There is no single answer to this question. The best and most basic answer is that it is very much a human process.
We spend time in discussion with each client to discover what exactly they are hoping to achieve with their project. We clarify word counts and topic areas, what to include and what to avoid, style and voice.
Most importantly, we talk about audience. Who is your reader and what do they need from this written piece?
We then work with you to narrow down your messages and topic areas into clear and easily digestible ideas. We are able to manage as much of this conversation as you’d like.
Once a brief is agreed, the writing begins.
Some jobs involve numerous interviews with experts, in which case we will make contact and ensure they are fully briefed on, and comfortable with, their role.
Some projects require detailed research, which we are happy to carry out.
And some can be written quickly and easily, with minimal external input.
We have written 600-word professional blogs and 80,000-word books, 2000-word feature stories and 80-page annual reports, 150-character film synopses and 90-page TV scripts.
We have completed one major writing project that involved nine different trips to China over the space of two years!
That’s our way of saying that costing for each job must be considered individually after taking into account length, level of complexity and other matters, such as number of interviews required and location of those interviews.
As a general rule, editorial pieces and professional blogs cost around AUD$1 to $1.20/word + GST. Projects measured by the hour are charged at $150/hr + GST.
Unique projects, such as white papers, books, annual reports, etc., can only be costed after a full analysis of all requirements.
We’re happy to offer an estimate of cost early in the discussion with a new client.
That’s an excellent question. Fortunately this has only required answering once in our 20 years of operation. In that case, we did not charge. We instead offered a complete rewrite for free, because the fault was ours.
If the communication process is good prior to writing, and if sensible milestones are set, there is very little chance of a mismatch in expectations around the final product.
Of course, changes are sometimes requested. We are more than happy to offer one round of changes, free of charge.
If the client moves significantly away from the original brief (which is always agreed in writing before the job begins) then a project will be charged as a second and new job.
We’re journalists by trade, so at THE HARD WORD we’re no stranger to short deadlines.
One of our finest moments involved the completion of a 3000-word feature story (including interviews with three specialists) in just two days, for a client who found themselves in urgent need of excellent content.
When our clients require our assistance in meeting an apparently impossible deadline, we always deliver. Unless it really is impossible…
‘Great content’ will only ever be defined by your audience. Does it speak to them in a voice that they can relate to? Does it assume the correct level of knowledge? Is it immediately useful for them? Does it treat them with respect?
At THE HARD WORD we have well-tested processes to develop strong content ideas for specific audiences. These processes focus on the reader.
It’s also important to narrow down the idea as much as possible, to make it relatable and digestible.
Few want to read a story or book that promises to tell the full history of a business or brand, for instance. But instead tell a tale of an individual’s struggle to create something new, to innovate, to succeed when everybody told them they’d fail (telling the story of a business or brand from a personal perspective), and suddenly you’ve got a story that readers will thoroughly enjoy.
Great content is human content. And even when a human is not involved, there is always a way to tell a story in an engaging fashion. It’s about finding the value for the reader.
In the world of professional writing, track record is everything.
A great professional writer will have the ability to show numerous examples of work they have had published in the past for various clients and will be happy to provide references.
Great writers do not need to be experts in your arena, they are instead experts at writing. This means they know where to look for information and are accomplished interviewers.
They should, however, show at least a basic understanding of your field of expertise.
At THE HARD WORD, we are proud to have been able to accept, and write professionally on, every brief that has come our way - except the one about test match cricket…
Most importantly, a great professional writer will be somebody you can relate to and trust, and whose company you enjoy. After all, the writing process is a collaborative one.
Yes, we accept regular work. In fact, we’ve provided content to some of our clients for over a decade.
The work in the freelance professional writing world varies from one-off jobs to annual projects to monthly, weekly and sometimes even daily pieces.
We take care of the lot.
Journalism as we once knew it is dying a horrible death, yes!
But as traditional media has been slowly expiring, smart businesses have realised they’re now able to control their own messaging. They no longer have to rely on The Sydney Morning Herald to tell the market about their latest exploits.
This all adds up to the fact that the demand for quality writing has boomed as traditional media has decayed. Every business is its own publisher, and their audiences expect greater accuracy, authenticity and personalisation than ever before.
Interestingly, there are not as many great freelance professional writers as one might expect. Many old-guard journalists went into PR (bringing much-needed experience and improvement to that industry), or left the media altogether.
At THE HARD WORD, we value and promote those in our industry who do excellent work. When we’re managing a large project, we bring them on board. It’s good for us, good for our clients and good for our booming industry.