Consulting

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., is a marketing public relations consultant and content strategist to mission-led health and wellness service providers so they can achieve revenue and growth goals through dynamic audience centered brand content and storytelling that positively impacts engagement, increases influence, and builds high value returns on investment. Review her portfolio at sherri@sherrimclendon.com.

How We Work

We are a consultancy. We choose our clients based on potential for quality, mutually beneficial relationships based on shared core values, leadership, respect, and trust. We offer our clients a non-disclosure/non-compete client agreement, and our intellectual property contract returns the rights of all published work to the client.

As we want our clients to succeed greatly, we require a strategic approach to content. So while we may author articles, craft an email series, promote posts, write an e-book, plan and write a launch sequence, issue press releases, or provide sales or landing page content, our initial emphasis is on the “why,” and “who” not the “what.” When the tactic is informed by the strategy, the result is an investment, not an expense.

We emphasize benefits driven, call to action copy writing for all marketing storytelling.

The Entrepreneurial Model

As consultants, we anticipate payment in advance for those whose business will not yet support a retainer agreement. For these clients, we offer an affordable hybrid communications coaching model, with monthly strategy decisions followed by specific services fulfillment.

The Enterprise Model 

For enterprise clients, we offer retainer agreements suitable for clients with businesses cash flowing from the six figure range into the tens of millions. For those on a retainer agreement, the standard is monthly in advance. The retainer covers a pre-determined set of value based services to build and protect the client’s brand. Any work not covered via the retainer is invoiced in advance upon order by project or campaign benchmark.

Caveats

To be effective, our expert consultants

  • anticipate  non-hierarchical, cross departmental access to staff and team as needed
  • work both independently from and collaboratively with our clients.
  • charge for access to our expertise, education and experience.
  • require clarity regarding scope of work and timely payment as agreed

If an individual or agency is uncomfortable with maintaining clean financial transactions in a consulting relationship, we are not the right fit for their needs.

To that end, please understand what we are not.

The consultant should not be confused with in-house public relations or content marketing team members. We manage our own projects and project managers, and now require a client creative briefing for new campaigns which focuses the work and prevents client project leadership confusion. We are not subject to management by our clients, we do not provide invoice coding for client in-house accounts payable departments, and should not be privy to mass forwarded internal email communications. Should project management become unwieldy, we will provide and require use of project management solutions as part of the client relationship management service agreement.

Consultants also are not vendors, even if ad hoc services are provided to established clients as an extension of the consulting agreement. Finally, we are not freelancers. We do not sell press releases or articles as one-off pieces to those with whom we do not have an established relationships. We do not give away our expertise in order to get work orders.

Work and Cash Flow Expectations

In a consultancy, clients are responsible for terms outlaid in the consulting agreement, plus any project costs incurred while executing work or providing requested services on their behalf. Projects are added to invoices when the file is opened, costs are estimated based on professional norms and standards, and payment is due in advance of the delivery date unless a different fee schedule is agreed in advance. Any work falling outside the project parameters for clients is invoiced at an “administrative” rate. This offsets the costs of unforeseen developments or requirements which were not anticipated in advance by the client, but which required consultant action.

Fluid cash flow ensures fluid operations, which directly benefits the client. We invoice electronically, and accept and encourage prompt electronic payments by a range of means. Since 2010, we do not absorb client hard costs. We require a designated client credit card be kept on file to facilitate those transactions on the client’s behalf with prior approval. This helps us ensure ownership of assets remains with the client, not the consultant, and ensures we are not acting as a lending institution instead of a consultancy.

 

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