What if I don’t like my new copy…?

A guide to giving feedback to your copywriter

how to give feedback

Don’t panic! It’s all part of the process

Ping! Your freshly pressed copy pops into your inbox and hurray! It’s EXACTLY what you were hoping for. You immediately rush off to order some thank you tulips for your new favourite copywriter. Everyone’s happy.

Except… what if it doesn’t go like this?

As your copywriter, I want to create copy that pole-vaults your expectations on the first take. And I like to think I usually do (💁‍♀️). But the revision process is still important, so we know your copy is working as hard as puffin-ly possible to help you grow your business.

The only problem is, giving feedback on conversion copy is probably not something you do every day. How do you know what to look for? How can you tell if one phrase is stronger than another? And isn’t this supposed to be the copywriter’s job?!

Well, yes, but as the client and ultimate owner of this copy, you have a crucial role in making sure it hits the mark too.

After hearing a few clients say they felt a bit anxious about what’s expected of them when giving feedback on their draft copy, I created this guide to give a few pointers on what to look out for.

Revisions, decisions

When you get that first wireframe, there shouldn’t be any big surprises.

We’ll already have discussed your brand messaging, tone of voice, copy structure and marketing goals.

Even though you won’t know in advance exactly what the copy will say, it should feel familiar when you see it.

I’ll walk you through the entire thing to explain what each element of the copy is intended to do, and how I’ve arrived at each choice using the data.

No surprises.

But still, there may be some bits you love, and other bits you’re not 100% sure about. Please don’t feel awkward about speaking up if something doesn’t feel right.

Explaining why you like or dislike something can be tricky, especially when it comes to abstract concepts like voice and tone.

This can lead to a drawn-out revision process and uncertainty about whether the revisions are actually going to you make more sales.

Focused feedback helps us make the right decisions about revisions and keep the whole process running smoothly.

Things to look out for when giving feedback to your copywriter

As the client, your preferences are obviously important, but the ultimate goal is to delight and convert your ideal reader. It’s not about what you like (sorry!).

Your copy has been scientifically formulated to match your readers’ motivations (using my ‘Convert with Confidence’ method).

Any revisions should support what the voice of customer data tell us, otherwise we’re guessing at what will work.

So, here are the things I’d love for you to check for in your draft copy:

Accuracy – are the prices, processes and contact details correct?
Inconsistencies – does the copy match what you say about your offer elsewhere?
Branding – does the message feel right for the brand? (Think about whether the balance of brand values feels right. Do we need more/less of some characteristics? Be prepared to back it up with data or insights on why changes will be more likely to convert your readers.)
Legal – do we need to support a claim, or rephrase something to comply with regs?

And here are some things to avoid:

‘I like..’ or ‘I don’t like…’ – try to be as specific as possible about how a suggested change would serve your audience.
Worrying about typos – the initial focus is on concepts, messages and tone of voice. Polishing comes later.
Feedback that changes the brief – changing the ‘big idea’ means changing the scope of the project. This is likely to affect timing and pricing.

Who should give feedback on the draft copy?

It’s likely you’ll want to discuss the copy with other members of your team. We might even be working as part of a bigger project task force, including designers, developers, SEO specialists and marketing managers.

To prevent writing by committee, I ask you to designate one person to be responsible for giving feedback and approval, so we can keep things moving and get things signed off quickly and smoothly.

If we have a larger team, the following framework (inspired by Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers) is a useful way to clarify roles, so we can make good decisions about revisions:

While you might be excited to share your copy with friends or family, if they aren’t an expert in conversion copywriting or familiar with your customer data, they may not be the best placed to offer feedback. (#awkward)

The important thing to remember here is: IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE READER. Whenever we’re unsure, we’ll go back to what the data tell us.

(📷: Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash)


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