While I’d love to believe that every first draft of work I produce is pure gold, I know that’s not the case.
My work will always be assessed, critiqued, then pinged back to me with changes to be made. Writing copy, like other creative disciplines, is an iterative process.
The one thing I rely on – the one thing that speeds up the editing process – is clear feedback.
The client I’ve most recently worked with gave wonderful feedback, with clear instructions as to what needed to be changed, and how and why;
‘This case study is too downbeat – get to the positives quicker’…’this story is too chronological – and then, and then – make it more uplifting and less like a news story/press release’.
It’s through feedback like this that I knew exactly what to do to make my work better, meaning that second draft was closer to the finished product and my work could be sent across to the internal client/stakeholder to give it the once over.
It should mean fewer edits overall – maybe a third and fourth edit, but no more.
Clear feedback is such a joy, when it arrives. It makes you breathe a sigh of relief. It lets you know you’re in good hands with this client – that they know what they’re doing and how to work with external suppliers/creatives.
The opposite to this is the kind of generic feedback that makes your heart sink and leaves you at a loss as to how to act on it: comments like ‘make this better/clearer’, ‘make this more interesting’, ‘jazz it up a bit’.
Comments like this elicit the same response: ‘how?’
They make it much harder to move a piece of work closer to final draft and often lead to misunderstandings and further edits.
Much as I hate marketing acronyms, what could be applied to feedback is SMART. The feedback should be specific (what do you want me to do?), measurable (what impact will these changes have?), achievable, relevant, time bound (when do you expect the next edit by?)
Whatever the case, clear feedback is a boon to copywriters, or any creative, and ultimately saves a lot of time and faffing.