How to give your copywriter feedback

Copywriting isn’t easy. That’s probably why you chose to hire a copywriter in the first place. So what do you do if you’re not fully satisfied with what your copywriter has written? How do you give your copywriter feedback?

Copywriters need to get a lot right.

  • They’ve got to convey your message in a way that matters to your audience.
  • They need to make sure they’ve included all the necessary information.
  • They also need to motivate your audience to take some kind of action.

And, let’s be real, they need to write content that you (the client) will actually like. Not going to lie: It’s hard work.

But what happens if you get a draft and aren’t completely happy with it? You see room for improvement. How do you go about discussing this with your copywriter?

First of all, don’t worry. Your copywriter wasn’t expecting you to love everything from the get-go. That’s why they’ve factored in a certain number of revisions.

And to ensure that those revisions go in the right direction, you’ll want to give constructive criticism. That is, feedback that your copywriter can actually work with to help you achieve your goals.

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So before you fire off an e-mail saying you don’t like the copy, you’ll want to keep these points in mind.

What kind of feedback is needed?

One of the first things you’ll want to do is think about the kind of feedback that’s needed at this stage of the process. For example:

  • Are your notes related to content?
    Is all the information included? Is it factual? Should something be removed?
  • Are the comments related to tone or style?
    Does the writing style match your brand? Should it be more serious, casual, or conversational?
  • Is your feedback related to structure?
    Maybe you aren’t happy with the flow, or feel some sections are too long.

Analyse the copy

When you receive a draft, you’ll want to read over the copy carefully and make notes. Highlighting the parts you don’t like is not enough—it’s incredibly important to explain why.

For example: “This paragraph should be rewritten, because it doesn’t include these important points.” Or, “this section needs to be adjusted, because it sounds too casual.”

When you tell your copywriter why you didn’t like something, your copywriter doesn’t have to wonder why and guess what needs to be done to meet your expectations.

Be clear and keep your feedback organised

There’s truly nothing worse than giving your copywriter feedback that leaves him stumped. And you don’t want to get an e-mail from your copywriter saying, “I’m sorry, but I’m confused”.

Be clear about what you want changed and be organised with your notes. That way, you’ll both save time.

Even if you’re not really sure what you want, you can still guide the copywriter in the right direction.

One way you can do this is by giving examples. Give your copywriter examples of what you like (and why) as well as what you don’t like (and why).

And rather than sending off multiple emails with different feedback, help your copywriter by putting all your notes and comments together in one place.

If you’re writing all your comments down in a separate document, be specific about which section you’re referring to. For example: “Page 2, paragraph 1: this is my feedback.”

Don’t leave it up to the copywriter to assume what you want or guess which section you’re referring to—you’ll be happier with the results that way.

Remember to be kind

A lot of work goes into filling a blank page with words that move people. And sending out what we’ve written for review will always be equally exciting and daunting—even for seasoned copywriters.

Working with a copywriter: "Kindness makes for much better teamwork."

Remember that feedback is a two-way street. It should be an ongoing conversation peppered with questions and solid teamwork. And nothing makes teamwork run more smoothly than kindness and understanding.

It’ll help if you aren’t totally negative. We do our best not to be sensitive, but we are human so it can happen. What’s one way to soften the blow? Tell us what you’re pleased with in addition to everything you dislike. Just hearing about what you like will put a smile on your copywriter’s face!

And most importantly, don’t make—or take—things personal.

To summarize: When you’re giving feedback on copy, you want to give useful information that will help the copywriter make adjustments according to your vision.

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