I’m very lucky. I’ve worked with lots of my clients for several years (ten years in a couple of cases). I’ve been thinking about the relationships I have with my clients and trying to understand the benefits that such long-standing relationships bring.
Many of the people I work with have become friends as well as clients
It’s a bit of an old cliché, but people do business with people. Whenever the phone rings I’m happy to pick it up because I can have a conversation with someone I like and respect, as well as work for. It makes for a very happy working environment. I’d like to think my clients feel the same in return.
The briefing process is very straightforward
I mean this in two different senses depending on the type of project I’m working on. In lots of cases it means that the brief can consist of just a couple of sentences because my client knows I’ll know what they mean and what’s required simply because I’ve worked with them for so long.
In other cases, normally when the document I’m writing is more technical and requires more information from the client, it means we can often talk in shorthand because I’ve built up background knowledge about the business.
In both cases, our longstanding relationship means we both save time and effort because there’s such a lot of understanding between us.
I’m a team member and an outsider
When you work with a company for a long time, you become a proxy member of the team. You build up a bank of knowledge about a company so you understand how it works. But at the same time you’re definitely still an outsider. This is very useful because while you understand a lot of things without needing to be told (see the previous point) you’re also distant enough to be able to quickly spot when something is using insider jargon or isn’t answering the needs of the target audience. It’s an invaluable perspective.
In short, I think it’s A Good Thing to build a longstanding relationship with your copywriter (well, any freelancer you work with). But what do I think are the components you need to build a longstanding relationship? I think there are three things:
- You instinctively like each other at a personal level
- You share the same values about what’s important
- You have mutual respect for each other’s abilities and strengths
If you’ve got a longstanding working relationship with someone, what do you value about it?
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