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I like to keep reminding my husband how lucky he is to have married me.

Yes, my cooking is less than perfect, and I’ll admit I’m not quite as pert as I used to be.

But as a small-business owner himself, he did bloody well to marry a copywriter.

Think about it.

Every aspect of your business needs copy – from your business card to your press ads, your website to your emails.

Not to mention all those pesky Facebook updates and relentless tweaks.

SEO types shriek that content is king, and if you’re not spitting out a blog post every two days your ranking (and your business) is doomed to flop.

When you’re married to a copywriter you get all this free.

All you have to do is promise to take the recycling out and she’ll throw you a tweet or two.

A dog walk buys you an email newsletter.

And if you watch the small human for a few hours, a beautiful keyword-optimised post miraculously appears in your inbox.

But I realise that, even though copywriters are spreading like a rash these days, not everyone will be able to marry one.*

So here’s how you can at least build a solid business relationship with a copywriter (or any other supplier for that matter) and reap the benefits.

  • Give good brief: There’s nothing us copywriters like more than a well-thought-out brief. So much so that we’ll often have a template for you to complete. Take the time to fill it out properly, and add as much detail as you can.
  • Make time for us: Just because you’ve outsourced the work, doesn’t mean your work is over. Allow enough time to answer questions, review copy and mark up changes. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
  • Remain focused: While it’s good to seek the opinion of your partner or a good friend, showing the final draft to your hairdresser the day before it’s due is not a great idea. Try to provide all your amends in one lump to save time for both you and your copywriter.
  • Show us the money: Don’t pass your cash-flow problems on to your suppliers. If you’ve agreed on a payment term, do your best to stick to it.
  • Praise us: Even though you’re paying for the service, a heartfelt thank you (or testimonial) goes a long way.

While it can be tempting to take the one-night stand approach to copywriters and try a different one each time for the variety, committing for the long term is often a better approach.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced rates: Many copywriters will offer an incentive for repeat work.
  • Priority bookings: A good writer will always prioritise an old client over a new one, no matter how juicy the prospect.
  • Better copy: As your relationship with your writer grows they’ll learn more about you and your business, and this will be reflected in the quality of your copy.
  • More love: I know that with long-term clients, I’m in it for more than just the money. I’ve helped that brand grow from struggling seedling to a mighty oak. I genuinely care, and want to see my client do well.

Of course, after several years the copywriter relationship might turn a little stale.

The spark has gone and the creativity is waning.

At that point it might be time to trade in your copywriter for a newer model.

Or perhaps you could take your copywriter out for dinner and try to work things out.

Marrying a copywriter, whether figuratively or literally, can be a huge benefit to your business.

We all know that, when you work, alone it’s often your virtual team of designers, web dudes, accountants, etc. that keep you going and support you through the tough times.

* I’m on the lookout for a second/back-up husband if anyone is interested.

Do you have a strong relationship with your copywriter or another supplier?

What did you do to build that relationship?

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This post originally appeared on The Flying Solo website.

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