Being a Consultant
I work with a wide range of clients, from ad agencies and production companies to internal marketing departments and CEOs, department heads or executive directors. In each of these situations I write and manage creative projects including electronic newsletters, blogs, websites, videos, media releases, feature articles and more.
No matter who the client, however, or what the specific project, I am always acting as a consultant, keeping in mind my client’s objectives and needs, making suggestions and seeking feedback. In many cases I also monitor budgets and work with graphic designers, cinematographers, editors, actors and others to create the best project possible. It's important to me to ensure that the collaborative effort is a success.
I know there are those creatives out there who are offended when their client or “boss”, the entity paying the project bills, questions the direction in which a project is headed. But hey, I would rather discuss the pros and cons and multiple options before a project becomes a train wreck and destroys the client’s needs and confidence than ignore their input.
So, to avoid a disaster, here are a few tips to keep a project on track:
Ask detailed questions up front.
Offer suggestions and welcome requests for clarification.
Never, never offer just a number in response for a quote request; instead take the opportunity to outline your approach and concept as well as what is included in the estimate. You can refer back to this document throughout the project to ensure that all parties are following the agreed upon plan.
Maintain an open dialogue throughout the project so that if the plan needs to be adjusted it can be done in a timely manner. If adjustments are needed, I would recommend updating the project plan or scope document.
And think about how you can help your client or boss meet their needs and find success.
Acting like a consultant, no matter who the client or what the project, will set you apart from the prima donnas, and improve the likelihood of repeat business. It sure has worked well for me.
Susan Reetz, of Clear Focus Media, LLC, is a writer/director/producer for film, video, web and print. Her script writing and producing work has earned numerous local, national, and international awards. She also writes feature articles, brochure copy, news releases, web copy, and other promotional materials. She can be reached at 715-212-6239 or Susan@ClearFocus.Media.
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