I've been chatting with a number of new potential clients lately, and realized I'm having very similar conversations with all of them. So this is something of an FAQ for people who think an outside writer might be able to support their efforts. While you don't need to have the answers to these questions before you contact me, it will save us both some time if you've started to think about them.
1. What's the audience? What do you want to accomplish with this? An article for an industry journal serves a different function than a press release or a brochure.
2. What's it about? What do you want people to know after they've read it that they don't know now? What response do you want?
3. How long is it? A 100-word event listing is not the same as a 500-word news story or a 2000-word feature.
4. What's your budget? Your timeframe? These two questions define what is and isn't reasonable. If you have a ten hour budget, but need a twenty hour project done by next week, we probably don't have much to talk about. But if you're able to be flexible about delivery, small projects can often fit into scheduling gaps.
5. What's the best use of your time? Often, handing off a large project is more cost effective than handing off a small one. The reason is that any writing project has planning, information gathering, writing, and editing components. You'll need to be involved in the planning and information gathering pieces anyway, whether you delegate the project or not. The real time savings comes from handing off the writing and editing components, which are proportionally larger for longer projects. Those components are where I add the most value, too.