Whether copywriters develop website copy or an advertisement, we use expertise, research, and client feedback to create the best content possible.
However, this can quickly turn into a nightmare if we receive vague feedback like: “Fix this paragraph” or “I want this ad to ‘pop’ more.”
Proper feedback, in my opinion, is descriptive (not prescriptive). That means clients describe what they don’t like about the copy and tell us why they feel that way in relation to their end goal. This leaves it up to us (the hired experts) to come up with a solution.
Copywriters should take responsibility for managing client feedback. After all, this might be the first time your client has ever worked with a copywriter. Taking responsibility not only gives us some dignity for our work, but it also helps our clients’ projects succeed.
An easy way to educate clients is by showing them the difference between good and bad feedback. I do this by sending clients a one-page PDF called “How to Provide Effective Feedback on My Work” a day or two before I submit my work. (I originally got this idea from an article written by Paul Jarvis, a freelance web designer.)
Since I may not get everything perfectly right on the first try, it’s important for me to know what’s not working for my clients. And with feedback, it is my job (as the hired expert) to come up with appropriate solutions to fix these issues.
This is how my PDF starts:
To ensure a project’s success, here are the effective ways my clients can provide the best feedback for me to do my best work:
- Be honest. If you don’t like something, I need to know right away. (Not three weeks down the road!)
- Be specific. Point out what, exactly, is not working for you, and why it’s not working.
- Ask why. If you were not sure what I was thinking, I’d love to explain my reasoning. Everything I’ve done for the project has a purpose.
- Refer to your goals. Relate every piece of feedback and criticism back to the goals we set at the start of the project.
- Relate to your audience. Your audience should be on the top of your mind for every critique you give. What do they need? What will they love? What won’t they like?
That’s it! All it takes is a simple e-mail asking them to read this over before reviewing your work. Feel free to use this as an example to educate your own clients.
It’s little things like these that will keep our clients happy!