I saw seven original Rembrandts (and a Peter Max) during a trip to Wingate University recently. While seeing the work of one of the greatest artists ever made the trip worthwhile in itself, taking the trip to campus had its own rewards.
Sure, any reason is a good reason to take a road trip. But seeing those Rembrandts reminded me of three reasons you’ll want to gas up and see a client right now.
1. See the place up close
A piece of artwork looks very different when you’re standing inches away from it versus seeing it on a projector (like I did before seeing the prints in the gallery), on the web or in a book. You can only appreciate how Rembrandt etched line over line to darken the top left of the picture to the right when you see those lines in person.
Same goes for actually visiting the place where your client is from. One day on the campus of Wingate University gave me a better feel for the place than all of the hours I spent in its webpages. There’s nothing like actually seeing the audience we’re trying to reach: the students walking around, or in line at the Subway on campus. Hearing how the train roars as it seems to pass through the conference room I was in gave me a sense that things are always happening on campus. Seeing construction workers raise 2X4’s showed me first-hand that the university is growing, and as a writer for their new website, I’m a part of that.
2. Interact in person
Rembrandt’s mother was one of his favorite subjects, as you can tell in the picture. You can’t know someone well enough to paint a picture of them like the one shown by emailing or meeting via conference call. Same goes for clients. For one thing, meeting in person is quicker than emailing if you have nearly 50 people to meet with, like I did during the campus visit. Imagine the back-and-forth that would involve, and how time-consuming it would be. But more importantly, you can really see how passionate your client is about what they do if you have a chance to meet them face to face. Sure, you can get a sense of that through email or over a conference call, but you can’t beat seeing the look in their eyes or hearing the excitement in their voices when they talk about how you can help them with their biology pages or whatever the case may be.
3. Bond with colleagues
OK, in my attempt to show how the Rembrandts I saw correspond to why it’s helpful to see clients in person, this one might be a stretch, but here goes: You see the guy sitting by himself? It seems that we as content marketers work like that most of the time—by ourselves, in our own thoughts. But a road trip gives us the opportunity to bond with colleagues, like the two guys in the background. At least that’s how it was when I took the trip to the Wingate University campus with my colleague Kathleen Gossman. We talked about our interests outside work, and I had the chance to learn this and that about content marketing and SEO from one of the greatest minds in the industry that I’ve ever come across. The two-hour trip up there and back, not to mention grabbing dinner during our three days there, gave us the chance that you can’t get working in the office.
Have you taken a road trip or gone to see a client lately? What did you take away from the experience? Let us know in the comments section.
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Stacy Dyer—Content Strategist