Connecting the Dots: Successfully Following Client Briefings
One of the keys to enjoying success with the Textbroker platform is to keep clients satisfied at all times. While there is no doubt that quality and targeted content are important, the ability to interpret briefings is just as critical. Unfortunately, there are times when this is easier said than done. Let us take a look at some practical suggestions, as well as a handful of tips that might come as a bit of a surprise.
Consider the Main Points of the Text
The Content Marketing Institute highlights the fact that simplicity is paramount in regards to a concise author brief. However, we are all aware that this is not always the case. Textbroker writers need to be able to distil the main points of the project description if they ever hope to meet the requirements of the client in question. This is why it is wise to ask these important questions:
- What does the client ultimately wish to accomplish?
- Do their requests match my skill set as an author?
- Is the project associated with a specific perspective or tone of voice?
- Will I be able to disseminate the main points of the article with the information provided?
Obtaining this level of initial clarity will enable you to start off from a solid foundation. If any of these metrics are unclear or otherwise ambiguous, it is best to contact the client in question for further clarification.
Never Forget to Scroll to the Bottom
There are some instances when an author can become lax in regards to following the instructions provided by a client. This most commonly occurs with DirectOrders associated with what initially appears to involve the same layout as in the past. What if a client has modified their requirements? Not only can this result in a somewhat embarrassing situation, but you may very well lose a loyal client as a result. Always be sure to peruse the instructions to the very end. Never fall into the trap of assuming that the briefing has not changed since the last order. You will otherwise waste a great deal of time rectifying an entirely avoidable error.
Always Check the Supplied Links
Clients supply outbound links for a reason. These are intended to provide you with the insight and clarity required to understand the finer points of the brief. Such examples are also used to illustrate the tone of voice that you should embrace throughout the content. However, we also need to note another lesser-known benefit of links. The industry gurus at WordStream emphasise that examining these links in greater detail can provide you with a spark of inspiration if you have suddenly come to a mental impasse. If you happen to be working with a regular DirectOrder client, you might even be enamoured to learn that the example link provided contains your previous content; a very nice compliment indeed!
When Things Get Tricky
Any seasoned Textbroker author is well aware of the fact that client briefs will not always follow the well-paved yellow brick road to a timely completion. There are many instances when the instructions are about as clear as a muddy pond at midnight. While it is often simple to discount an OpenOrder, what happens if you encounter such an issue with a DirectOrder client who has provided a significant amount of work in the past? This is when the cut-and-paste function can come in handy.
Copy and paste the brief into a word processing program. Use colour coding to highlight the main points of the text. You can even choose to rearrange the assigned steps in order to obtain greater clarity. Let’s always remember that while most clients know what they desire, some are unaware of how to convey their needs to the author. Try to appreciate this fact and to give the customer a bit of leeway. Finally, it is much easier to toggle between a text document and a Textbroker page as opposed to being forced to scroll up to the instructions every few seconds.
Dealing with Longer (and Shorter) Briefings
Anyone who has written Textbroker content for an appreciable amount of time is well aware of those occasional briefings which are longer than the actual word count of the project itself. Some of us will sigh in consternation; imagining the length of time that it will take to accomplish the required task. However, more is normally better in this sense. The key here is to segment the text into easily digestible chunks so that each section can be better appreciated. It is then much easier to collate the information into a more manageable format. This approach is similar to completing a challenging puzzle; grouping pieces of the same colour or pattern together will help you to appreciate the big picture.
We also need to look at the other end of the content spectrum. Let’s examine a common example of the blind leading the blind:
“Please write a 300-word text about turtles.”
What kind of turtles? What tone of voice is required? Does the client wish HTML coding to be included? Are bullet points allowed? These questions cannot be divined by reading between the lines. As opposed to taking on the role of a digital psychic, it is much better to contact the client directly in order to be provided with further details.
Understanding the Gist of the Topic in Question
There may also be times when a relatively simple topic is conveyed in a confusing and long-winded briefing. This can lead to a time-consuming project at best and at worst, a text that needs to be revised. One of the most effective ways to deal with such a situation is to mentally refine the briefing so that the main takeaway points can be clear. Try to employ a handful of university-level suggestions. Search for the main idea at the beginning and end of the instructions. Look for phrases and keywords within the briefing which might allude to the overall intention. Eliminate superfluous or otherwise repetitive content that does not contribute to the core of the project. You will be quite surprised to learn how a great deal of material can be digitally sublimated into a much more palatable format.
All About Communication
Client briefings can represent friends or fiends. This is ultimately determined by how well both parties are able to establish a successful form of communication. As simply picking up the phone and contacting the customer in question is not possible, always be willing to ask for clarification if the content is still not clear after following the suggestions mentioned above.
The merit of an author is not merely based upon his or her syntactical skills and keyword placement. Clients who are able to enjoy an unfettered digital relationship are much more likely to remain loyal over time. As a result, you can enjoy a predictable workload and a reliable source of income. Finally, never forget that it is always possible to contact the team at Textbroker directly if questions still persist.
About our authorRon first arrived in Barcelona, Spain in 2007. Although initially pursuing a career in wealth management and finance, he learned that the content writing community provided the highest level of personal satisfaction while still being able to personally help clients. He has been a full-time professional writer since 2011. Some of his other interests include martial arts and bodybuilding.