Writing a concept paper, powerpoint, or memorandum can be a serious drain on time when your expertise is out in the field or your company is entering crunch season. When you hire a consultant, be prepared to describe the context of your request. It can be easy to forget that your consultant or freelancer has no idea what your company’s history is, what milestones it has for the year, and what setbacks it may have faced. There is no need to write a biography about your project, but be sure and confirm your consultant is completely aware of your expectations surrounding the project.
Before you hand off that project to a freelancer, be sure you are explicit in what you need. Avoid drawn out editing processes and phone call conversations. Instead be proactive. Here are some questions we pose to our clients before we begin writing or researching.
PROJECT PURPOSE QUESTIONS
1. What is the purpose of this document (informative, educational, opinion)? Please list its objectives.
2. In what ways will this document be used (oral presentations, emailed, mailed, referenced)?
3. Who is your target audience with this document? Please be specific with gender, communities, interests and age groups.
4. What information is needed to make this document stand out. To what degree is research required and what topics may have to be researched?
5. Does this document require additional research?
6. Does this document have an extended life or is it to be used once?
7. What is the most important feature or section of this document?
8. Will this document be included in a series or require follow up?
9. Will graphics be needed, and will you supply these graphics?
10. List as many keywords or buzzwords that you would like emphasized in this project?
11. What is your organization’s mission or vision statement? How does this project relate to that?