520-904-4771
bbeck@wordsbybarbara.com

How I Write

My Writing Process

Barbara and on-camera talent, Mary Dilts, review script changes

You may be wondering what it’ll be like to work with me. If so, here’s an overview of my process.

My contact and communications policies

For starters, it’s important that we have fast and easy communication. During our project, I’m available Monday through Friday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM PST.

The best way to reach me is through emails, bbeck@wordsbybarbara.com, and texts or phone calls to my cellphone, 520-904-4771. If you have any questions or concerns as your project progresses, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Discussing the project and my questionnaire

Typically, we’ll kick off your project either with a phone call or a meeting at your office. That’s when we’ll discuss the objective and scope of your project, what you hope to accomplish with it, and what it will look like when it’s finished.

Afterwards, I will send you either a Client Questionnaire or a Video Production Questionnaire, depending on what kind of project you want to pursue. This will help both of us clearly define the scope of the job and ensure that we get maximum results.

I will email you the questionnaire as an MS Word file attachment. Fill it out as best you can, and return it to me as quickly as possible – for most clients that is between 1 and 3 days.

Your answers don’t have to be fancy, or even in complete sentences. Stream of consciousness works fine and typos will be forgiven. Just get your answers down so I can get a good feel for your nonprofit, the specific work your nonprofit does, your donors, and how the finished project will help your cause.

After I receive the completed Questionnaire, I’ll review and study your answers, plus I’ll do any other applicable initial research that is needed. From there I’ll outline a short Project Roadmap, which will also be the basis for our Launch Call.

The Launch Call

2-10 Days after I’ve received your Questionnaire, we’ll schedule a 20-minute Launch Call. During this call, we’ll discuss the Project Roadmap. I’ll also listen to any additional directions and insights you have on the project.

Following that call, I’ll write up a Project Agreement and send it to you. If your legal team has an Agreement, we can use that.

My Fee and Getting Started

The Agreement will contain all of the specifics on what exactly I’ll deliver, including project deadlines. I will also list my fee for the project. My fee is based on our conversations, the questionnaire and the time it will take to complete the project.

The Agreement will also cover the terms of payment. (Note: I require 25% of the project total to begin. Most of my clients prefer to pay by direct deposit or check.)

Once we have both signed the Agreement, I’ll begin working on your copy or video as agreed.

Research

My research process is very comprehensive. The more I know about your nonprofit, who or what you’re serving with your nonprofit and who exactly your donors are, the more effective my writing and/or the video will be.

I’ll begin with a complete review of your website and any other materials you can send me. I’ll also conduct any phone interviews necessary, especially those called out in the questionnaire.

As needed, I will reach out to you for additional details and other resources.

You can be confident that I’ll quickly and effectively understand your nonprofit, your voice, and your donor’s core emotional drivers.

Collaboration

As we work together on this project, communication is critical. Some of my clients are very busy and prefer to hand off the project to me and review the first draft, with very little communication in between.

Others like dealing with me on an almost daily basis and being involved at just about every step of the way. Which are you?

Please send me an email and let me know how often you’d like to communicate, and what the best way is to reach out to you. (i.e. email, phone, social media, text, etc.)

One other point… I require that you assign me a single point of contact on your team. I will communicate directly with that person and they will deal with your other team members as needed to obtain information and approvals.

I use Microsoft Word for my writing, so I’ll be sending you drafts through email for you to make comments on using the Track Changes function. And then I’ll incorporate your comments into the next draft.

If we’re working on a video together, I’ll privately post drafts of the video on Vimeo.com for you to review. Once I have final sign-off on the video, you’ll be able to download it for your own use.

I highly recommend you download your final videos and set them up on your own servers to use (YouTube, Vimeo, and whatever). This gives you complete control of the finished video with ways to track how many people have watched it.

Review of the First Draft

For a written project, typically, you’ll receive the first draft in 10–14 days, depending on the project size and scope.

You’ll receive a first cut of the video 10-14 days after we’ve completed the videography. A lot will depend on how many interviews we’ve shot, and how many hours of cutaway footage I’ve accumulated during production.

When you get the first draft of your project, please review it carefully. Also, have any applicable team members review it. The most important thing at this stage of the game is making sure that the tone, message and call to action are right. We’ll fine-tune during the second draft… and third draft as needed.

Revisions

After you review the initial draft, it’s likely that you’ll want some things changed. For MS Word documents, please make these changes using Track Changes and return the draft to me. For videos, you can send your notes through email.

I’ll review all of your suggested changes within 24 hours of you submitting them to me. I will make my adjustments within 2-4 business days, depending on the breadth and complexity of your changes.

In all cases, I recognize that these are your donors or clients and will defer to you as much as possible.

Sometimes, there are cases where my clients make suggestions that I know will not work and will hurt your messaging. In those cases, you can expect me to be bold and direct in my feedback. When clients insist on changes that I feel will not work, I always recommend a simple A/B split test. Let the market vote!

Additional Reviews

 After the first round of changes, there may some additional fine-tuning needed. You can be confident that I’ll gladly work with you until you are delighted with the copy, or the video.

In most cases, my clients find that one review cycle is enough. When more are needed, it’s usually just one or two and the process goes quickly. Typically, we can get to a final draft within 1-4 business days.

Final Approval and Payment

Once all the revisions are done, I’ll submit a final draft, or final cut of the video, to you. At this point, you approve the copy by sending me an email stating that everything is ready for distribution.

After I receive this final approval from you, I’ll invoice you for the remaining 75% of the project investment. The invoice is due upon receipt.

I’ll make every effort to be prompt in responding your requests and assume that, as a professional, you will do the same with my invoices.

Working With Your Graphic Designer

In most cases the final copy is sent to a graphic designer for formatting. I strongly encourage you to send me a PDF of the final version. I’ll double check that any graphical elements added by your design team enhance the copy and make it more effective.

If I see something that is distracting and may hurt your response rates, I’ll be direct in letting you know. If requested, I’m happy to work with your design team to make any changes needed to make the end version as effective as possible.

Your Finished Video

Once you’ve given me the final approval for your video, you’ll be able to download it and post it on your website. Most of my clients are happy with a resolution of HD 1280×720, but if you need something different, let me know and I can accommodate that.

Complimentary follow-up consultation

Once the project is done, I provide all of my clients with a complimentary follow-up consultation. We’ll spend a few minutes on the phone and discuss what went well and where improvements can be made.

We’ll review the discovery Questionnaire and discuss additional ways to uncover more donors. Where appropriate, we can map out a new project to ensure that you continue to have effective copy or videos that meet your fundraising goals and grow your nonprofit.

About Barbara