“Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do with it.” -Maxwell Perkins
Email marketing. Case Studies. Sales Pages.
The sales and marketing to do list is long.
The copywriting is never done.
But keep in mind that every writer needs good feedback—even old pros.
The feedback process can turn ugly fast…especially when there’s a deadline clock ticking.
But the truth is…it’s easy to give feedback, as long as you have a plan.
Copywriting is all about sales and persuasion
Copywriters are writing chameleons.
They’re looking to find the right voice, with the right conversational tone, for particular brand audience.
The task at hand could be to grab a prospect’s attention for the first time, or subtly influence a customer to take a particular action.
At the same time, they’re working to balance client expectations with copywriting techniques that might seem too bold or not bold enough.
It all depends.
There’s a lot going on.
Copywriters have to make choices.
The writing process involves ambiguity and one of the best ways to get clarity is to edit well.
The copy will never be completely perfect, but the goal is to get it pretty close!
Ambiguity can be uncomfortable…even stressful.
But once you have some copy to work with, it all starts to make sense.
What does bad copywriter feedback look like?
Here are a few examples of bad feedback I’ve received, just for reference:
- “Maybe a little more literary.”
- “I don’t think this is good language.”
As you can see, none of these comments communicate anything specific about the copy.
It’s all vague and generally unhelpful because it doesn’t make reference to specific words or phrases and it doesn’t give any reasoning.
This is a case of not quite being able to communicate exactly what’s not working.
Which means we need to slow down and work through it to get my clarity.
Before You Hit Send on That Copy
It usually takes two focused rounds of edits to get the copy to a good place.
Sometimes, it’s more depending on the depth of discovery, research, and preparation done (or not done) in advance.
Eventually, we hit publish and see how they copy performs.
The copywriting is never done.
Learning to edit and give valuable feedback will save you time, money, and stress…
Before your next big marketing project, revisit this simple copywriter feedback guide to help you get better results from your copy.
- Know that it’s a process
The first draft isn’t the finished project.
Copy is never perfect on the first try…revision and discussion will definitely be required.
When you’re giving feedback on a first draft, consider the objective of the project, the intentional constraints, and your desired outcome.
We’d all love to spend much more time on every project, but as Seth Godin advises, eventually you have to ship the work.
Be a willing participant in the process—it’s perfectly reasonable and normal to go through a few rounds of revisions to get it right.
There is no perfect, but there’s good enough to ship!
2. Read the copy
Be sure to read the copy at least twice before you give feedback.
I know this might sound painfully obvious, but I’ve had clients merely look at the copy—and not even read it— before they start to give feedback.
It can take a minute to wrap your head around an email flow, a particular headline, or the way a website unfolds.
Copywriters are funny.
Everything they write is intentional and may be a strategic breadcrumb for something later.
It means a lot when you slow down and take the time to read the copy and pay attention to the nuance and carefully chosen persuasive language.
Remember that most of the time, your readers are regular people, with an affinity for your brand, looking for something they can connect to.
Try to imagine what they think, feel, and want.
It’s about your customers and it’s written for them.
3. Be specific about what’s working, what isn’t working, and why—it helps!
This is copywriting advice, but it’s also life advice.
Think about what you want.
If something isn’t working, explain why.
Don’t add more ambiguity.
Take a minute to elaborate on the reasoning behind why it isn’t working for you.
Your opinion matters…a lot.
Sometimes, the feedback you give will pull the entire piece together!
4. Don’t try to rewrite the copy or suggest significant structural changes
This is a big one.
Don’t try to rewrite the copy.
Copy can be sort of like a house of cards at times.
When you change one section, it can throw everything else off.
The way the copy unfolds or “flows” is by design.
For this reason, the copy and the structure need to remain intact so that it’s organized and easy to edit.
The last thing we want to do is dismantle the entire thing and have to rewrite a rewrite that could have been a simple copyedit.
Add as many edits and comments as you like, feedback is good…
But leave the writing to the professional.
5. Be kind- you hired a writer because…you literally can’t do it yourself
You didn’t study copywriting.
There’s a whole skillset involved.
And it takes years to develop a copywriting craft.
Copywriters are introverted freaks and geeks, and they know their way around words.
They work with words every day and read old Gary Halbert letters on Saturdays.
What I’m saying is, they learn how to get good.
Chances are that your copywriter actually enjoys the editing process and is open and eager for thoughtful feedback.
The secret to a successful copywriting project is very simple…be kind.
Copywriters are used to feedback and critiques
One of the hardest things to do is sit in front of a room full of people and have them critique your work.
We’ve all been there.
For copywriters (or any creative), it’s a regular part of the job.
Like I said, they get good at it.
You’ll find that most professional and experienced copywriters have a thick skin and a willingness to improve.
Get in there with some great feedback and good ideas.
Copywriter Based in Philadelphia
I’m a Philly based copywriter.
In addition to strategic copywriting, I support clients with creative consulting, content strategy, and the occasional rebrand.
You can always email me or get on touch here.