This is a story about why communications projects always seem to blow out.
Once upon a time, a boy named Evan was given the task of writing a quarterly report for his company. The first thing Evan did was engage a graphic designer because the report had to look good. Julie, the lead designer, asked to see a draft of the report so she could do a mock-up. After writing busily for several weeks Evan had a ten-thousand-word draft, which he duly sent off to Julie, and soon afterwards a beautiful mock-up arrived in Evan's inbox. Everyone was delighted with how the report looked.
But when it came time to get feedback on the actual content of the report Evan ran into trouble. You see, the report was now in a format that neither Evan nor anyone else in his company could easily edit. Each time a change had to be made – and there were many, because lots of people wanted to have a say – Evan had to ask Julie to deal with it. Julie was delighted, because each round of changes netted her lots and lots of money. To this day, Julie counts Evan among her most valued clients.
Writing projects need good management too.
Why is it that in just about every aspect of big business we rely on specialist project managers, but with a complex writing job people like Evan are pretty much on their own? You can understand how easy it is to be snared by an external provider who offers to produce a glossy report in the corporate colours for you, even though they have little or no idea about the business you're in.
Graphic designers and corporate communications providers have done a great job at becoming an essential part of the process of developing even the simplest of writing outputs – but many organisations rely on them way too much (and spend accordingly). A designer's role should be right at the beginning of the project, and right at the end, but not all the way through.
And a marketing firm will happily convince you to spend your entire budget on a social media campaign without first analysing the result you're trying to achieve.
Read our blog post: How to wrangle a writing project
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