Image by @Boetter

At some point in your career, you may well have to hire a copywriter, web designer or similarly “creative” professional. You’ll provide them with a brief, they’ll work day and night to come up with a draft, a proof or a concept, and then they’ll pass it back to you.

If you want stunning copy or a striking design, what happens next is critical. You’re going to cast your eye over the lovingly-crafted piece, and you’re going to give an opinion. If you do this right, you’re on the way to having a truly amazing piece of work created. If you do it wrong, you’ll be lucky to get what you really want.

It’s all about communication:

This is NOT Constructive Criticism

  • I don’t like it.
  • Redo it.
  • It’s no good.
  • Is that the best you can come up with?
  • Fail!

This isn’t constructive criticism. This is complaining, and it doesn’t help matters. It’s always frustrating (and not just for you) when a creative comes up with a draft that doesn’t match the idea you had in your head, but short, curt complaints don’t give your copywriter or designer anything to work with. It might seem obvious, but the more input and feedback you give, the closer to your concept the final piece will be.

This IS Constructive Criticism

  • Can we try a more sociable tone?
  • Would you try this again with a different colour scheme?
  • Can you break this up with a few more subheadings?
  • Will you write all the acronyms out in full?
  • I’ve never been a fan of drop shadows. Would you remove them?

By identifying the issues you have with the piece and suggesting how you’d like it corrected, you’re doing two things. Firstly, you’re not giving the impression that you’ve lost all faith in your creative. Second, you’re giving them a clearer picture of how that concept in your head could be realised.

As long as you remember to communicate instead of complain, you’ll get what you want – and you’ll have developed a great working relationship with your copywriter or designer. One that could serve you well for a long time to come.

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