Have you ever asked for feedback on online content that you’ve written, before you felt comfortable or were ready to publish it? A blog post perhaps, or a page for our website? An e-book or content for the promotion of a new product or workshop? And has it ever happened to you that you got back so much feedback that was all useful, yet conflicting?
There is a reason for that, and that is the secret of great feedback. By that I mean the secret of asking for feedback in order to receive highly useful feedback. How does that sound?
Why is asking many people for feedback, asking for trouble?
Asking for feedback to help you refine your online content, prior to publication, is always a smart idea. However, when you’re asking many people for feedback, this can leave you in a worse place… Every person you will ask general feedback from will do this according to his or her own values, skills, opinions and views about you, your product or service and your target audience. According to their perception. Giving a text to someone for feedback without a clear task, means that you have no control over what you will receive. Multiply that by the amount of people you have asked, and this will inevitably cause confusion and overwhelm. Where do you start? What will you take on board, how do you qualify the validity of the feedback, and how will you amend your text to create a great text at the end of that? My answers is: you won’t. You most likely will be in a worse place than you were before you asked for feedback. You will have to spend a lot of time to make sense of it all.
What is the consequence of asking many people for generic feedback?
Generic feedback for various people will create a sense of overwhelm. Now, you don’t just have your own text, but a whole host of comments, suggestions, corrections and tips, in a whole range of styles and voices. From my 14 years in the translation industry I know only too well what the results of that can be. Feeling overwhelmed is never a good thing, as it clouds your clear judgment. This means that what was your editing job has now become a big juggling act. The end result will be a text with an inferior overall quality. Why? Because you won’t be able to see the wood for the trees. You have taken on board – regardless of how big a part – of the feedback you received and started amending your text. Then, you may well end up with a mixture of styles, gaps in the logic, less congruency, and more doubts than you had before. And the affected congruency is almost always a nearly invisible result to you as the author, yet quite noticeable to the reader. You really want to avoid that. What you want is highly useful feedback, am I right?
How do you end up with feedback that is highly useful?
Having highly useful feedback that enhances your written content prior to publication is the goal you have in mind. So, with that clear goal in mind, you can take 10 these simple steps, you get what you need:
- Keep the goals of highly useful feedback in mind.
- Write down the three most important aspects you want feedback on. This could be anything that you need help with, such as grammar, logical order, spelling, terminology, structure, clarity, omissions, style, etc.
- Hand-pick 3 people you know and trust, and select them on the skills that covers one of the three most important aspects you’ve listed down under 2. Make sure you select them on qualities you value in them AND those that they enjoy doing. I mean, I am good at spelling, but I don’t enjoy editing texts… so please don’t ask me for editing jobs. (Believe me, I learned this the hard way).
- Ask each of these 3 hand-picked people to give you specific feedback on ONE of your three elements, and do this in writing – this could be by whatsapp, text message, facebook messenger, e-mail, so long as it’s in written form. That ensures clarity. In addition, this way you will never get conflicting feedback, AND you have all your main points covered.
- Give these 3 wonderful people a clearly written description of the main feedback point you would like to receive from them.
- Process the received feedback.
- Ask further questions if you need more clarity.
- Once edited, read the amended content out aloud to yourself.
- Amend where necessary.
- Save, publish and share!
Oh, and one other thing, always be paying much more attention to questions, comments and feedback from your ideal clients and your specific target audience than anyone else’s. It’s them you want to write for and them you want to serve.
Well, this hassle-free routine for asking and receiving highly useful feedback always works for me. This will definitely keep overwhelm at bay. I truly wish you the same experience. Please give me your specific feedback in your comment by sharing what your biggest take-away is from this post.
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