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How Draft.dev Works with Clients

Since I started Draft.dev, our team and the number of clients we work with has grown a lot. With this growth has come the need for robust, consistent processes that help us ensure that each client gets the absolute best, highest-quality technical content possible.

One thing I value in our interactions with clients is transparency. We need clients to be transparent about their expectations, and we have to be transparent about our timeline and capabilities. In other words, if we can’t do what a client needs, we’ll tell them.

Our Process for Working with Clients

In the further interest of transparency, I’m going to share our entire client onboarding process as it stands today. While things occasionally deviate, you might find it helpful to see the whole thing laid out. Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of what to expect as you consider or start your engagement with Draft.dev.

Typically, onboarding takes 6-9 weeks between when we sign a statement of work and when your first article is completed.

Map of the whole client onboarding process at Draft.dev

The timeline may increase if we’re fully booked though, so be sure to check with us if you need hard deadlines.

1. Discovery Call

Before we begin working with a new client, we want to make sure we’re a good fit for you. In our 30-minute discovery session, we’ll ask you where your business is at, what your content goals are, and the type of content you’re looking to produce.

Based on this call, we’ll follow up with samples of our various types of content and next steps, or we’ll refer you to another content provider who’s a better fit.

Schedule a call with me at Draft.dev

2. Statement of Work and Timeline

We almost always have a backlog of new clients waiting to start, so once you’re ready to reserve a spot in our production calendar, we’ll send over an estimated timeline and statement of work. This allows us to ensure we have enough writers and editors ready to help maintain our rigorous quality standards, and that both parties are on the same page as far as scope of work is concerned.

3. Commit to Specific Topics

Clients have two options for deciding on the topics they want us to write about:

  1. You can send us a list of proposed topics (we have an intake form that will walk you through this).
  2. We can conduct a topic discovery process for you.

If you have your own topics based on keyword research or conversations with customers, we’ll use them to create a content plan for you. If you don’t, our topic discovery process is a great option. Using search engine keyword or community-based research, we’ll define multiple topic clusters and topics that will help you increase traffic to your content.

Our topic discovery process typically takes a week and requires just a bit more input from you, so it will save you a lot of time if you’re not already familiar with building topic clusters.

4. Approve Briefs and Outlines

With topics in hand, we’ll create detailed briefs and outlines for each piece. By breaking down each post and detailing the exact expectations before we start writing, we can ensure that expectations are clear for our writers and editors.

Once you approve the briefs and outlines, we’ll get them into our CMS and send over a finalized production schedule. Typically, this won’t deviate much from the proposal unless you need more time to review and approve the briefs.

Your team reads and approves each brief before we send it to a writer

5. First Payment

When we lock in your outlines, we’ll arrange a payment method with you. We offer quarterly payments by default or monthly payments for a small premium. Most clients pay by credit card or bank transfer, but we can accomodate custom invoicing options as well.

Payment plans at Draft.dev

6. Production Starts

At this point, we’ve already started recruiting writers, and now that your briefs are in our system, we will start assigning them to our writers. Because our writers are practicing software engineers (most with day jobs), you’ll likely have several writers assigned to your content over the course of the engagement. That said, our skilled editing team ensures that the quality and tone of each piece are consistent with our style guide and your preferences.

Finally, if your piece requires custom illustrations or application diagrams, we work with designers to create the assets you need. The goal is for each piece to come back to you ready to publish.

7. Delivery of First Article

Your first article will usually be ready around four weeks after your briefs are approved. Additional content rolls in after that. While we invest a lot of time planning out content with each new client, we expect to accommodate minor revisions on the first article or two as we figure out your style and preferences.

You have up to two weeks to request changes on each article, but if we can’t make it right in that time, we’re happy to rewrite or refund you for the piece. This is exceedingly rare, but it’s important to us that our content meets your expectations.

8. Repeat

After the first article is sent, you’ll start receiving new content every week (sometimes multiple times a week), based on your production schedule. We work hard in the planning process up front to ensure we can deliver content consistently. That said, we do occasionally need to swap the order of articles based on writer availability and expertise.

About halfway through your first three-month engagement, we’ll start to talk about coming up with more topics and renewing your plan. We work on obtaining the next set of topics a month before your last article is delivered. That way, there is usually no lag in content delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

While that covers the basics, you probably have a few questions. Feel free to book a call with us or check out some of our FAQ below.

How quickly can you get started?

Because we’re a service-based business that relies on real humans to write and edit each article, we can’t start overnight. Typically, it takes six to eight weeks between signing our Statement of Work (SOW) and receiving your first piece of content.

We do not currently offer an option to “jump the line,” but if we are able to increase capacity or another client is delayed, we will move you up accordingly.

What if we don’t know the topics yet?

If you know you want to start creating technical content, but you’re not sure where to start, we can help. We use a proven method for generating topic clusters around keywords relevant to your business. This will help you start to rank highly in search engines for terms that your readers are likely searching for.

That said, many of our clients prefer to use their own method to select topics. We fully support both methods and defer to you in deciding which would work best for your business.

What kind of articles can you write?

Broadly speaking, we break blog posts down into four types, and we focus on content aimed at software developers, data engineers, technical leaders, and sysadmins.

Typically, we don’t write content that involves inside knowledge of your company or tool, but we can write tutorials based on public-facing APIs or the documented features of your tool. We can also write comparisons, high-level guides, introductions to technical topics, roundups (or listicles), and persuasive pieces.

Do you do ghostwriting?

Yes, but it follows a different process and pricing model.

Our standard content authors are technical experts who write to showcase their expertise and learn new things.

For ghostwriting, we’ll pair you up with a dedicated writer and account manager who will interview you and work specifically on each piece.

Can I start with a trial article?

We don’t currently offer trial articles to prospective clients, but we are happy to send you additional samples. We also offer revisions, rewrites, or refunds if you’re ever unsatisfied with our work.

How much does it cost?

Packages start at $18,000 per quarter, but we invite you to book a call for the most up-to-date pricing and packages. Most clients start with a quarterly pilot and renew according to their needs each quarter.

Want to Get Started?

Now that you know exactly what to expect when you start your engagement with Draft.dev, I’d love to hear from you. To get started, book a call with us and learn more about how Draft.dev can help you create in-depth, technical content that resonates with your audience.

Karl Hughes

By Karl Hughes

Karl is a former startup CTO and the founder of Draft.dev. He writes about technical blogging and content management.