing and payment terms.
Your monthly Newsletter Calendar is focused on the day your newsletter is emailed out to your subscribers. Rather than use numeric dates to specify that day (such as the 3rd which will sometimes fall on a weekend), we will use a day of the month (such as the second Wednesday of each month).
3 weeks before: Decide on the content, via phone/Skype. Then the writing starts.
2 weeks before: Final draft is completed.
1 week before: You get a formatted preview for any final tweaks.
On publication day, I also post the content to your site and to social media.
The cycle repeats itself each month.
And a minimum call on your time.
Step 3: I set up the publishing infrastructure
…as soon as your payment is received. Building the newsletter “machine” includes: mailing list vendor, layout, graphics creation, forms, welcome emails, and a lot of other details.
And then we start producing the first of your regular newsletters.
What is it like to work with you?
We are both business professionals, so I will be punctual and focused, and respect the fact that you are running your own business. You’ll find that I communicate clearly and seek to understand my clients and their customers.
When you give me an assignment, you can be conﬁdent I will deliver the results I promise. I show up everyday, I put my hand to the plow, and I work until the job is done.
Is that what you were hoping for?
When I order other content (not our regular newsletters), how long will it take you to write my copy?
The size of the project and the amount of research are the two big factors here. But we’ll work together to set deadlines based on your marketing needs and goals and my prior commitments.
Once the project begins, I work diligently to complete the drafts and revisions to meet our agreed deadlines.
By way of an example, I could most likely get the ﬁrst draft into your hands within 4-5 business days, although giving me more “rumination” time (sounds like a cow, doesn’t it?) will help produce better copy. Ideally I’d like 2-4 weeks to work on your copy. That gives me the time to research, polish, edit and revise until I’m satisfied.
However, I realize you can’t always wait. So if your timeline is shorter, just let me know. If we come to an agreement, I guarantee that you will have the copy by the deadline we agree on.
How do you handle research?
Research is a key ingredient in every copywriting project, which is why my research process is comprehensive. I want to understand you, your business and your customer.
So I start with a thorough review of your web site and any other material you send me. Next comes market research and that includes your competitors (because these days your readers are big on comparison shopping, right?).
Testimonials from your past clients are valuable so I may suggest you ask for them. Also I may ask you to feed me with more details and resources.
Because thorough research like this will equip me to understand the service or product you are providing. I also want to understand your customers — and especially the emotional drivers that underlie their purchase decisions.
As you know, people make the buying decision because of EMOTION, then they justify it with LOGIC and facts. We need to connect with them on both levels.
Time spent on research is never wasted. Buyers respond when excellent copywriting targets their core needs and positions your product as The Solution.
How do you handle the revision process?
In the ﬁrst draft, it is very important that three things are right: the tone of the piece, its message, and the offer we are making. We can ﬁne-tune the copy in the second draft if needed.
After you review my ﬁrst draft, you may want some of the text changed.
There are two ways to identify those passages to me:
1) The best way is to use one of the features of Google Docs. Either the commenting feature or the Edit Mode feature (I’ll turn it on before I send you the draft).
2) If you’d rather not use Google Docs, email is a good alternative. Simply copy and paste the exact text you want changed, and below it provide the replacement text or your guidelines so I can re-write it accordingly.
I will review your response and rework the copy to reﬂect your changes and get back to you with the revised version, normally within 2 business days (4 at the most, if your changes are more involved).
Your feedback is very important to me. After all, they are your customers and I’d like to honor your wishes as much as possible.
However, sometimes a client wants changes that I think will lessen the effectiveness of the copy and hurt their profits. When that happens, I like to be clear in my feedback because I want the best result for you. (Giving you the most effective copy is also in my best interest.)
When a client insists on changes that I believe will not work, I suggest a simple split test to see which version generates the best results from your site visitors.
After the ﬁrst round of edits, some additional ﬁne-tuning might still be needed. No problem. My goal is to see you DELIGHTED with the copy, and I’ll work diligently until we get there.
And the final approval process?
Once we’ve completed all the revisions, I’ll send you a ﬁnal draft. When you’re happy with it, I will ask you to confirm this by email. Receiving your confirmation will complete that unit of work.
How to get the best outcome as we work together?
First of all, let me say that nobody is going to get my B-grade effort. That’s because I am a bit of a perfectionist. I’ll even admit to being a tiny bit obsessive.
But you can help to ensure a pleasing result by being thorough when you fill in the eNewsletter Planner. Also, by responding promptly to any questions I may need to send you along the way.
Best way to contact you, Gary?
Email is my preferred contact method because it allows me to focus and work efficiently without interruption, crafting persuasive copy and informative content for my clients. Just what the doctor ordered, eh?
What about Skype? Yes, can do. Mine is usually turned off but I turn it on for appointments.
A few procedural details
- Single point of contact
In order to avoid confusion, I want to work with just one person at your end. This can be you or another member of your team. I will interact directly with that person and he or she will communicate with your other team members as needed to obtain information and approvals.
- The usual note about legal considerations
Although I make every effort to provide content that complies with the law, I’m not an attorney and cannot provide legal advice or counsel. It is your responsibility to decide whether to submit the content I write for review by your legal advisers.