Giving feedback can be a bit like a game of Chinese Whispers.  There is what the speaker says and what the listener understands and the aim of the game is to get the two to match up.

There is an effective content marketing strategy at stake.

Given the ever-growing importance of inbound marketing, neatly summarised in the phrase “content is currency”, your business needs to be prepared to put in time and effort to creating effective briefs and delivering quality feedback to their writing team.

Decide Whose Opinion Matters

While everyone is entitled to an opinion, in the real world, some people’s opinions matter more than others. 

When drawing up content marketing plans, whether it’s for social media content or financial blogging, stakeholders in any project should be identified as early as possible.  To avoid project creep, it’s often wise to set a clear rule that anyone who wants their name to be added to the list needs to be able to provide a business justification for doing so.

Appoint A Single Spokesperson (And A Delegate)

The spokesperson will be the communications channel between the writer and the company.  The delegate will be their back-up in case of emergencies and should be kept in the loop without necessarily having to be actively involved.

lightThe spokesperson will take responsibility for gathering internal feedback from stakeholders and ensuring that it is suitable to be passed forward.  In practical terms, this means ensuring that it is in keeping with the brief and that any internal differences are resolved. 

It also means pressing stakeholders for quality feedback, which is specific about what changes they would like to see and by when, rather than just general comments.

Skilled writers will be happy to adapt copy in the light of reasonable feedback, but it’s unfair to expect them to redo work based on guesses as to what stakeholders might want.

They will also take ownership of managing the feedback process, which will typically depend on the size of the project.  For small-scale projects with a well-written brief, a quick meeting after the first draft may well be sufficient.  For larger projects over longer time periods, then regular meetings are likely to be necessary, which is another good reason to have one spokesperson rather than a committee.  It makes life much easier in terms of scheduling them.

Finally, the spokesperson will find answers to any question the writer has or at least provide a statement that the information is not available.

Manage Meetings Effectively

Pointless, rambling meetings are the bane of office life and when only two people are involved there is no excuse for them.  Having gathered effective feedback, the spokesperson should organize it into some sort of logical order and highlight the connection to the brief.  It may be best to give the writer a copy of the feedback prior to the meeting and ideally some examples of the sort of content people would like to see.  This can then be discussed at the meeting.

Generally speaking, in spite of the pressures of work and the need to take time out for a one to one meeting, it is usually best to have direct communication rather than just firing off an e-mail.  If nothing else, it often focusses the minds of both parties and is more productive than continual e-mail exchanges.

Document Your Progress

Documenting the project thoroughly, from the creation of the brief to successful completion not only helps to keep everyone on track and to serve as a reference in case someone new has to be brought in for any reason, but it also serves as a record of events which might prove useful for future projects.  

Seeing how a well-written brief was created and quality feedback managed can help to get new initiatives off to a flying start. Get new initiatives off to a flying start.

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Author: Simon Ryan

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