The Benefits of Collaboration

First of all – Success! I submitted a post to Media Bistro’s blog, We the ‘Bistro and had it posted. While it’s not content I’ll get paid for, it is already having more of an impact than the ezine article did – I can actually see several people in my wordpress traffic info who have come to my blog directly from the Media Bistro post.

I’ve also added this, my ezine article and my online resume to my portfolio. Check them out!

Now, onto our topic if the day: Collaboration.

A topic Parker discusses in Chapter 2 is the importance of collaboration. No one writer can do all things. No one person can.

Instead, Parker advocates setting up mutually beneficial relationships – with PR personnel, web designers, graphic designers, marketing companies, etc etc. Those companies can pass work onto you/me/the writer when they need content created and you/me/the writer can pass design work or PR work on to them when it comes our way.

Not only does is this a great source of new leads for each of the parties involved, but it means you don’t have to tell a client “no” or send them looking for someone else just because they need a service you don’t specifically cover. In the chapter, Parker discusses the advantages and disadvantages of subcontracting or keeping the different services separate.

As someone who has dabbled a little in a lot, and not much in anything other than writing, networking this way seemed ideal to me. I already know a few people who seemed like perfect fits – I know a PR person who I’ve already recommended one client talk to, and I know a few designers. My biggest concern, however, is that I am not currently set up to subcontract out work. I hope to be soon, but I’m not yet, so I’d like to keep all invoicing separate and have each of my “partners” work directly with my clients. Parker also mentions that the “formality” of the agreement (ie. written or verbal) is up to the partners involved.

In my case, I like there to be a written agreement, even if it’s not officially legally binding, just so that I know we’re both on the same page (literally). That way, we each know exactly what we’re responsible for and what role we will play with “our” clients.

I’m currently working to set up a few different partnerships with other professionals – at the moment I’m discussing some ideas with a web designer, need to get back in touch with someone in graphic design that I haven’t talked to in a while, and am checking out some new graphic designers. My hope is that I’ll have a small stable of people to call on, according to my clients’ needs and what is most appropriate for the project at hand.

Parkers’ other word of advice on this topic was slightly more surprising – she recommends working with your competition… well to a small extent. The idea here is that if something happens and 1) you have more work than you can handle or 2) an emergency arises and you can’t finish a project or projects that you’ve taken on you’ll have someone whose work you are familiar with and who you are comfortable passing work onto – and again, they can do the same with you.

Some points to take away:
– Networking is a great way to set up mutually beneficial relationships
– Those relationships can be a source of leads and new clients
– They also ensure that you don’t have to turn a client away or lose a client because you can’t meet all his or her needs
– Writers should decided ahead of time how their partnership will work : sub-contracting or as separate services
– Engage your competition too! You may need them in the case of an emergency.
– Decide if you are comfortable have a verbal agreement or if you need a written contract; in either case discuss
responsibilities and who will be dealing directly with the client(s).

(PS. Let me know what you think about the “points to take away!” If it’s useful, I’ll try to do it regularly)

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