There’s a popular saying in project management that goes something like this: “We offer three kinds of service: good, cheap, and fast. You can pick any two.” The idea behind the saying is that—despite the earnest desires of every client alive—it is impossible to provide a service that is simultaneously of high quality, inexpensive, and to provide the service quickly. If you want good work that is inexpensive, it will take a long time to produce, as the provider will constantly have to put better-paying work ahead of your task. If you want fast work that is also inexpensive, it won’t be of high quality—good work just takes time and that is that. If you want good work done fast, then you will need to pay what that intensive level of work is worth—and it will almost certainly be worth more than you want to pay.
I first encountered this saying when I was in graphic design, but I have seen it applied to almost every field of any sort of creative endeavor, from music composition and painting to architecture and computer programming. Creation of any sort just doesn’t come easy, and anyone looking to purchase creative services of any sort would do well to remember that.
But here’s something interesting that I’ve found writing content for apartment community websites: there is a way to get content for your website that is simultaneously fast, high-quality, and inexpensive. And I’m writing this article to let you in on the secret.
When it comes to writing content for apartment websites, it is possible to add a new category: no client involvement. See, when it comes to purchasing content for a website, most property managers or corporate executives don’t want to get too involved. They want to put in an order for content and then have that content produced and delivered without having to put in a whole lot of effort. And that’s fair—you property managers and executives are busy people with a lot of demands on your time. But putting in some time and effort of your own is the secret to hitting that golden trifecta of fast, good, and inexpensive.
Let me explain how it works. When a client requests content from me, there are a few steps to the process. First, I have to research the community; I need to find out what their best amenities are, what great locations are nearby—I need to figure out how best to sell these apartments to potential residents. Second, I have to figure out what sort of tone and style the property wants in their writing—how they want to present themselves. Third, I need to sit down and compose the content proper.
Now, if a client doesn’t want to be involved in the project at all, then there’s no way that I can do all of that quickly—all that research takes a lot of time, especially when the community I’m writing about is on the other side of the country, and time is money, right? I can speed things up and lower the price by skipping all of that research . . . but then the quality of the content will suffer. It’s just not possible to write high-quality content about a community that I know nothing about, no matter how hard clients might wish. If only there were some way for me to get all that information about the community, its location, and its style without having to do all that research…
You see where I’m going? You are the source of all that information. You know the selling points of your property, you know the tone that you’re trying to convey. If you will work with me, then I can potentially deliver some content that is good, fast, and inexpensive. We can make that happen if you will do two things: 1) Be Available—don’t expect me to know the things you do if you don’t take the time to impart that knowledge to me and to answer new questions that come up. 2) Be Specific—don’t just tell me that you want the content to be “more trendy” or “more refined.” Vague terms like that are next to useless to a content writer that is trying to create quality work for you! Tell me exactly which words bother you and need to be left out, exactly which phrases feel out of place. Give me precise descriptions of the words and phrases that you do like, and show me specific examples of other websites that you feel hit the tone you’re looking for.
If it sounds like I’m asking you to do part of my job for me, well . . . you’re not wrong. I’m asking you to give me a hand, to share the knowledge you have so that I can manage the impossible: delivering content that is simultaneously fast, good, and inexpensive.