Ah, the act of giving feedback. Doesn’t it make you feel a bit queasy? *shudder*
Listen, even if you said you loved feedback, we probably wouldn’t believe you. But as an editor or the owner of a marketing agency, you know that feedback is a critical part of any website content project. So, it must be done.
Over the years, we’ve worked with and met so many talented writers. And we’ve also learned a ton about giving feedback effectively so everyone wins. We hope that, by sharing some of our hard-earned knowledge, you’ll be able to do the same.
Mindset Shift: Giving Feedback Is Crucial for Writer and Agency Growth
Feedback shows you care.
First, we gotta tear down the idea that feedback is a negative thing. It’s not. The ability to give feedback is important to help your agency deliver the best work possible, which enables growth for your business. And, for your writer, feedback helps them hone their skills to become the best writer they can be.
Feedback can also make you and your copywriter more productive. As your writer improves, so will their ability to turn out great first drafts. For you, this means you spend less time editing and more time on your business.
5 Effective Tips for Giving Feedback to Your Copywriter
No matter the benefits, we know that giving feedback is about as fun as stepping on someone else’s gum. But, we’ve got some tips to help you get through these “sticky” situations (see what we did there?).
1. Be Clear & Specific
“This misses the mark.” Statements like these aren’t only ineffective but they’re unnecessarily critical. Chances are unless the writer wasn’t given any direction from the beginning, the work can be salvaged.
Plus, these statements don’t show your writer what they should change or do to improve. Instead of using blanket statements, be clear and specific about what you think needs to be reworked.
For example, does the piece need to be reframed to better match the client’s tone? Are there grammatical errors? Is there missing information? If so, what’s missing?
2. Avoid the “Feedback Sandwich” Approach
The “feedback sandwich” has been a popular way of giving feedback for some time. In this method, you start with something “good” about their work before giving them constructive feedback. Then, you finish with another “good” statement.
Unfortunately, this method cheapens the writer’s work and can seem disingenuous. It’s better to give your constructive feedback when you have it and share the “good” stuff in the same way.
3. Show Your Support
Don’t just deliver your feedback and walk away. A writer needs to know that, at the end of the day, you’re there to support them. Whether they have questions about the feedback you gave or wish to share their concerns, they need to know you’re willing and able to help.
Keep lines of communication open. If you have time, try to set aside an hour or so every couple of weeks to have a one-on-one with your writer. This hour can help you connect and talk about any issues that have come up for either you or your writer.
4. Set Expectations for the Future
At the end of a feedback discussion, take some time to set expectations for the next round of work. Where do you expect your writer to improve? Again, be as specific as possible, and remember when you’re asking for too much. It’s best to stick to one area of improvement first. Your writers are humans—remember that.
5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Truth bomb: There are times when you need to insert that missing comma or rework that sentence yourself.
Not every edit is cause for redlining and alerting your writer. It’s important to discuss the bigger picture issues first such as tone, severe grammar issues and content direction. The little things can be fixed later. Plus, this ensures you don’t overwhelm your writer with too much feedback at once.
Looking for a Skilled Website Content Copywriter?
Receiving feedback and putting it to good use is also a skill that must be honed over time. If you’re in search of a copywriter who can fill your content gaps and take feedback with confidence and grace, we’re here to help. Send the Word Nerds a message!