If you hire a content writer to help manage your business, you may not always love their first drafts. This doesn’t have to mean the end of the working relationship, though. If you and your writer create an environment that encourages constructive feedback, asking for a full rewrite is easy and can even prevent further headaches down the road.
Setting your goals ahead of time is key in this partnership.
Why You’d Ask Your Writer to Start Over
Here are some reasons you might ask your content writer to start again:
- The piece doesn’t fit the theme or topic you want.
- The piece doesn’t exemplify your brand’s voice.
- You’ve changed your mind about the project and no longer want the piece you requested.
If you’re new to working with a writer, know that it’s perfectly acceptable to give your content writer constructive feedback that explains why their first draft doesn’t fit what you’re looking for.
As part of your rewrite request, tell your writer what aspects of the first draft you liked. If you don’t have any positive notes, explain why. This’ll help your writer learn your style and hopefully lead to a better second round.
Don’t settle for a piece that doesn’t reflect what you need. Find the balance between making your voice heard without being overbearing or rude. Do refer to your contract to know if a rewrite has additional costs.
When a Rewrite Isn’t the Solution
Ideally, you’ll have an open line of communication with your content writer and will be comfortable asking for the occasional rewrite. However, it may be inappropriate in certain situations. A few examples:
- If you’ve approved previous drafts.
- If you’ve asked for multiple rewrites already.
- If you’ve commissioned a large document, e.g., a 20-page white paper or 50-page ebook, and decide at the end that you’re unhappy with it.
If you find yourself in one of the first two scenarios, another rewrite likely isn’t the right solution. This is the time to step back, assess your communication strategy with your writer, and see if there’s a larger problem to address.
If you find yourself in the third scenario, then either the writer chose to write the entire project without feedback from you along the way, or you changed your mind despite approving outlines and initial drafts. Neither situation should’ve happened. Refer to your contract for a solution.
Returning to the first two scenarios, you may find you and your content writer just aren’t compatible business partners, and that’s okay. Or you may realize that you’ve brought in a writer too soon: perhaps you still need to clarify your marketing strategy, and what you’re reading is showing you that.
Remember: a content writer or copywriter isn’t a marketing strategist. Although it’s their job to understand how their writing supports your marketing strategy, it’s not their job to advise you on it.
If you need to end your relationship, review the terms in your contract. That may be the best option for both of you.
But wouldn’t it be nice to avoid a rewrite in the first place? Let’s cover that next.
How to Avoid a Rewrite
The best way to avoid needing a rewrite is to spend time going over your company background and goals for the project with your content writer.
Give your writer the following information ahead of time so they’re not guessing about what you want. If you have a website, your writer can look through it, but covering the following topics with them directly will bring more clarity and allow them to ask questions before they write:
- mission statement
- company values
- target audience
- project brief(s)
If you’re a new business, you may not have all of these figured out. In that case, we recommend hiring a business consultant or marketing strategist first. It’s important to know the difference between a content writer and a marketing consultant and what each one can accomplish for you so you can set appropriate expectations.
The Bottom Line
A professional content writer will want you to be happy with their work. But for this to happen, both business partners need to communicate. For you, this means providing a clear project brief and giving your writer the opportunity to ask questions before they begin writing.
Asking for multiple rewrites is unnecessary in most circumstances: either you’ve brought the writer in at the wrong stage, or the writer isn’t the right match for your company.
But if it’s your first time working with a writer, and their first draft isn’t what you envisioned, don’t be afraid to ask for a rewrite. Give them concrete feedback, let them know what you did and didn’t like, and let them try again. As with any business partnership, clear communication on both ends can bring about a wonderful result.