Whether it makes you want to hang by your fingernails or you love digging in to a pile of notes and edits, revisions are part of any writer’s life. Fortunately for me, I fall into the camp that enjoys the process—at least I do on most days.
Occasionally, my ego squeaks out a faint complaint, wishing that a draft were marked “perfect” upon its return. Obviously, that’s a little unrealistic! That wish sneaks up more with my copywriting projects than with my personal writing. Yet, the funny thing is that I want clients to provide feedback. It makes a big difference in the quality of the final product.
Why is client feedback so important to copywriting?
- It creates trust. I find this especially true with new clients. When they see how you are able to improve the copy based on their feedback, they become more comfortable with you. It can lead to more work and fewer revisions down the road.
- It drives specificity. Even companies that claim to be laid back about their brand voice care very deeply. They want things said in certain ways, even if they don’t share that upfront. When a client provides feedback and edits (especially using “track changes”), you can start identifying those preferences. It’s the difference in being able to edit with a scalpel or a hatchet.
- It can inspire. I’m lucky enough to have several clients that are big on collaboration. In one case, what was a good headline became a sharp tagline used across several campaigns. It wasn’t that my work wasn’t good enough the first time around, it was that the client liked it and wanted to push it further.
There’s also no doubt that feedback can drive a writer crazy. For me, it’s when the so-called “feedback” is “I don’t like it” and no reason is given. It’s okay if a client doesn’t like something—I just need to know why so I can fix it. This hasn’t happened to me in a very, very long time and I’m grateful. Of course, I’ve also learned that if someone won’t go beyond “I don’t like it,” there are usually bigger problems at hand.
It can also be difficult when feedback comes in again and again—and now you’re on version six for a 250-word landing page. This tends to happen when the client team wasn’t aligned before starting the project, although it can be a sign that something’s not in sync between the copywriter and client. It’s (fortunately) a rare occurrence, but it can happen, especially on projects billed by the hour. I like project-based fees because you and the client can agree upfront what the revision process will look like.
What about you? How do you deal with revisions? Do you base your projects based on a set number of feedback rounds? Do you dread getting feedback from a client? What are your tips for dealing with the revision process?