When working with your writer(s), just like providing guidelines, it’s important to give clear and specific feedback when requesting revisions on a draft.
First, be sure to read through the draft in its entirety and see what you think overall.
Are there any recurring issues coming up that you could address with a general comment? If anything comes up, think about what the writer needs to change throughout the piece at a higher level.
For example, if you asked for a casual tone and the piece sounds a bit too formal, you might note that the piece should have less jargon and more common phrases/terms.
Once you work through any general comments, you can move on to specific line edits.
In this phase it’s important to consider what is worth asking the writer to change versus what is just easier to change yourself.
Obviously you want the writer to learn and improve, especially if you plan to continue working with them, but it may not be worth pointing out one missing Oxford comma if everything else looks great.
Here are a few questions to consider when providing specific feedback:
- Did the writer follow your style guide?
- Did the writer format everything as requested?
- Did the writer consistently maintain your desired tone/voice?
- Did the writer hit all of the key points listed?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, be sure to show the writer where this occurred so that she can address it directly during the revisions process.
For each draft, gather these general and specific comments all at once, ensuring that you’ve also included any necessary feedback from other stakeholders. Then send the feedback all at once so the writer can see how all the potential changes should fit together to improve the piece.
You and the writer should also have a clear idea of how you’d like to manage the revisions process from a logistical standpoint.
A platform like Scripted allows you to manage everything in one place, including comments, communication, and deadlines.
Of course if a writer does a fantastic job on a first draft and you just need to make very minimal changes, then there’s no need to have any back-and-forth. You can give the writer your positive feedback and then get started with her on the next project!
Identify the two sample comments that would be most helpful to a writer in the revisions process:
- Please make this content better.
- Thanks for this draft. Can we include a call to action in the last paragraph?
- Can you add five more examples to this list so that the post is double the length?
- Hey there! This is great. Would you mind just adding a couple more links to related news stories?
- I actually changed my mind and would like you to write on a different topic.
Bonus question for discussion: Why are the other three comments not helpful?
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Answers: B & D
- Read through the draft in its entirety at least once, and note anything that applies on a broader level or throughout the whole piece.
- Move on to line by line edits.
- Gather all your feedback and send to the writer all at once.
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Or, continue on to the next exercise on using meta tags and auditing your content.