Every Freelance Writer Should Always Develop A Project Proposal or Creative Brief.
Note: Some writers use a project proposal as a sales document– a work contract is based ON the proposal. Some writers may already have a job in hand but need to nail down the scope and direction of a project, and create a Creative Brief to get project details in writing. For example, I’ve had numerous long term (as in 10+ years) clients. Whenever we started a new project I’d develop a creative brief for the project just to make sure there were no misunderstandings.
Project Proposals are an outline of a writing project that detail what the project is about, how big, what the elements are as well as money and time expectations. It is a simple but very powerful planning tool that both the writer and the client agree on.
Certain core questions MUST be answered if a project is to succeed.
Project Proposals are as individual as the writers that use them, but they all have some basic points in common. The goal is to:
- define the project
- clearly state the objectives
- clearly outline the cost of the project
- clearly determine milestone and completion deadlines.
- provide critical information to the team charged with executing the project.
For example, if you are a copywriter promoting a product … some of the most important questions to be answered will include:
- Who is our audience?
- What is the product’s unique selling proposition (USP)?
- What are the key “pains” of our audience?
- What is our offer?
- What are the objections we’ll need to overcome?
- Who is our competition?
Depending on your writing specialty, you may produce several templates … ie. one for copy-writing projects, one for web content projects and one for weekly newsletter writing projects.
The time you spend on your project brief will pay off faster than you think. It becomes your outline for a client’s project … all in one easily accessible document. All changes are added to the document and signed off by the client.
What If You Don’t Use A Project Proposal?
Be prepared for trouble. Writing without a plan practically ensures you’ll fall into one or more of these traps:
- Your concepts and ideas are off the mark
- You lose time (money) in heavy revisions
- You deliver work that is unacceptable to the client
- You miss that all-important deadline
- There are misunderstandings about add-ons and billing
The benefit of using Project Proposals for every writing project has been proven thousands of times with successful results. Using a proposal dramatically increases a project’s chance for success because both parties (writer and client) have crafted a plan that has considered all of the elements required for success.
A strong proposal also gives you an opportunity to assess a project’s strengths and weaknesses. This will help you in the future when you are proposing new writing projects. For example, when you look back at several content writing projects you might clearly see that you do not allocate enough time and are therefore not charging enough for your work. You might see that you have forgotten to account for (and list) various tasks you undertake and never bill for.
Best of all, a Project Proposal gets the “grunt work” out of the way. With a well-conceived proposal, you can:
- Tackle the project with confidence
- Keep track of and check off milestones
- Work quickly … and earn more
- Enjoy the process instead of stressing out
Here is an excellent START in setting up a successful creative brief.
Take a look at the Proposal Kit … it helps you draft and deliver Project Proposals and Creative Briefs quickly and efficiently. This will literally save you hundreds of hours in time … and a lot of hair tearing frustration when under submission deadlines.