How To Give Your Copywriter Feedback

There’s useful copywriter feedback and there‘s not-so-constructive criticism.

Your guide to giving better feedback.

Sharing suggestions with your copywriter for hire

To quote a well-known author: it’s not the best writer that wins; it’s the most effective.

But effective writing isn’t easy.

You have to write something that connects with your audience. You need to master SEO best practices. And your copy has to move readers to take action.

Most of the time, it’s a delicate balancing act between what needs to be said and what actually gets the job done.

To be fair, you already know that. That’s why you’ve outsourced your business copywriting to a pro.

But what should you do if your freelance writer sends you a draft and you’re not 100% happy with it? How do you go about discussing the changes you want done?

Good news: your copywriter wasn’t expecting you to love everything from the get-go.

There’s always room for improvement—even with a seasoned writer at the helm—hence why copywriters include a certain number of edits and even rewrites.

So what’s really important at this stage is how you present your input, i.e. useful feedback your copywriter can work with.

Give your copywriter better feedback using these prompts

Before you fire off an e-mail saying you don’t like the copy (spoiler alert: not helpful at all), it’s best to formulate your thoughts and put them together in an easy-to-digest manner.

Note: While every copywriter has their personal preferences, you can still use the steps below when preparing feedback for your copywriter.

Step 1: Analyze the copy

Read over the copy carefully and make notes. Highlighting the parts you want changed is not enough—it’s necessary to explain why. Otherwise your copywriter has to assume or guess what you have in mind.

For example: “This paragraph should be rewritten, because we’ve received new product specs and that information is no longer accurate.”

Step 2: Take a systematic approach

After you’ve reviewed the first draft, break your copy feedback into several categories.

For example:

Comments about the content itself. This is where you would check things like information accuracy and comprehensiveness. Or put another way: is the copy complete? Is it factual? Is there anything you want added or removed?

Notes regarding brand voice and writing style. Are you happy with the tone and voice? Does it match your brand? Should it be more serious, casual, or conversational?

Structural and misc. feedback. This would be where you comment on visual components like section breakdowns and length as well as other details like the overall flow of text.

Step 3: Be clear and keep your feedback organized

Avoid giving your copywriter feedback that leaves him stumped. Be clear about what you want changed and organize your notes. That way, you’ll both save time.

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

For example:

  • Share examples of what you like as well as what you don’t like. Don’t forget to explain why!
  • Rather than sending off multiple emails with feedback, put all your notes and comments together in one place. That might be as an email, in the document itself or even a separate document.
  • If you’re writing all your comments down in a separate file, be specific about which section you’re referring to. For example: “Page 2, paragraph 1: This is my feedback.”

Step 4: But first, be kind

A lot of work goes into filling a blank page with words that move people. And for copywriters, while we can’t wait to hear what you have to say, sending out what we’ve written for your review will always be equally exciting and daunting.

Surprise! We have feelings!

That’s why it’s important to maintain an environment of respect. Here are a few basic ways to do that.

  • The best feedback involves an open, honest and ongoing conversation peppered with questions as well as solid teamwork.
  • Got particularly harsh criticism? You can soften the blow by also sharing what you’re pleased with.
  • Criticize the work – not the person.