As a technical writer, I depend heavily on other people when it comes to certain projects. Even if you’re not a writer, chances are there are times where you have to work with others and rely on their expertise. This can be especially challenging when it comes to developing written content like articles, case studies, or white papers. A lot of people do not like to write. The process can become even more overwhelming when multiple people are involved in the writing as well as the review that follows.
It’s usually never too early to email someone about a project. Not only does this give you the chance to explain the requirements and details ahead of time, it lets everyone involved know that a paper or an article needs to be written. This saves you from scrambling at the last minute to get something done. It also makes following up much easier. Sometimes explaining the requirements can be tricky and it will take a while to figure out how to word it just right. If you do it early on, it will be effortless to forward the email later on.
Do It Yourself if You Can
If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. That’s about how the saying goes, right? It might make things easier if you could do everything yourself, but there is a good reason you’re working with specific SMEs. You’re working with people specifically because they’re experts in certain fields and have knowledge and experience others don’t.
While you can’t do the writing yourself, you can write an outline, write up some suggestions, or ask questions. A starting point for any kind of writing goes a long way.
Be consistent about following up your initial email. Things are easily hectic and busy for most people at work and sometimes people can just forget. You don’t need to send out a reminder email every day, but don’t question sending out however many messages you need to send.
Work Outside of Email
If you have the luxury of working with someone who sits across the office from you, use it to your advantage. It’s always easier to communicate in person because there is instant feedback from both sides. A lot of times you can easily strike up a conversation about the project and get a lot done just by talking for a few minutes.
If you’re working remotely with someone, try calling instead of emailing. A lot of the same principles of an in-person conversation apply to talking over the phone.
This is all it comes down to at the end. If you’re not getting a response from someone, keep at it. I know you don’t like to annoy people and people don’t like to be annoyed, but don’t think of it as that. This is your job. Go about it in a consistent way and you can’t go wrong.