We're Nothing If Not Methodical
This is where we listen to your content woes, catch your excitement about your needs, and spell out how we’d love to help you in a detailed proposal. We’ll give you a project timeline in Gantt form that will tell you the date of every major milestone we expect to hit. Some people call this the contracting phase. We call it the “Help is On the Way” phase.
During this phase, you will hand us your variety of documents (electronically, unless you really do need to hand us printed out documents because that’s all that exists – which has happened and no judgment!). We’ll then hunker down in comfy chairs and read every word of it. We want to know your brand voice, how you approach process, what you have already said, what your deepest content challenges are so we can help solve them. We’ll interview your SMEs (subject matter experts) to get to the heart of what they know (and what they think your audience should know), prepare socialization documents to get critical stakeholder sign off, and present you with a proposed structure for your new content. For many projects, this is a Table of Contents (TOC). For some, it’s a Content Organizer. We’ll also present a CSS/stylesheet and sample document design. You’ll sign off on the structure and approach, and then we’ll be off to the races!
If you like watching medical shows, this will be a fun phase. We dive in and start cutting things apart. We slice, dice, restructure, write, create. We’re transforming what you have into logical headings, body content, checklists, introductions, etc. If you need content written from scratch or supplied from our bank of existing content, we’ll knit it in (and it will look more like Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand and less like Frankenstein, we promise). We call this the “Making the Sausage” phase. We’re going to be asking lots of follow-up questions. If you’re doing one of our Bootcamps, it will be scheduled as part of this phase. What you get during this phase is a Version B of your content which you’ll then review and return with edits and comments.
What about Version A? That’s an internal version where we all sit around a table and internally critique the work. (Yes, we do have to have bandages on hand for this session as we are harsh critics of our own work, and we do wield red pens.)
And now things are becoming real. We’ll give you final review documents with all of your edits and changes complete. For large/complex projects with lots of stakeholders, we’ll host review sessions to get feedback. We’ll work through any final challenges with your team and get any little details nailed down.
If your project is live content like an app or a website, it will be published. If it’s a manual that will be both electronic and printed, it will go to the printer and be placed on your corporate drive. Whatever it looks like for your content to come alive for your audience – this is when it happens. If you liked the “making the sausage” metaphor, then this is when the grill is hot and you have a hotdog bun ready. If you liked the medical metaphor, the bandages are coming off and your new nose is ready for a close up.
We’ll ask you how we did, and we’ll put your project on a review schedule and check ins. Internally, we do a post-mortem and talk about all the things we learned on your project. If you’re becoming a retainer client so we can keep your content updated and paced for change and growth, you’ll be moved to a schedule of check ins.