“Mostly” Painless Revisions

You put together your project brief, found just the right freelancer, and waited for the magic to happen.

But all did not go smoothly, or as smoothly as you’d like.

The day comes when your highly anticipated content lands in your inbox. You open it, breathless with anticipation (OK, that might be a bit of a stretch- but you are a little excited), only to find it has a few kinks.

Time to submit a revision.

Fortunately, WriterAccess has a no fuss, no muss revision policy so you can get the content you want the way you want it.

Here are a few tips to help make it a “mostly” painless revision process.

Painless revisions begin with your project brief.

It’s true! Your painless revisions begin before you ever submit your project brief or choose a freelancer. It actually starts when you sit down to begin hammering out the details of your project. Try to be as descriptive as possible while keeping the brief organized.

In other words, avoid the ginormous paragraph with two periods and a comma. Don’t be afraid of that Enter key! Paragraph breaks help make the content easier to read and much easier to comprehend. If your writer has to wade through a single huge chunk of text, they are bound to miss something. Opt for short paragraphs, bullet points, and other methods that make it easier for your writer to better understand what you want from them.

Also, include important information like whether or not you want a call to action or if you have any special requests. Providing a link to your website and blog is very helpful as well. It allows your writer to get a feel for your company and better understand the tone and style of your blog. The more information your writer has when they begin your project, the faster they can get the work completed and submitted to you.

Don’t stray from your original instructions.

When you request revisions, make sure you are sticking with the original order that you submitted. It violates WriterAccess policy to change your order after the writer has submitted it, but beyond that, it causes a great deal of confusion and frustration. Just as your time is valuable, your writer’s time is valuable as well. Most of the time they are paid on a per project basis so changing the instructions means they have to rewrite the content. Essentially, they are writing the same content twice which cuts their income for that order substantially.

If you require substantial changes that are in addition to or in place of your original instructions, you may have to open another project. And remember, the content that you accept at the end of the project is the only product that you pay for. You cannot legally use the content from previous versions, only what is contained within the final copy.

Maintain a consistent voice in feedback.

Few things make a freelancer cringe more than having a client who enlists the help for several people in reviewing the content – then letting them ALL reply with feedback.

It goes something like this. The writer (we’ll call her Susie), completes the order per the instructions and submits it for approval. The client, who we’ll call Steve, comes back with several changes they want to make. The writer makes the changes and resubmits it. The client takes the copy and gives it to a co-worker we’ll call Brian so that he can “Look it over.” When Brian finishes, he submits his revisions.

Once that copy comes back, Brian gives the copy to Laura. Laura sits down, red pen in hand, and makes her revision request, changing much of what Brian wrote. So, the writer makes those changes and resubmits. Now Brian looks at the copy and sees that some of his notes are missing. He goes back to Steve who also realizes some of his changes are missing. They make their notes, changing Laura’s changes, bringing back some of their own, and has the writer change the content yet again.

See how fast that can get confusing and completely frustrating? It is a vicious cycle that can go on and on and on.

The best way to handle this is to appoint a single person to handle the copy. They place the order, complete the brief, request revisions, and so forth. They can get feedback from all stakeholders in their sandbox, sort out the changes and convey them to the writer in one coherent message. That way there is just a single voice instead of a multitude of people with differing opinions sending the writing back and forth like a ping pong ball.

Be aware of the time.

The internet is a wonderful thing. It can bring people together from all over the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change the time differences that all those people have with each other and that can cause problems.

For instance, let’s say that you are on the West Coast. You reach out to your writer at 8 pm with a message about your order. It’s fairly important and you figure that 8 pm is still early enough for you to get an answer. You sit and wait for an answer that does not come till morning.

Why?

Because your writer lives on the East Coast and while it is 8 pm where you are (and still pretty early), it is 11 pm where they are. And even writers have to sleep sometime.

You can avoid a scenario like this by simply asking your writer about their schedule and what time zone they are in. A site like World Clock allows you to set custom clocks and even give them descriptive names. That way you will always know what time it is in your writer’s world.

Communicate, communicate, and I’ll say it again, communicate.

Communication is so important. Remember, this is your content and your writer is trying to give you exactly what you want, so make sure you are available if they have any questions. Communicate what you need and other pertinent information and your relationship with your writer will be much smoother. Many times, good communication can actually prevent revisions. If you can address your writer’s questions early, while they are at the writing stage, all issues can be handled and when you receive your order it is exactly what you want – no revisions needed.

Remember, writers are people too.

While the internet has done a lot of great things, it has also contributed to some societal problems, one of which is a decrease in empathy. In other words, it is very easy to forget that there is a living, breathing, feeling human being on the other end of that keyboard. This phenomena, known as the “online disinhibition effect” is the result of a lack of face to face interaction. Cyberbullying has brought it to light in recent years, but the effects are seen in varying degrees just about anywhere that people gather or communicate online.

A little kindness goes a long way. Even writers have to sleep, eat, and get sick now and then. We can’t read minds (well, most of us anyway), and, gasp! Some of us even have families. This is easy to forget because you aren’t interacting face to face, but your writer isn’t stuck in a box all day, churning out content like a chicken on a chicken farm laying eggs all day.

So as the song goes, try a little tenderness. It makes the process go a lot smoother for everyone.

Are you ready to connect with your next great writer? We can help! WriterAccess has freelance writers who are ready to craft the content that will bring your brand to life. Contact us today to get started.

 

Stephanie M is a writer living in East Central, Alabama, but she didn’t always lead such a peaceful, carefree life. A few years ago she made a daring escape from the “cube farm” at a Federal Agency in Washington, D.C. (after eight very long years) where she worked. as an analyst focusing on disaster response, technical writing, program management, and FOIA.


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