Talk to a writer before you start writing

Years ago, a wise boss told me that the most affordable attorney I’d ever hire is the one I called before making a decision or taking an action. I’ve since come to realize that the same holds true with writers.

I’ve often seen organizations decide to tackle writing a new brochure, website, newsletter, or other project on their own. Sometimes, they choose to handle it because they’re confident that they have the expertise to accomplish it, but usually, their motivator is an effort to shave the cost.

And, more often than not, they eventually realize that they can’t finish it on their own. Or, they do finish it, and are dissatisfied with the results, so they bring in a writer to create a new version. Either way, they would have saved time and trouble – and received a greater value from their investment – by working with a writer from the very beginning.

Assuming you write fairly well, what additional value can a writer bring to your project? To start with, writers know how to manage the creative process more effectively, so they make better use of everyone’s time and can reduce the time it takes to accomplish your goals. Knowing your objectives, they may even be able to suggest ways to accomplish more with less.

Experienced writers are less likely to make the subtle mistakes and misusages that can inadvertently derail your copy. In addition, they bring an objective viewpoint to the project, so they’re better able to view you in the context of your marketplace and challenge internal assumptions that may not be entirely accurate.

“…whether you’re talking about printed materials or something like a website, what you’d pay a writer represents only a small percentage of the overall cost of the project.”

But what about cost? In most cases, whether you’re talking about printed materials or something like a website, what you’d pay a writer represents only a small percentage of the overall cost of the project. That small percentage can spell the difference between a piece that conveys your message effectively and one that simply frustrates or even embarrasses you.

This type of logic isn’t limited to those who put words to paper. It’s just as applicable to other professionals, from graphic designers to web programmers to architects to accountants and attorneys to the guy who fixes your car.

No matter what you’re doing, getting experts involved from the very beginning helps you minimize missteps and maximize the value of what you want to accomplish. Beyond the specific services they provide, part of what you’re buying is their expertise and advice.

Receiving that advice after you need it can be a little painful and embarrassing – and it’s invariably a lot more expensive.