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Content Creation Client Control

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Here's my step-by-step project management process, from point of client contact and interest to final content creation and delivery.

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Content Creation Client Control

  1. 1. CONTENT CREATION CLIENT CONTROL AE SMITH WRITING
  2. 2. AE SMITH WRITING ABOUT ME ▸ Community-minded content developer who specializes in working with small-to- medium-sized businesses and non-profits to tell their stories in a way that makes readers want to engage ▸ 10 years of professional writing experience ▸ Services: Content writing for websites, blogs, social media and marketing materials
  3. 3. AE SMITH WRITING WHAT WE’LL COVER ▸ Best practices to manage the challenges of being a creative and effective professional in an ever-evolving digital and business space ▸ How I find clients and guide them through the process of working together (Discovery meeting, proposals, agreements, research, creation) ▸ Project management basics
  4. 4. AE SMITH WRITING HUNTING FOR UNICORNS (OR FINDING CLIENTS)
  5. 5. AE SMITH WRITING HUNTING FOR UNICORNS (OR FINDING CLIENTS) ▸ Who’s your ideal client? ▸ Where to look:
 - Referrals/Testimonials (Past and current clients, colleagues)
 - Networking (Online: Facebook groups, LinkedIn, etc. Offline: BA5s, local business groups, meet-ups) ▸ Online job ads (Craigslist, industry specific sites, remote worker sites inc. remote.co, workfrom and others) ▸ Freelancers: Join a coworking space. Find me at Cowork Niagara
  6. 6. AE SMITH WRITING DISCOVERY MEETING PREP: RECON TIME (OR DOING YOUR HOMEWORK) ▸ What’s your client currently doing in their industry? (types of work) ▸ What content are they producing, and at what quality? ▸ How do they brand themselves online?
  7. 7. AE SMITH WRITING DISCOVERY MEETING ▸ “First date” to find out if you and your client click (it’s a two-way street) ▸ Do what works for you - meet online or in person ▸ Ask questions to establish project framework, timeline and budget ▸ Be curious. Listen more than you talk. Why are they in business?
  8. 8. AE SMITH WRITING DISCOVERY MEETING ▸ How can you offer value? ▸ Take notes ▸ Never estimate prices in a discovery meeting. You’ll send a proposal
  9. 9. AE SMITH WRITING CREATING A PROPOSAL ▸ Proposal templates make you more productive and efficient (therefore more profitable) ▸ Proposals are essential in setting the tone of your project and include important details (scope, timeline, budget, tech requirements) of how you’ll work together ▸ Client may propose changes. Negotiate ▸ Submitting a proposal doesn’t mean you’ll always get the job
  10. 10. AE SMITH WRITING DRAFT AN AGREEMENT ▸ Agreements or Contracts are documents you and your client sign *before* you start any work on their project. They lay the foundation. ▸ They hold you and your client to commitments ▸ If there are questions about deadlines, payment structure, etc. these will save you and perhaps preserve a relationship
  11. 11. AE SMITH WRITING DEEP RESEARCH ▸ In my case: Review existing website, marketing materials with a critical eye ▸ Who are their clients? Talk to them, read testimonials ▸ Who’s their competition, and what are they doing? ▸ Interview clients. This is where I discover their story and how we can tell it so their audience will engage and take action
  12. 12. AE SMITH WRITING FAVOURITE TOOLS: CONTENT CREATION AND COLLABORATION ▸ Google Drive/Docs ▸ Dropbox ▸ Evernote or Microsoft OneNote ▸ MindNode (or other mind mapping software) ▸ Trello
  13. 13. AE SMITH WRITING CONTENT CREATION ▸ Where the magic happens: all of my research and prep come together ▸ Work where you’ll feel creative, confident, focused and productive ▸ Communication, realistic deadlines and first drafts are critical. They determine the success of your project, and even whether it can be saved if it goes off the rails
  14. 14. AE SMITH WRITING SUBMIT DRAFT, HOLD BREATH
  15. 15. AE SMITH WRITING SUBMIT DRAFT, HOLD BREATH ▸ Submit first draft of content to client (usually in a Google doc) ▸ They review and love it (hopefully). If not: back to drawing board ▸ Feedback: It feels personal, but it’s not. Stay calm, seek to understand, take notes ▸ They make comments and request revisions - could be major (tone, voice, length) or minor (change some words)
  16. 16. AE SMITH WRITING REVISION PROCESS ▸ Review notes. What was on target? What was missed? What revisions did they request? ▸ Integrate comments and requested revisions ▸ Send back to client for review ▸ This time they love it
  17. 17. AE SMITH WRITING PROJECT WRAP-UP ▸ Post-mortem with client: Project analysis, how did you two work together? ▸ What was great? How can you streamline/improve communication, project management, workflow, etc.? ▸ Keeping existing clients is less expensive than finding new ones. Build relationships, keep in touch ▸ Thank them, send wrap-up email, draft testimonial for their approval ▸ Invoice!
  18. 18. AE SMITH WRITING FAVOURITE TOOLS: COMMUNICATION, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, TIME TRACKING ▸ Asana ▸ FreshBooks ▸ Google Hangouts ▸ RescueTime ▸ Toggl
  19. 19. AE SMITH WRITING INTERNAL PROJECT REVIEW ▸ Take a deep dive ▸ Review this project and what you learned from your end ▸ What did you do well? Not so well? How can you streamline and improve? ▸ What actions will you take next time with this client or others?
  20. 20. AE SMITH WRITING RESOURCES ▸ Cowork Niagara (also join our Facebook group) ▸ Freelance Foundations podcast ▸ The Freelancer’s Bible by Sara Horowitz ▸ Freelance to Freedom blog ▸ Freelancers Union ▸ Hamilton Freelancer Meetup
  21. 21. TEXT WHERE TO FIND ME ▸ aesmithwriting.com ▸ Email: allisonelisesmith@gmail.com ▸ Facebook: ae smith writing ▸ Twitter: @aesmithwriting

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