All you have to do is pose a question in a WordPress Facebook group or other WordPress-focused forum regarding getting content from the client. Chances are you will get a litany of responses that clearly indicate this a large and common problem for both WordPress agencies and independent consultants.
The answer to this problem can be simple but most WordPress practitioners aren’t willing to take the time necessary to employ these 4 best practices.
1. Use a Repeatable Process for Estimating Content Needs
You need a repeatable process that you can refine over time so that you improve your estimating skills regarding the content needs for a project. For example, I have created the WP Roadmaps Website Content Catalog and Estimating Tool (spreadsheet) that takes your imported site map pages and allows you to quickly determine a rough order of magnitude for the proposal (among other calculations). This will be available along with the Content Collection Roadmap that I am expecting to release in the next week or so.
When you break down the content needs like this, and share it with the client, it has a huge impact on their decision whether to try and craft the content themselves, hire you to do it, or take on a third party solution. Repetitively using the same process means you will become more and more precise in your estimating over time and can use this also as a selling point.
2. Set Client Expectations Regarding Content Early and Consistently
If you haven’t adopted a content-first design approach (and mindset), you are probably doing your client a disservice. But that is another topic for another article.
Regardless of when you are dealing with content-related activities, content should be highlighted in all meetings with the client as well as your project-defining documents (proposal, statement of work, etc.). When you consistently (and gently) remind the client of their role in content activities and the potential impact of delays (make it scary), the client is more likely to complete their activities as agreed.
Here is a list of the many places you have the opportunity to set the proper content-related expectations for the client. The Content Collection Roadmap will include more specific instructions and example language for each of these.
- Initial Client Meeting
- Scope of Work
- Proposed Solution/Deliverables
- Timing Estimates
- General Agreements
- Project Management Approach
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Change Management Plan/Process
- Proposal Presentation
- Statement of Work Presentation
- Regular Status Meetings or Reports
3. Incentivize the Client for Meeting Deadlines
In situations where the client insists on getting their own content together and you have a sense there might be delays, then work in some incentives to get them to comply. Here are some possible ideas:
- $500 discount if the client does not miss any deadlines for content delivery
- A point system for all content delivered in the proper format, a certain number of points = a certain discount.
- If you have a large email list or some other marketing mechanism that could benefit your client, promise to promote them if they meet their dates.
Depending on the client, you may come up with some different incentives.
4. Automate Where Possible
There are a number of online tools that will allow you to create a sitemap, translate that into content collection forms, set it up so your clients log in to upload content, and other website planning tasks.
The objective here is twofold: 1)increase your efficiency and 2)make the process easy (and fun) for the client. The easier and more pain-free you can make the process, the more likely the client will get the work done. For most clients, using an online tool fits that bill. Others may be more comfortable with a paper-based system.
Here are a few examples of online website planning tools. Some have free plans but, of course, you get more features with a paid plan. You should do your own research and determine which might work best for your processes. I personally use Slickplan but I am not affiliated with any of the products listed below.
By implementing these best practices, you increase the likelihood of your client complying with the content tasks on the project schedule because you are:
· Showing them the magnitude of the content tasks (in numbers).
· Reminding them often of their responsibilities and the incentives they will receive if they meet their agreed-upon dates.
· Using online tools and other techniques to make the content collection task fun and painless.
Want the entire roadmap for creating, collecting, and organizing content for your WordPress project? Stay tuned because I will be releasing the WordPress Website Content Collection Roadmap in the next few days!