We all know from high school that giving and receiving critiques can be challenging. Here are some tips to make sure you get what you paid for and keep your freelancers happy too.
1. Be specific. Generic comments like “it’s not good enough” won’t get you the improvements you need. You need to know exactly what you want changed. If you feel the vocabulary is too sophisticated for your audience, say that and point out a few examples. If your industry has specific standards, list those out. A freelancer can work with specific requests to get you the best copy for your business.
2. Write it down. Writing out your comments forces you to fully consider the changes you’re requesting. You won’t have to worry about your freelancer missing anything while taking notes, because it’s all right there on paper. Writing out your comments will also help you with tip #1 – being specific.
3. Stick with your strengths. You hired a professional with a strong track record (or should have). Let him or her do the job. Use your strengths, like industry knowledge or insider perspective, to make the copy better. Leave the writing to the writer. If you have specific questions or concerns about your copy, ask. A professional will be happy to explain decisions, especially ones that seem counterintuitive.
4. Set concrete standards. Remember the red ink from your high school English teacher? Some of those critiques were personal opinion and you never used it again. Make sure you and your freelancer both know the goals of the piece and how it will be judged. Review the copy based on those standards and make sure your comments are objective and actionable.
5. Work as a team. Give the freelancer the background information needed to start the project, and keep your end of the bargain by providing timely revisions and approvals. Your project is a two-way street and needs both of you to succeed. Your freelancer wants your project to succeed as much as you do. When you’re satisfied, your freelancer will be too.
6. Be positive. Everyone does better with a little praise. Let your writer know what you like as well as what you want changed.
Julie is a co-founder of Hallett Peak Copywriting, a Central Illinois based freelance copywriting business. For more information on Hallett Peak Copywriting, visit hpcink.com. You can also follow Hallett Peak Copywriting on Twitter @HPC_Ink to get updates on our business and our blog.