The worst part about asking someone to do something for you is that you never really know how it’s going to turn out. Every time you ask a writer to work on a piece, you do so with the understanding that it might not come back exactly the way you envisioned. The process usually works out great, but sometimes it leaves you short on time and short on patience. Unfortunately, sending the piece back and asking for revisions isn’t always one of the most efficient project management solutions, so you’ve got a choice to make. Do you send the article back, or do you make the changes yourself?
Sending an article out for revisions is a significant action in the client-writer relationship. A seasoned freelance writing pro shouldn’t take a revision request as an insult, but it occasionally does happen. More importantly, some writing companies consider revision requests to be negative marks on a writer’s record, which could ultimately hurt the writer’s standing. But these are fringe concerns that are far less relevant than the immediate need for presentable content.
Should you send an article back if it doesn’t hit the mark?
If It Just Needs a Few Tweaks…
You can move a few sentences around or change the order of the subheads without too much difficulty. You may also be able to take care of a few in-house things you’re picky about. For example, you may choose to change links to the sites of your competitors with links that give more general information. Additionally, you can modify a title to make it stand out more, or to make it fall in line with the other content on your site.
If It’s Way Off…
Making minor changes is one thing, but if the article needs a significant overhaul, it’s time to send it back. After all, it’s the writer’s job to do the heavy lifting. And if you paid for these services, you may as well get your money’s worth. If the tone of the piece isn’t what you were looking for, or if they failed to use actionable language when you specifically requested it, you’ve got grounds for a revision request. Needless to say, if there are factual errors or things you can’t have in your pieces (for example, superlative claims about being “the best” when it can’t be substantiated) you should give the writer a chance to make it right.
If You’re Spending Too Much Time Editing…
It’s not uncommon for clients to have a shy trigger finger when it comes to sending articles back for revisions. Nobody wants to be “the bad guy”; besides, some clients don’t have the time, and some clients just don’t want to relinquish control of the piece a second time if they’re not confident that their writer can deliver the required results. However, it’s important to remember that you’re paying your writers to write, so it’s foolish to spend all this money just to handle such a large share of the workload. You have enough to worry about without also having to do the jobs of other people.
No writer likes to receive a revision request, but it comes with the territory. If handled correctly, the revision process can be a positive one for both writers and clients. However, if clients take on too much editing work, the end result is one that affects everyone negatively. Make sure you’re honest with yourself when it comes to editing the work you receive, and don’t be afraid to ask writers to make any changes you feel are necessary.
Bryan B is a freelance writer based in Long Island, NY. He was excited for spring training until he remembered that he’s a New York Mets fan.