I just came from one of the best meetings with a prospective client that I’ve ever had. It wasn’t that the project was spectacular (although it is), or that I felt confident about winning the business (which I do). What left me inspired on my drive home was how prepared the client was when we met.
When you are interviewing consultants for a freelance writing opportunity, the more preparation you do prior to the meeting, the better the final outcome will be. Why? Because you can set clear expectations, minimize misunderstandings, and help ensure that the project will be delivered on time and on budget.
When I arrived at my meeting this afternoon, the client was prepared with a binder of background materials related to the project. She was able to show me existing marketing collateral, the template for the company’s new website, and a list of major competitors. She was also able to answer all of my questions about how the project would take shape without missing a beat.
If you are thinking of working with a freelance writer, here are some questions you should be prepared to address during that initial meeting:
- Who is the point person? Will the writer be sending copy to you for review, or to someone else involved with the project?
- Who are the key decision makers? Does just one person need to sign off on the project? Or, does the copy need to go through a committee or get approval from the Compliance department?
- What are the sources of background information? Will you be supplying those (e.g., providing existing marketing collateral or scheduling interviews with subject matter experts)? Or, is the consultant responsible for conducting any research needed for the project?
- What is the deadline for delivery? You may need to work backwards from your launch date (e.g., when you want the printed brochures in hand or the Website to go live) to build in time for production, legal approval, revisions after the initial review, etc.
- What is your budget? Would you prefer hourly billing (perhaps with a cap) or a flat project fee? Can you authorize the expense, or do you need approval from someone in your firm?
The more prepared you are when you interview a freelance writer, the more smoothly the project will run. Everybody will be on the same page regarding the deliverables, and in the end, you will look like a star for finding the right person to get the job done.