DSR Ghostwriting
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DSR Ghostwriting

What’s A Normal Lead Time For Freelance Writing Projects?

Freelance writing project lead times can vary depending upon several factors

One of the first things that many prospective clients want to know is what the average lead time for a piece of writing is?

In other words, how long after submitting a brief can clients expect to have a first draft back.

The only true answer is it depends.

The short and sweet answer is this:

For articles and blogs, I advise clients to factor in a lead time of between three and six business days per draft. For other, longer, projects — it really depends upon the project and the milestones that have been agreed.

Now, here are the factors that the exact answer depends upon.

New. vs Existing Clients

Writing for a new client tends to take a lot longer, initially, than writing for an existing client.

Why is this?

For one, every client has slightly different needs and expectations when it comes to the writing they wish to have produced.

Every client also has a different competitor landscape with different voices dominating the leading conversations taking place in it. Almost all clients do something that is at least somewhat unique.

The onboarding process for a new client relationship can also slow down the production of deliverables, at least at the beginning. There might be NDAs to be signed off on, internal style guides to be reviewed, and initial background reading material to be sifted through.

For this reason, I tend to give more conservative turnaround estimates for clients I have just started working with — unless what they’re asking for is something that I am already extremely familiar with.

Desk Research Required

Additionally, many clients ask that writers undertake desk research, or background reading, in order to undertake their projects. Typically, I will build these into a quote. But they still, of course, take time.

Clients might ask me to:

  • Watch a recording of a webinar and extract the key insights
  • Read a detailed Gartner research note in order to get up to speed on an industry topic
  • View the playback from a conference panel and expand upon a CxO’s talking points

The more desk research and/or background reading is required, the longer the lead time will be for a project.

Current Client Load

My client load fluctuates from week to week and month. My lead times varies according to the work that I am currently undertaking.

I also give priority to clients that are on fixed contracts or who provide recurring work versus those who are looking for once-off or ad hoc projects.

Can You Get This To Us Tomorrow?

In general, I “plan” my week’s writing, by committing to projects, one to two weeks in advance.

For this reason, I’m not typically able to facilitate rush jobs, “we need this tomorrow” requests, or fast turnaround projects.

Should We Agree On Deadline?

When preparing a brief, I ask that clients coordinate a deadline with me while also stating their preferred turnaround date so that I can do my best to meet or exceed it.

If we’re already working together, and we’ve spoken about and agreed upon a turnaround time, then — excepting upcoming holidays — it’s safe to assume that I’ll be able to delivery according to my usual timeframe.

Originally published at https://dsrghostwriting.com




DSR Ghostwriting specializes in providing long-form thought leadership writing services to B2B technology and public affairs clients. Pieces here cover freelancing, ghostwriting, and using writing to build influence and personal brand awareness.

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Daniel Rosehill

Daniel Rosehill

Daytime: writing for other people. Nighttime: writing for me. Or the other way round. Enjoys: Linux, tech, beer, random things. https://www.danielrosehill.com

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