Let me guess. You’re finding yourself trying to keep your project timeline on course but keep getting frustrated that your client doesn’t have their copy and photos ready?
As a designer, I see it all the time. Designers struggling to keep their website projects on task because they’re spending so much time chasing down clients to get their content on time. And I get it! Not getting content quickly can be incredibly frustrating and can be a huge hurdle in any website project.
Not getting content on time can lead to:
Totally frustrating, right?! Here’s a few ways to get content on time from your clients:
Make it clear from the very beginning what your expectations are for the project and of the client. Let your client know ahead of time that they’ll need to provide content for their website. Talk about it during the sales call. During this first mention of the content, ask if they’ll be writing their own copy or plan to work with a copywriter. This will set you up to know what process they will be going through and give them some urgency to get started on it. To ensure that the process gets started, let them know your start date for the project and ask them if that gives them enough time to get their content together. I also like to encourage them to keep me in the loop on where the process is at as the start date approaches. This is so that I am not in the dark just hoping that the process is moving along and will be ready in time.
When setting expectations also give specific due-dates. This could be in your contract, welcome guide, and in your project management systems. Having these due-dates appear in multiple areas will leave no question about this expectation.
Set clear expectations on what happens if you don’t get the content on time. This could be delayed project timelines, late fees, paused projects or even canceling the project all together. These may seem harsh and scary to implement, but enforcing these are necessary for maintaining your boundaries, keeping projects moving, and ensuring your project stays profitable. Though nobody wants for these to happen it is important to have a plan set and in place to protect yourself and your time just in case any sticky situations do come up.
If you’re using a project management system to keep your project organized, set up reminder notifications for you client for when content is due. This way you can clear some brain space and you don’t have to manually send nagging emails to them. These reminders can be straight to the point and professional without any stress or time wasted on your end.
If your client is choosing to write their copy instead of outsourcing it to a copywriter, you can choose to guide them in the process. Writing copy for yourself can be really hard! Which is why I’ve created a little something to help out. The Prompt Copy Workbook is the done-for-you template for any designer who wants to get copy quickly from their client without having to send another nagging email. The template is perfect if you are working with service providers and includes prompts for Homepage, About, Services, Blog, Contact, and FAQs.
Navigating project timelines can take some time and practice, so don’t give up! You’ll find that with each new project it comes more and more naturally. Plus it will save you time and a headache. If you want to learn about my secret to nailing any sales call, check out this blog post. Or if your client isn’t quite understanding just how important brand photos are for a strong website, check out this blog post. But most importantly, check out the Prompt Copy Workbook as a resource to obtain the content that you need to keep all your website projects on track.