The SEO Writer’s Guide to Dealing with Clients

Does dealing with clients get you down?

These are some of my favorite video posts for any freelance SEO writer dealing with, ah, difficult clients, or otherwise facing any of those tricky client relation issues that require patience, understanding, anger management, and some client education.

From explaining SEO copywriting to clueless clients to handling their mangling of your best writing, here are sage tips from someone who has been there and back. A few times.

How to explain SEO copywriting to clients

“Clients – both small and large businesses – may think of SEO copywriting as “keyword spamming” and want nothing to do with it. Sure, they know they need good content. But where they get confused is what good SEO copy looks like. Maybe that’s because all they’ve seen is bad copy. Or maybe that’s because although content is crucial, it’s not necessarily valued: “We love what content does for us. But we want it cheap.”

Savvy tips to help you explain what GOOD SEO copywriting is to wary, misinformed (or cheap, or otherwise difficult) clients.

Your client is wrong. Now what?

“What should you do if your client insists on their suspect SEO strategy after you’ve tried to talk them out of it? You may want to walk away from the gig. Or, if the strategy isn’t too bad, you could still work the gig and do your best. The way you deal with it will depend on the client and the situation.  It’s never an easy decision to make – especially when you know that your options are “walk away” or “I’ll never be able to include this work in my client portfolio…”

Here are some smart strategies to deal with this thorny situation.

8 ways to handle the haters

“Dealing with unhappy clients can be scary, frustrating and maddening. But remember, if you handle the situation quickly – and take the time to really hear your client’s needs – you can save the gig. Plus – like what happened to me 15 years ago – you may even get more work because the client liked the way you handled the situation. What a great way to transform a stressful problem into a profitable, happy client relationship!”

Follow these steps for dealing with the discontents.

6 ways to handle it when a client changes your copywriting

“Talk about frustrating.

“You thought what you wrote showcased your best work ever. You expertly followed your client’s content marketing strategy. You chose good keyphrases. And when you finished writing your SEO copywriting masterpiece, you could almost hear the harp music playing softly and feel the sunshine on your face.  Your copy didn’t just sound good.  It sung.

Then a week later, you see what the client actually uploaded. All of your tricky turn-of-phrases were gone. Your Title was changed from a compelling statement to a list of keyphrases. And your headline…you can’t even look at what they did to your headline. You aren’t just mad. You’re hurt. How could they destroy your copywriting baby like that?”

Sound familiar? Here are six ways to handle the head/heartache.

3 ways SEO can ruin content

“Smart SEO doesn’t ruin good content. It enhances it, in fact – making it easier to be found in search engines and shared via social media. If you’ve mastered the art of online writing for both engines and people, you have a very valuable skill set. On the flip side, yes, stupid SEO will ruin content. And your conversions, too.”

Avoid these three glaring examples of truly bad SEO. Please.

photo thanks to Pink Sherbet Photography (D. Sharon Pruitt)

3 replies
  1. Andy Button says:

    Pretty great advice for dealing with clients in any writing field.

    I’ve personally found it valuable to try to screen for clients who have a short fuse, so I don’t need to deal with too much anger or frustration.

    You can usually tell these types in advance… Always complaining about the frustration they’ve been going through dealing with this freelancer and that freelancer. It’s kind of like an endless cycle.

    It’s just like in any other area of life: you’re better off avoiding the perpetually bitter, angry and unlucky, because of both the damage they can cause you and the way they can influence you.

  2. Jun Mallorca says:

    A copywriter should not ignore issues with unhappy clients

    Discussing issues/problems with clients immediately will help gain their trust. They will feel that you are not just after the completion of the task but you are also concerned about their business.

    • Heather says:

      Exactly. The longer you wait to address the issue, the more unhappy the client – and that puts you at risk of losing the gig entirely! Thanks, Jun!


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