How to Give a Content Writer Good Feedback
Your freelance content writers don’t necessarily need feedback from every article you review, but the benefits of doing so vastly outweigh the cost in time.
Any content writer who’s serious about his or her craft will approach each article with enthusiasm and impressive work ethic. At the very least, they want to write something that’s worth reading. When a writer who accepts an assignment he or she has effectively agreed to devote a portion of their time — regardless of whether that time commitment is measured in minutes, hours or days. When the writer finishes and clicks “send,” the waiting game begins. They may wonder if they’ve delivered the goods or missed the boat. Don’t leave them hanging — let them know what you think, both positive and negative.
A Few Words Go a Long Way
Editors often fail to provide feedback on writers’ assignments because they’re busy — this is understandable. An editor may reasonably assume that a writer doesn’t care to get feedback for their work, but this is rarely the case. In fact, a well-placed compliment or thoughtful criticism lets your writer know they’re appreciated and their work has been thoughtfully read. Given the sometimes impersonal nature of trading money for words over the Internet, feeling like you’ve been heard creates a sense of engagement. A few seconds of your time can go a long way in motivating your writers to submit quality work.
Don’t Overlook Teachable Moments
Writers want to improve, but due to the solitary, in-your-head nature of writing, writers are often the last people to see where they went wrong. Being paid for an article is wonderful, but being coached on how to improve is a lifeline to a long-lasting career. Sometimes it’s easier for an editor to correct misspellings, grammatical errors, punctuation, and rearrange paragraphs than to send an article back to a writer for corrections. It takes time to share edits and constructive criticism and to await second drafts of articles, but this time investment leads to time savings down the road. When writers begin to notice patterns, learn from feedback and submit cleaner, better-formulated articles in the future.
Feedback Turns Emails on Computer Screens Into a Relationship
Many freelance content writers work from home and never meet a client or editor in person. Writers who enjoy the give and take of communication are more likely to remain loyal. If you want to retain your writers, get to know them. That means if a writer sends you an article full of punctuation errors, take a moment to recommend a helpful book or website to help him brush up on his or her skills. A writer who receives individual feedback feels more trusted and accountable. They’ll likely want to work harder to impress you with his or her next assignment.
Both freelance writers, clients and editors know that they’re interacting with real, live professionals, even if remote work feels isolated at times. With a little extra effort, it’s possible to bridge the gap between writers, editors and clients in a way that leaves all parties feeling more trusted and respected.