Providing constructive feedback on written materials is a daunting yet valuable opportunity to help advance an individual’s writing career. Without receiving feedback, a writer cannot truly work on improving their skills and ultimately becoming successful in their profession. It plays a vital role in both personal and professional development, with as much as 96% of employees saying feedback is one of the most important parts of their growth.
In public relations, writing remains the most basic skill a successful individual can hold. Writing that is clear and compelling helps PR professionals secure positive media exposure for clients or can effectively communicate key messages to the public. Obtaining constructive feedback on written materials is important for each public relations professional because it challenges their skills in a helpful way. It also encourages them to learn how to better express compelling and thought-provoking story ideas within their writing, no matter where they stand on the career ladder.
While the majority of individuals who provide feedback do so with good intentions, it can all too often come across as not helpful and confusing for the writer. Below are three tips to help editors provide helpful suggestions that can contribute to a winning final document.
Writing can make people feel vulnerable. It takes years of practice and deep expertise to grow into the type of writer who can consistently deliver exceptional pieces in the first draft. To help the writer combat this insecurity, an editor should first acknowledge what the writer has done well, in conjunction with what needs to be improved. The majority of writing has strengths, so it’s important to point out what those are when you see them. This sort of positive feedback helps build the confidence and capability of the writer, and increased confidence can equate to stronger writing.
As an editor, it’s important to remember that the goal of a review isn’t to impede the writer’s ability to deliver quality work. Instead, ask questions that may lead the writer down the right path and help them reach their fullest writing potential. It may take more work initially, but it will help inspire the writer and guide them to understand where revisions need to happen.
Some of these questions might include:
The Track Changes feature in Word is one of the most useful tools that allows editors to record all changes and easily distinguish them between corrections and comments. For writers, it allows them to visually see the suggested changes and accept them one at a time. Additionally, this feedback can be referenced over and over again for writers looking to fully engrain the feedback and apply it to future work.
When critiquing someone’s writing, it’s the editor’s job to determine whether or not the writer accomplished the specified goal. Concentrate on what the writer can do to improve the subsequent version and you’ll support their creation of a winning final piece. Remember, practice makes perfect so as long as the writer keeps working at their skills, they will improve!Tags: ask questions, Best Practices, Comments, critique, editing, Feedback, how to improve your writing, Microsoft Word, questions, track changes, writing, Writing skills, writing tips