How to be a great client

Or at least a great commenter. Follow these eight steps for super-smooth feedback.

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You might think you’re a great client already, who are we to judge?

We’ll be first to confess that we don’t get it right first time every time, especially for larger jobs and tricky stuff. We’re committed to doing a great job for every project, but we need feedback on our first drafts to achieve that. So here are our top tips on being an ace commenter on your draft copy. There are eight, cause it rhymes with great.

1. Use Word’s features

Turn tracking on and use the comments function.

2. Collate your colleagues’ comments

Sometimes we get comments from several people in the same organisation about the same pieces for copy. That can make it hard for us to decide which conflicting comments to act on. Best if you rationalise everyone’s comments first.

3. Eschew obfuscation 

Make espouse elucidation your catch-phrase. But seriously, vague comments like, ‘not sure about this’ don’t give copywriters any meaningful clues — except that you’re not sure about something.

4. Tell us your likely timescales 

If we know we’re getting your comments back next Tuesday afternoon we can schedule in some time to deal with them.

5. Say what you do like

Maybe a competitor site is explaining things better, include a link to their page. Don’t worry, we won’t copy and paste, just learn.

6. Don’t try to rewrite 

We’ll do that, just explain where we’ve gone wrong and we’ll sort it. We like to think we’re better writers than you so it dents our ego when you do our job, and it can waste your time too.

7. Help our understanding

Explain why you want us to say something in a particular way, it will help us get it right next time.

8. Take your time

Read the draft once, and comment on it on your second read. We can usually tell when a client has made comments in a rush. How? It’s a copywriter’s instinct passed down through generations, plus the comments tend to make more sense.

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