Have you ever scheduled a meeting with a potential client or business partner and realized that you don't have any materials that show the recent great projects that you have completed? By developing a process for creating project sheets, you help eliminate some of the marketing chaos and ensure that your best projects are represented in your portfolio.
Not sure how to get started? No problem! The first step is to begin tracking project data. The tracking system should include information such as full project name, location, square footage, other key team members, estimated project value and completion date. Basic information about projects can be used for a variety of materials including project experience lists, news releases, project descriptions and proposals. Project sheets should also include a paragraph that describes the project. To aid in the creation of this paragraph, ask open ended questions such as "What is unique about this project?" and "What were some of the challenges faced on this project?"
It is important to remember that looks count. Creating a project sheet that is visually appealing requires good project photos. Good photography can help sell your next project for you. Before setting out to take photos, make sure your digital camera can take high-resolution photos (300 dpi). If you are unsure if your camera can take high-resolution photos, simply use a 35-millimeter camera and scan the photos in at the proper resolution. Another alternative is to hire a professional photographer.
After all the information is gathered, it is time to develop a template for all project sheets. The template should include your logo, website address and directions for placement of text. Ensure that your template is reader-friendly and laid out in a logical manner. Readers should be able to move easily from the photos to the text.
The great thing about project sheets is their versatility. They can be used in proposals, as leave-behinds after meetings and as introductory pieces. The information that you have gathered for the sheets will prove to be very helpful for other marketing tactics such as project profiles on your website, background information for press releases and the first step of an award submittal. Remember to stick to a defined process for gathering information and creating the sheets in order to maintain an up-to-date portfolio.
Feel free to contact AOE if you need help getting started!