Working from home (or, frankly, wherever you want) is a dream shared by many copywriters. And, now more than ever, clients don’t care where you are. They care about the work you do.
Working with remote clients, whether they’re in another state or another country, though, is a greater challenge than many people realize. You need to make sure you’re setting yourself, and your client, up for success.
Here’s how to do it right.
1. Hone Your Communication Skills
When you’re working entirely remotely from your client (as opposed to sometimes meeting up for in-person meetings), communication is key. It’s very easy to misinterpret comments or miss non-verbal queues when you’re not talking face to face.
To that end, my top recommendation is that you make use of video conferencing on Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or any other software that allows you to talk face to face. Believe it or not, it does make a big difference to see someone’s face and hear their voice.
Ask your client if they have a preferred video conferencing system. Not every client is going to use every system, but you, as the service provider, need to have the flexibility to do what works for your client.
When you are presenting work, share your screen, which makes it easier to ensure that you and your client are literally on the same page. You can make notes or changes, and both you and your client can see it.
This is the same process you’ll want to use if you’re collaborating with a designer or anyone else on the team.
2. Know Your Time Zones
When you’re working with a client in another time zone, keep a time zone converter bookmarked on your computer and on your phone, in case meeting requests come in while you’re on the go.
Google calendar allows you to have two time zones side-by-side on your calendar, so if you’re constantly working with a client in a particular area, it’s easy to suggest meeting times in their time zone and ensure you know what time zone it is for you, too. (Beware of daylight savings time and whether or not your client is in a time zone that does or doesn’t use it!).
Then, when you set up or respond to a meeting, be sure to write out the meeting time in both time zones. “I’ll call you tomorrow, the 14th, at 4 PM EST/3 PM CST” or “I’ll call you tomorrow, the 14th, at 9 AM my time/2 PM your time.”
3. Confirm Meetings, Deliverarbles, Next Steps
Meetings aren’t the only thing you should confirm via email. Send emails to confirm everything you and your client discussed after a call. This is especially important with creative feedback, but is also useful even just in terms of discussions about next steps in a project.
For example, after a discovery call you’ll want to send over the scope of work in writing, including the price. After a kickoff, you’ll want to follow up with something like, “Thank you for chatting today! I’m excited to get started on the project. As discussed, I will set up a meeting so I can walk you through the copy on [insert date].”
After a creative review, it may be something like, “Thank you so much for your feedback on today’s call. As mentioned, to stay on schedule, I need consolidated feedback from your team by [insert date] to turn around a V2 by [insert date.]”
As the service provider, it’s going to be largely up to you to keep communication clear and the projects on track. Even the most well-meaning clients can be a bit “out of sight, out of mind,” so it’s also up to you to check in at regular intervals. This may be more often for larger projects.
Your turn! What do you find most useful for collaborating with a remote client? Let us know in the comments below!