Like many freelancers, most of my work is carried out remotely. I occasionally have new clients expressing concern that they won’t actually meet me, and I think it’s reasonable to feel apprehensive about this. After all, how can you build rapport with someone you never see?
Based in Cornwall, I rarely get to attend actual meetings. Many of my clients are at least 100 miles away (or “upcountry” as we all call it, with a lovely geographical vagueness). At the tip of the country, West Cornwall has a rich seam of freelance creatives: here, remote working is a cultural norm.
Of course, we have some great technological assistants: Skype and FaceTime are fantastic and accessible to most people, and the good, old-fashioned telephone shouldn’t be forgotten. Sharing photographs and short films helps the writer get the sense of a place without going on site. However, copywriters have an extra advantage – we specialise in communicating with people we never meet.
Copywriters build rapport. Simple – it’s what we do. Most of our working lives are spent speaking to clients’ audiences. Our very job is to communicate remotely. We can adapt this skill to ensure that our client-contractor relationships still develop the empathy that good ongoing working partnerships have. And as many clients also specialise in customer communication in their various businesses, they too have the skills to manage remote relationships.
Of course, remote working has other tangible advantages. It can certainly save the client money – travel expenses, plus the cost of bringing people in for meetings. I will often come off the phone with a client and get straight on with the job, with no time wasted and everything fresh in my mind. It’s an effective way to work. I have regular clients that I’ve never met – although if we ever find ourselves in the same place, I’d love to go for a coffee!
So, don’t worry if you never meet your copywriter face-to-face. We can build an excellent remote working relationship and produce some great work – together.