Writing Process

How I Write

Contact and Communications Policies

As we work together, it is important that we have fast and easy communication. 

During our project, I am available Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Eastern (U.S.). By far, the best way to reach me is through email: Amy@AmyHartsough.com. I am also happy to jump on a video or phone call with you: (502) 592-1022. 

Discussing the Project and Questionnaire

To get started on a potential project, I will send you a complete Discovery Questionnaire. This will help both of us clearly define the scope of the project and ensure the best results.

 

I will send you the Questionnaire through Google Docs. Please return it to me as quickly as possible – for most clients that is between 1 and 3 business days.

 

After I receive the Discovery Questionnaire, I will review and study your answers, plus conduct any initial research needed. From there, I will send a short Project Roadmap. This will save you time and help us define the scope of the project. It will also be the basis for our Launch Call.

 

We will schedule a 20-minute Launch Call, typically by zoom, 3-10 days after I receive the Discover answers. During this call, we will discuss the Project Roadmap. I will listen to any additional directions or insights you have on the project.

 

Following that call, I will draft and send you an Agreement. If your legal team has an agreement, we can use that.

 

Investment and Getting Started

The Agreement will contain all the specifics on what exactly I will deliver, including the contact person from your organization I’ll be working with, and project deadlines. It will also list your investment for the project and terms of payment. (Note: I require 50% of the project total to begin. Most of my clients prefer to pay by bank wire or overnight payment.)

 

Once we have both signed the agreement and I receive the deposit, I will begin working on your copy as agreed.

 

Research 

My research process is very comprehensive. I begin with a complete review of your website and any other materials you send me. From there, I will research the market, including your competitors. In some cases, I will ask to visit with your marketing team, past clients, donors, or different department heads.

 

As needed, I will reach out to you for additional details, samples, and other resources.

 

You can be confident that I’ll quickly and effectively understand your mission, your voice, and your donor’s core emotional drivers.

 

Collaboration 

As we work on this project together, communication is critical. Some of my clients are very busy and prefer to hand off the project and review the first draft, with very little communication in between. Others like dealing with me on an almost daily basis and be involved at just about every step of the way.

 

Are you one of those, or somewhere in between?

 

Please send me an email at Amy@AmyHartsough.com and let me know how often you’d like to communicate and the best way to reach out to you (i.e., email, phone, social media, text, etc. … ). 

 

Finally, I strongly encourage you to become familiar with Google Docs. I do all of my writing with this word processing tool. It allows us to track changes, comment, and collaborate in real time. It can be shared with various team members and the working document is always the current document – no need to worry about sending wrong files or things getting lost.

 

Review of First Drafts 

Typically, you’ll receive the first draft in 10-14 business days, depending on the project size and scope.

 

When you get the first draft, please review it carefully. Also, have any applicable team members review it. The most important thing at this stage of the game is making sure that the tone, message, and offer are right. We’ll fine-tune during the second draft … and third draft, as needed.

 

Revisions 

After you review the initial draft, it is likely that you’ll want some things changed. Please note those changes using the comment feature inside of Google Docs. You can also suggest changes using the Edit Mode feature, which I’ll turn on when I share it with you.

 

I will review all your suggested changes within 24 hours of you submitting them to me. I will make my adjustments within 2-4 business days, depending on the breadth and complexity of your suggested changes.

 

In all cases, I recognize that these are your donors and will defer to you as much as possible.

 

Sometimes there are cases where my clients make suggestions that I know will not work and will hurt the effectiveness of a project. In those cases, you can expect me to be bold and direct in my feedback. When clients insist on changes that I feel will not work, I always recommend a simple A/B split test. Let the market vote.

 

Additional Reviews 

After the first round of changes, there may be some additional fine-tuning needed. You can be confident that I’ll gladly work with you until you are delighted with the copy. In most cases, my clients find that one review volley is enough. When more are needed, it is usually just one or two and the process goes quickly. Typically, we can get to a final copy within 1-3 business days.

 

Final Approval

 

Once all revisions are done, I will submit a final draft to you. At this point, you approve the copy by sending me an email stating that everything is ready for distribution.

 

Once I receive this final approval from you, I will invoice you for the remaining 50% of the project investment. The invoice is due upon receipt. I will make every effort to be prompt in responding to your requests and assume that, as a professional, you will do the same with my invoices.

 

In most cases, the final copy is sent to a designer for formatting. I strongly encourage you to send me a PDF of the final version. I will double check that any graphical elements added by your design team enhance the copy and make it more effective.

 

If I see something that is distracting and may hurt your response rates, I’ll be direct in letting you know. If requested, I’ll be happy to work with your design team to make any changes needed to make the end version as effective as possible.

 

Transition to New Projects 

Once the project is done, I provide all clients with a complimentary follow-up consultation. We spend a few minutes on the phone (or zoom) and discuss what went well and where improvements can be made.

 

We review the Discovery Questionnaire and discuss additional ways to uncover new donations. Where appropriate, we map out a new project to ensure that you continue to have excellent copy that meets your goals and grows your organization.