|Welcome to Magnificent Publications, Inc. We look forward to working with you.
Communications projects can be complex. Because the process is unfamiliar to many clients, we developed these guidelines to help you achieve the best results possible, on time and within budget.
Tell us what you hope to accomplish
Some clients come to us asking for something specific, like a new Web site, brochure, or meeting report. Others want help planning an entire communications strategy for a business service or a social initiative.
In either case, we will begin with a conversation about what you hope to achieve with your project.
Whom do you want to reach?
Who is your audience? Maybe you have more than one.
Tell us about them:
How will your message reach the audience? If it’s in a brochure, will it arrive in the mail? Maybe it needs an envelope that says, “Open me first.” Does it need to go up on your Website as well, formatted for a quick scan? Do you need a video? Conference graphics?
Will you distribute materials or present visuals at a meeting? If so, then these materials need to reinforce what the speaker is saying. Effective message delivery is all about consistency and repetition.
What do you want your audience to do differently?
You’re communicating with people because you want a result. Typically, communicators strive to get audiences to:
How will you gauge whether or not your project was a success? Conventional direct response measures include special phone numbers or discounts available only in the publication, queries to new customers or callers (e.g., “How did you learn about us?”), and before-and-after measurement of Website hits. But we’ll ask you to think more expansively. If your project – or the larger effort – succeeds, how will you know?
What is your core message?
Once a project gets under way, the writing, editing, and graphic design process takes on a life of its own. More people want to become involved. As a product takes shape, different points of view may surface.
All of this makes it essential to stay focused on a core purpose. We always ask clients – sometimes more than once:
Do you have a model for your project?
Have you tried anything like this before? Did you like the results? Are there similar products that you like?
Are we speaking the same language?
One of our goals when we begin a project is to establish that we and the client share a common understanding of terms such as “copyediting,” “formatting,” or “proofreading.” (See Glossary.)
Tell us how you like to work
We will want to know how you and your organization make decisions. If you are a small group, sometimes the answer is straightforward. With larger companies, associations, and government entities, the process is not always clear to contractors. How will the review process work when we submit interim drafts or design options? Will one individual make all decisions, or will a committee be involved?
We will always want to speak to the ultimate decision maker before the project gets under way. An initial conversation can be with a representative, but even the most capable people can find it difficult to communicate someone else’s wishes. We don’t need to cover the same ground in detail, but we will want to confirm our understanding of audience, purpose, scope, and expectations.
Review budget and time frame
After an initial discussion, we we will follow up in writing, summarizing our understanding of the project. Once we reach agreement, we will develop a detailed plan and budget.
The plan will include:
Even the most careful plans sometimes need to change. Modifications to plans may result in additional costs. Any changes we recommend will require your approval in advance.
The Magnificent Publications project team is the core group responsible for your project. It is led by a project manager, who will be your main point of contact. Other team members may include a lead writer and graphic designer and possibly other editors, subject-matter experts, researchers, photographers, illustrators, and additional writers and designers. The person who keeps the project on track is the project manager. If you have any questions or concerns, the project manager is the person to contact.
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