Smooth Sailing Ahead: Rebuilding the Client/Writer Relationship After the Storm

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All good relationships eventually sail into hurricane-force winds and the rapport between a content marketing client and their writer is no exception. When storms blow up, it can take some crafty maneuvering to get away without taking on water. But unless you want your ship to sink entirely into that deep, blue abyss, you must learn the best way of working with your crew.

Working with writers, just like sailing, is all about teamwork.

Think of your project as the ship that’s carrying you on to your destination. As the client, you’re the captain of this vessel, and your writers are the crew. They’re the ones who manipulate the winds to help get your ship moving in the right direction. They do it through skillful wordplay and knowledge of SEO. The winds are your readers — they’ll help propel you along if they’re strong enough in number, if they click through to checkout, and if they make a conversion before clicking away.

Whether the winds fill your sails with motion or leave you dead at sea depends on how skillfully your crew reads and responds to them when they come gusting through.

If miscommunication or personal differences have caused a mutiny between your writers and you, it might be time to re-think your float plan:

  • Ask your writer which method of communication he prefers. Some artistic types are open to Skype or phone calls. Others prefer text or email. Try to be open to both new and old forms of communication.
  • Don’t ask your writer to violate the Terms of Service on whatever platform you’re both working. Doing so could sink you both, and quickly.
  • Try not to micro-manage your writer. If you’re currently working with a writer or writers who need this type of attention, it might be time to find a new crew member.
  • Be up front about your expectations — if your deadlines are tight and your word counts non-negotiable, make these factors known.
  • Be willing to listen to informed input from your writers. They might be able to help you select more relevant keywords or to angle your article in such a way that it captures a bigger audience. Ultimately, the final say is yours, but it doesn’t hurt to listen to another opinion.
  • Make sure your writers know they’re appreciated. Writers enjoy hearing “thank you” and “good work” just as much as the next guy. Occasionally, a tip doesn’t hurt either — if your writer has gone above and beyond.

Re-establishing a relationship with your writer after a storm blows through benefits the whole crew. If you manage to build a rapport that’s based on mutual respect and admiration for everyone’s skills, your cruise will be much more enjoyable. And, with this new float plan, nothing but clear skies and smooth sailing fill your horizon.

Anne G has a tendency to read too many real-life adventure stories, and occasionally, they seep through into her writing. From sharks to summits, mountain peaks to the moon–her trusty armchair is there, traveling at the speed of light and beyond. One day, with her aging beagle in tow, she plans to take that next giant leap for mankind–but tentatively, and only if the weather is perfect.


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