How to create a project brief for your freelance writer

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how to create a project brief for your freelance writer by Melinda J. Irvine

If you’re like many busy business owners, you probably don’t have time to run your business AND write about what your doing. Outsourcing writing projects to freelance writers can be a great way to get your message out to existing customers, finally get that employee handbook and operations manual in place, or capture prospects and leads from a well-written blog post.

But your freelance writer is only as good as the project brief you provide, so take the time to think it through. What do you want to achieve? How much are you willing to spend? And (importantly) what resources will your freelance writer need to complete the project?

5 essentials of a writing project brief

In today’s blog I’m going explain how to create a clear project brief for your freelance writer, walking you through each of the 5 essentials that will make your content writing project run smoothly — and achieve all it’s goals and deliverables.

1. Project Outcomes

Beginning with the end in mind (Stephen Covey) is always the best place to start — and knowing your goals from the get-go will lead to a more successful project.

What do you want the writing to achieve?

  • Sell your products online
  • Capture email addresses
  • Increase web traffic
  • Ensure your production staff follow a safe work sequence
  • Assist online prospects book an appointment
  • Entice customers into your physical store
  • Increase memberships
  • Explain the freight charges and delivery time to eCommerce customers

Also think about how you’ll measure the results.

2. Project Summary

Open your project brief with a summary of your objectives and deliverables. The project summary should clearly outline:

  • Deliverables: Eg, A5 printed sales brochure with discount coupon, 800 word blog post with meta description, 30 x product descriptions (metadata, 100 word short description, 300 word long description)
  • Format: Eg, PDF sample uploaded to the Dropbox, Word document (using attached template) saved to Google docs, Product descriptions written directly in WordPress.
  • Deadline: Eg, 4pm Tuesday, 5 June 2020; anytime next week, 3 weeks.
  • Goals: Eg, 50,000 household letterbox drop (recipients visit the store for annual sale, buy something, and claim a discount coupon), get readers to provide their email address, online sales. You can also detail the project outcomes here.
  • Tone: Eg, fun and upbeat voice, conversational but informative, clear and easy-to-understand, formal.

3. Background Information

If this is the first time you’ve worked with the writer, give your freelancer a bit of context about your business, why you’re doing the project, and how the writing will be used. Things that really help use are:

  • Links to the company website
  • Keywords you have been targeting
  • Overview of the target audience
  • Demographics of your existing customers
  • Information about your competitors
  • USPs (unique selling points), features, and benefits of your products and services

4. Contact Information

Provide the details of people in your organisation that your freelance writer will need to contact, plus anyone who needs to be interviewed. Remember to give their preferred contact method (email/phone/Skype/Whatsapp) and the best time to reach them.

You should also include (if necessary):

  • Correct product names
  • Spelling of people’s names and other proper nouns
  • Exact addresses, suburbs and postcodes
  • Meanings of any obscure industry jargon or acronyms

5. Resources and Links

Remember that writers can only write about what they know, so make sure your writer has enough product and service information to complete the assignment. Here’s few extra things you could send to make their job easier:

  • Marketing Plan
  • Brand Strategy
  • Links to competitor websites
  • Examples of writing you like
  • Company marketing materials
  • Product specification sheets
  • Templates or style guides
  • Mission or Vision Statement

If you save any of your resources in a Dropbox folder or Google Docs file, be sure and include the links in the Project Brief. It makes life so much easier when everything is in the one place.

Starting the writing project

Once you’ve delivered the project brief to the writer be available to answer their questions, and ask enough questions yourself so you know they completely understand your expectations.

Your freelancer will be delighted if you have taken the time to prepare a thorough brief (I know I always am) because it greatly reduces our research and preparation time.

We write, so your business works

So now you know how to create an awesome project brief, what are waiting for? Get out there and get us freelance writers, writing. We’ll return the favour and do our very best to get your business working, working.

CANONICAL LINK: this article was first published on Linkedin.

One response to “How to create a project brief for your freelance writer”

  1. Ruth Serrano Avatar
    Ruth Serrano

    I love your blog post. It is true, sometimes, when freelance writers are given brief on what they should do and the instructions are incomplete or unclear, the projects end up in such a mess and misunderstandings arise.
    Again, thanks for your post and please do keep safe.