Working With a Vendor
When the crew listens to the captain, you can count on smooth sailing.
And Captain Marketing says: Take our advice. You’re paying for it.
You are one smart cookie
You’ve determined that your business or organization could benefit from professional writing, design or marketing services, so you’ve come to The Write Company.
Many of our clients have not previously hired creative help in the past, so below you will find some tips to ensure that you, your staff, and your organization reap the most benefit from your very wise decision to hire The Write Company.
Take our advice. Just like Mom, we really do know what is best. Plus, that is why you’re paying us.
When you need legal advice, you call a lawyer, right? When you’re sick, you go to the doctor, right? Chances are, you don’t give your lawyer legal advice, nor do you give your doctor medical advice, right?
We take great pride in our ability to listen to our clients. During the course of working on any given project, there is much give and take. But, in general, our most successful projects are the result of working with clients who respect our position as the writing, designing and marketing experts.
We often chuckle when clients attempt to micromanage the work they have hired us to do. On one hand, it makes our job very simple: just do whatever the client tells us to do.
On the other hand, we are usually hired because our client realizes we provide professional expertise that is needed to most effectively communicate with a given audience.
The thing is, the work we do — writing, editing, and designing — is all very subjective. And let’s face it, most people know how to write a sentence. But just because you know how to take someone’s temperature, doesn’t mean you should perform rocket surgery, right?
And just as you expect your clients to trust in your abilities as an attorney, an administrator, an undertaker, an architect or an engineer (or whatever your business), we really appreciate it when our clients trust our ability to create in a way that most effectively communicates their message to their targeted audience.
Don’t get us wrong: we want your feedback. We most definitely want you to be comfortable with the work we produce for you. However, keep in mind there is a fine line between offering your feedback, and micromanaging a project that you’ve actually hired us to do. The best way to stifle our creativity is to begin telling us how to be creative.
Let your administrative assistant assist, not design
We know you love your secretary or administrative assistant. We are sure that he or she is the very bestest Gal-Friday-Right-Hand-Man you’ve ever had. Usually, we love her, too. Admin assistants are often great proofreaders because, in general, they haven’t seen a project under development, so they are a great set of fresh eyes that can find a typo faster than Ted Nugent can bag a buck.
Some administrative assistants have even been given a copy of Publisher, InDesign or Photoshop, along with responsibilities for writing or laying out the employee newsletter, or in-house fliers and posters. We salute their willingness to toss on their Creativity Hat and give it the old college try.
However, laying out pages does not a designer make.
Professionally-trained graphic designers and experienced marketing professionals, such as those at The Write Company, have spent an entire career learning the finer points of publication design, copy placement, typography use, color coordination, focal point, design balance, how to select great artwork (and why it is great…let me count the ways!) and the importance of repetition of line, shape and color.
So can you understand why, given all of our education and years of experience, it is frustrating for us to have a client tell us he wants to “run this past Good Old Maggie, my great administrative assistant. She knows the company really well, and she reads Better Homes and Gardens while she scrapbooks on her lunch hour…so she’s really good with design. Plus, she has more Pinterest boards than anyone I know! She hosted the office Christmas party last year, and her house is all color-coordinated with that neat ‘country’ theme … my wife really liked it.
“Speaking of my wife, I might take this home and show her. She likes to make jewelry, and so she’s really creative. Plus, she puts together the PTA newsletter in Microsoft Word. She’s really great with creating stuff in that WordArt program using clip art. She’s a wiz with clipart.”
To which we answer, “Oh. My. Freakin’. Gosh.” (We’d actually say something other than “freakin’,” but we’re trying to clean up our potty mouth…)
We wish we were making up the conversation above, but, unfortunately, we’re not. We’ve had it (or some variation of it) throughout the years with too many clients to count. We’ve learned that every office has someone with a “creative flair” who takes on any of the in-house creative projects that need doing. With no formal training (or worse yet, some online “art school” training because “working in Pagemaker is so much fun!”), they become “design experts.”
We have a one-word response to that: Not.
We have been called upon to un-do many messes created by so-called “designers.” So please allow your administrative assistant to use all of her creativity during lunch hour while making scrapbooks for her son’s Little League team.
Allow The Write Company to do the heavy design lifting. It is a job for professionals. Amateurs should not attempt this in the office.
Design by committee
Please re-read the section above regarding secretaries and administrative assistants, and insert “committee” in many places, and you will begin to realize why we cringe when a client tells us he is going to run a creative piece past an entire committee. The thing is, if you ask people for their opinion, most will give it. Oftentimes, in a committee setting, they give it off the cuff, without thinking much about the words that are actually coming out of their mouths. Rarely is this productive in helping to create an effective communication tool.
If a creative piece must be presented to a committee, it is often helpful if The Write Company staff can make the presentation, because that way questions can be answered and staff can explain why a piece was written or designed in a particular way.
We love you
We love our clients, with all of their quirks, just as we hope they love us with all of ours (tho’ we have an excuse for being weird; we’re artsy-fartsy artists). This page would not exist if a) the scenarios described above hadn’t happened so frequently that we thought we were cast in the movie “Groundhog Day,” and b) if we didn’t want to help our clients understand the way we work in order to help you reap the rewards of our very best work, created especially for you, in the most effective way possible.
Kiss kiss! 🙂