At FitchInk, we’re fortunate to have a well-rounded mix of talent: savvy writers and editors, industry-leading designers and illustrators, and social strategists who’ve developed audiences for well-known brands and startups alike. We believe in the value of bringing every aspect of your content under one roof. This ensures consistency and can drive down costs. But sometimes a company has good reason to use separate teams for long-form content, social media and video — whether that’s to harness a particular industry expertise, eke out incremental savings or maintain important business connections.
When multiple vendors are working together, it can be tricky to create a seamless and functional workflow that best serves the client — but not impossible. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way.
Develop a relationship with the other vendors. Being able to communicate openly and collegially one on one makes things so much easier. In a perfect world, every vendor on an account is pulling in the same direction with the singular goal of making the client happy. But in reality, vendors can end up feeling like they’re competing for favor or budget, and the unease, distrust or even acrimony that can lead to is simply not good — for the client, or for vendors. Clients should keep this in mind when introducing new vendors, and the vendors themselves should take steps to get to know and trust one another. The more everyone feels like one team with a shared mission, the better off everyone is in the long run (because let’s not forget that clients may come and go, but friendly relationships between vendors can yield new referral business down the road).
Learn one another’s needs/personnel/jargon/workflow. Every team has its quirks, preferred methods of communication and general ways of doing things. It’s important to quickly familiarize yourself with all of these. For example, if your content team knows that a social vendor usually needs photos or videos in a certain format, it can source them properly at the outset (rather than spending precious man-hours reformatting files later on). Likewise, if your social team has multiple specialists working on an account, be sure to introduce them by name and responsibilities. That way the client and content team know precisely whom to contact with a given question. What’s more, social vendors might have jargon that the content team doesn’t use that hinders understanding and efficiency (and same on our end — using journalese is a habit that dies hard). This saves everybody time and engenders good will.
Communicate deadlines. It’s not fun to be juggling several editing tasks and meetings and then, while you’re on an important client call, get a panicked email asking for copy or an asset because a different vendor needs it RIGHT NOW. It’s much better to know what’s coming down the pike so you can plan accordingly and not have to risk lower quality in return for speed. That’s why we recommend creating a shared editorial calendar that clearly details what’s being published when and where, where assets are in the production cycle, etc. Whether you use cloud-based products such as Airtable or Google Sheets, or even a regularly updated local file, the editorial calendar is a powerful tool for every content-marketing operation.
If you’re the client, demand quality and consistency. Not every social vendor shares the same standards when it comes to matters such as accuracy, grammar and typos. At FitchInk, we have zero tolerance for errors. That isn’t to say we’re perfect — who is? — and while we know it’s hard to properly convey a story in 225 characters in a way that makes people want to click, it’s disheartening to see a social promotion for copy we’ve written that contains typos or other mistakes. Ditto for factual accuracy. Distilling a 2,000-word story about a highly technical topic into a 90-second video is tricky work, but if your social team members aren’t close readers, there’s a real risk of putting incorrect information out there under your brand name. Long story short: If you’re paying for premium long-form content, you should also expect premium social content.
Are you interested in premium content? We’d love to talk with you. Long-form, short-form, any form — our team can help. Contact us today.