May 27, 2019 How to provide useful feedback to your copywriter

By Stephanie Underhill

Avion copywriters, Ally and Mel

Have you ever received a fresh Word document from your copywriter with all your shiny new content in it and thought, ‘so, what do I do with this now?’ (Or are you a new client of ours and you’re about to experience this?). Stress less, because we’ve whipped up a handy little guide on how to provide useful feedback for your copywriter. Providing clear and effective feedback is a sure-fire way to ensure your copy gets delivered on time, just how you’d like it. Here are our top tips.

Use track changes

If you’re a Microsoft Word guru, feel free to skip over this bit – but it needs to be said!

The easiest way to communicate your edits and changes to your copywriter is by marking up the document in Word. But before you go for it, please do not:

  • write your comments within the body text (even if you bold or change the colour of your comments)
  • highlight the parts you don’t like (without adding further comments)
  • make any direct edits without turning track changes on.

We encourage you to use the handy ‘track changes’ tool in Word. Go to the ‘Review’ tab in the top toolbar and you’ll see a button to turn track changes on. This will mean that any edits you make to the document are visible and tracked. Once you’ve hit this button, go wild with your editing!

Why?

The reason we need to see the changes you’ve made is that we’ll prepare a new version for you with your comments and changes added in. We have to ensure that what you’ve changed still flows with the rest of the text and is grammatically correct. Sometimes you may not feel confident enough to make edits yourself, but you know something is ‘off’ in the copy. That’s ok! That’s where comments come in.

Use comments

Word allows you to add comments to a document, which is useful when you want to ask a question about a section of text and add extra information. To add a comment, highlight the section of text or the word, go to ‘Review’ in the top toolbar and click on ‘New Comment’. Then you can type your comment in so we can see it!

Why

Comments are a great way to add extra information that may have been missing in a brief, or to highlight certain preferences. For example, ‘can we use another word here?’. We’ll continue to use the comment feature as we review your edits and make further changes. We can reply to your comment with any further clarifications we’d like to make, or ‘resolve’ it once we’ve addressed it.

Use Microsoft Word only

As copywriters, we’ve seen it all. Documents printed out, annotated by hand and then scanned back to us. PDFs with comments. Feedback provided only in email form.

Delivering feedback this way is likely to slow the process down and may result in key information being lost in translation.

Why?

Because we use Word, and it’s the best platform for editing copy. That is all.

Revisit the brief

When you receive copy from your copywriter, it’s a good idea to review the initial brief before diving in with the red pen. Then, read through the copy two or three times, with the brief in mind, before applying your feedback.

Why?

We haven’t written the copy for you (I’m sorry to say), but for your customers. We’ve been keeping their unique needs in mind and have crafted copy that will connect with them. If something doesn’t sound right to you, consider if it’s actually the right message for your customers anyway.

The main point here is to trust your copywriter. Of course, we don’t get things right 100% of the time and your feedback is absolutely crucial so we can get all the information correct. However, think twice about what we’re trying to achieve with the copy.

Comments like, ‘I wouldn’t write it like that’ or, ‘it doesn’t sound right’ are fine, as long as you can provide further justification for your point.

An example of a useful comment: ‘I wouldn’t word it like this, because we don’t want to come across as too casual/formal, and customers may get the wrong idea about the brand if we use the word #Yolo’.

An example of a less useful comment: ‘I don’t like this’.

Key takeaways

  • turn on track changes before editing anything
  • add comments to explain your changes or ask questions
  • use Word, and Word only
  • remember, we’re writing for your customers and our mind is always on the brief!

Effective, clear feedback is a copywriter’s best friend and will help you get the best result possible. Of course, you can always pick up the phone and talk it through in person as well. We love to hear your voice. Get in touch today.