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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

How to get Clients to Deliver Their Content on Time

Consumed => “Don’t let your client write the content” by Kyle Racki on the GatherContent blog.

=> My value add (i.e., left a comment)…

Having just walked away from an opportunity that fizzled out because “content disconnect” (if you will), I think the solution – in many but not all cases – might be much simpler. Let me know what you think.

Immediately after project kickoff perform a “high level content audit”. In short, make a list of any thing obvious mentioned already or that you know from experience is going to be needed. From that pick out a small subset of the usual suspects. That is, About Us, home page, FAQ, perhaps a bio or two, etc. Not all the content, just a good five or six pages worth (or sometimes more) that would get the ball rolling. I think it’s probably a good idea to add images to that list as well, presuming those too are ultimately part of the client’s content responsibilities.

Okay so far?

Supply the client with that list of six-ish TODOs. Tell them that as the wireframes and other pre-design work is being done you’d like them to get started on content. The goal is to have some “real” content for the design stage so everyone gets a better feel for things. This makes sense because sooner is better than later, and they never like lorem ipsum anyway. It should be a pretty easy sell, yes?

Now, here’s the biggie.

If appropriate (read: most of the time), also supply them with a list “The Top 10 Things Good Content Writers / SEOs Do” or something similar. Nothing too long, we don’t want to blind them with TMI. Perhaps that list has links to a couple articles just to be complete. Finally, also supply a time estimate. Tell them, “…if we did the content for these pages we estimate it would take on average between ____ and ____ hours. So we estimate your person should be able to do these by ____.”

Continue on with the project. Naturally, ask about the content from time to time. “Hey, can I see a couple samples?” would be natural at this point.

So, anyone here want to bet on what is probably going to happen next? Or at least once you get to the design stage and ask “…so, about that content…?” Now that there’s plenty of context for the work required, trying re-selling the client on letting your team do the content. At the very least perhaps you can sell the client on having one of your team give their work a quick once-over. Clean it up and spit back a couple tips if the client is going to continue on with DIY. But chances are good they’ll realize how easy it is not.

The plus is, now you still have time to get going on the content. Even if the deadline slips a bit it’s going to be weeks and not months (if you were stuck waiting for the client).

What do you think?

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