In April, the Digital Copywriter Spring Challenge was to write an information packet. And, it was the perfect challenge for me. I had been toying around with the idea of creating an info packet, but I wasn’t sure where to start, so I’d been procrastinating.
The challenge was just the push I needed to get moving.
What Is an Information Packet?
An information packet is simply a collection of details you gather together and organize, so you have it ready to share with potential clients. Inside, you lay out your policies and procedures, so you can give potential clients an idea of what to expect when they work with you.
Your info packet might also include details about your background, a list of other clients you’ve worked with, and even short samples of your work.
The Benefits of an Information Packet
Having an information packet in your marketing toolbox can give you a number of advantages.
It’s something tangible you can give to prospective clients to help them get a feel for how you work and what they can expect when they hire you as a writer. This helps them see if you’re a good fit for their project.
It can eliminate clients who aren’t a good fit before you invest time on a discovery call with them.
And, if you include pricing, it can help weed out those who aren’t willing to pay your rates.
But, the most important benefits are for you.
First, you’re creating a business asset you can use over and over again. Having this asset to give to potential clients can answer their questions before they even ask them… and that will save you a lot of time. (This is going to be really important as you get busier.)
Second, while you can find work without an info packet, having one signals to potential clients that you’re a professional, inspiring confidence you can do the job they need.
But, most importantly, an information packet forces you to define your workflow and writing process.
When you lay out your process on paper, you’ll see the holes you need to address. Creating an info packet gets you thinking about your process, and that means you can decide what steps you’ll take to get your clients the results they desire. This will pay dividends down the road, helping you to keep projects on track and avoid missing steps.
Getting all this information together and laid out in an organized manner will save you a lot of mental and emotional energy… energy you can spend on serving your clients going forward.
What to Include in Your Info Packet
So, how did I decide what to include in my information packet?
First, I watched Heather’s Info Packet Challenge Kick-Off Webinar. I took a lot of notes and a few screenshots of the samples Heather shared, like the mini-case-study example.
I also referenced AWAI’s resource called How to See a Client Project Through (Start to Finish!). But, I still wasn’t sure I had everything I needed. It felt a little sparse. So, I turned to everyone’s good friend, Google.
I also found a Canva template from the Styled Stock Society. I’ll discuss this more in the Design section, but the pages in the Styled Stock Society’s Service and Pricing Guide influenced some of my choices about what to include.
Inside my Information Packet, I have…
A Welcome Page
The welcome page is a single page that tells the reader who you are and how you’re going to help them. While you might be tempted to think of it as an “About” page, don’t make that mistake. You can include a line or two about yourself, but the focus should be on your clients and the results you’ll deliver for them.
I am very fortunate to have a handful of good testimonials. But, if you don’t have any testimonials yet, make that your number one goal. If you haven’t done any client work, see if you can get a couple of testimonials from an employer, a coworker, a community leader, a volunteer coordinator, or even an accountability partner.
Your testimonial doesn’t have to be about your writing skills. Ask if they’ll talk about how easy you are to work with. Or, that you’re reliable or well-spoken or you have a flair for getting along with everyone. Use those types of testimonials until you have some from client work.
A List of Services
What services will you provide?
It’s important to select what you’ll include carefully. You may provide 27 different service packages, but you don’t want to list that many in your packet.
First, too many options will likely confuse and overwhelm your potential client.
Second, they may not know what they need. You’ll find out what they need during the discovery call, and then you can make your package recommendations based on what you’ve learned. But, if you have a huge list, they might feel pressured to choose something they don’t need, because they don’t know for sure what will best help them reach their goals.
To keep it simple, just list two or three services you provide. (And remember, if they ask for something you don’t know how to do, AWAI probably has a course that can help you learn how.)
This is where the fun begins. And, this is why I really wanted to create an information packet.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve run into as a copywriter is making the mindset shift from employee/contractor to the business owner. Most of my clients have been bigger businesses that are used to working with freelancers. They have a system in place, and I work within it.
What I had to learn was what my system would be when I worked with a client who needed me to guide them through the process. The information packet was my way of figuring that out before an actual client needed me to provide that direction.
Many of the process details are just common sense. But, you can always make changes and update your packet as you work with more clients and get more experience.
A Communication Page
The communication page idea I pulled from Erin Flynn’s teaching. She says you should let clients know up front when and how they can reach you. It will cut back on clients overstepping boundaries (no 2:00 a..m text messages), and it will help reassure the client they can get in touch with you if they have questions or concerns.
I know when I hire someone to do work for me, I like knowing what the payment policies are. Do they take credit cards? Do they expect to be paid up front or when they complete the job? Having this kind of information makes the hiring process easier and helps with budgeting, especially for pricey jobs.
I wanted to offer the same courtesy to my clients. For jobs under $1,000, they need to pay in full before I begin working.
For jobs over $1,000, half up front to reserve my time, and the other half due upon completion. Or 60 days, whichever comes first.
The 60 days clause comes from Flynn. She was a website designer, so it wasn’t completely unreasonable that projects might take longer than 60 days. Having the 60-day clause keeps clients from dragging work out to delay the payment process.
I included portfolio samples in my info packet.
When I update my packet, I might change that to direct readers to my portfolio on my website. Or, I may include links directly to my other clients’ websites, where they can read my work in full.
But, however you decide to handle this section, some clients will want to see samples, so make sure they’re available somewhere.
Instructions on How to Book a Call
This last page is very important, because you want to tell your prospective client exactly which action they should take next. This is another area I’m planning to change with my next version.
I do have a call to action. I invite them to email me with questions OR book an inquiry call. I need to change that and direct them to book a call, during which I can answer all their questions. If I give them an option to email me, I’m afraid it will lead to a lot of back and forth. It will be easier for everyone if we hop on Zoom. I can answer all their questions and get all the information I need to draft a proposal for a project that will get them the results they’re looking for.
Whatever your desired next action is, spell it out clearly, so there’s no confusion on their part. If they want to work with you, what is their next step? Tell them exactly what that step is.
The Design Process
I love a pretty portfolio or pdf, but I don’t have a design bone in my body. Not a one. If you’re like me, you can still create a beautiful, professional-looking packet.
Styled Stock Society is a stock photo membership where you can download stock photography to use in your blog posts, social media posts, newsletters, and anywhere else you might need. You’ll also find templates for things like Facebook Ads, printable workbooks, and welcome packets.
Elle, the founder of Styled Stock Society, builds these templates in Canva, where you can change the colors, the fonts, the messaging, the photos, and anything you want, so the branding matches your business. (Canva is online graphic design software that’s easy to use.)
I loosely followed Elle’s layout, switching up a few pages to make it more my own and to match how I wanted my packet to look. I changed the colors and photos to match my brand. And, I added the pages and text I planned out in the prior steps.
The result was a beautiful, professional packet I’m proud to show clients.
Are You Ready to Create Your Info Packet?
I’m so happy I created this information packet.
Not only did I create a piece of content I can use repeatedly to help potential clients decide if they want to work with me, but creating this packet forced me to sit down and put my thoughts on paper.
So often, we carry our ideas and plans around in our heads, but when you write it out, you gain so much clarity, not only about the business you want to create, but about the ways you can help your clients. And, instead of winging it when it comes time to work with a client who doesn’t have a system in place, you have a well-thought-out process you can fall back on.