There’s nothing worse than feedback that creates more confusion than clarity. You’re frustrated, your freelancer is frustrated, and every miscommunication only pushes your timeline back further.
The worst part? All of this could’ve been avoided.
To skip the hassle and communicate clearly and effectively with freelancers from day one, here are a few tips to follow.
Imagine if you made dinner for someone and they were furious you chose Thai over Italian. They never told you they wanted pasta, but somehow they expected you to just know. Seems ridiculous, right?
Unfortunately, this is a common issue in the client/freelancer relationship that can derail your project before it even begins. To reduce the need for extensive revisions later on, clearly state your expectations and communicate any instructions from the get-go.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Vision for the project
- Brand colors and fonts
- Brand voice
- Target market
- Project goals
- Any internal/external style guide preferences
- Language to use/avoid
- Topic guidance
Specific feedback is essential to a successful project.
Bad Feedback: “I don’t like that color.”
Good Feedback: “The color on the CTA is off-brand for us and deviates from the approved colors outlined in the style guide I sent you. Can you pick something that’s in (X) color family instead?”
Note: You might want to ask your freelancer to explain their reasoning. Perhaps a certain color makes it 30% more likely you’ll get a conversion or a lighter shade allows copy to pop against graphic. Knowing this might make you reconsider your feedback.
Here’s another example:
Bad Feedback: “This isn’t working for me.”
Good Feedback: “Adding in statistics and quotes from credible sources would make this blog post much stronger.”
See the difference? The good examples were specific, meaningful, and gave actionable advice freelancers can implement.
Point Out What They Did Well
Along with giving useful feedback, it’s important to point out to your freelancer what they did well in the assignment.
For instance, saying, “I loved how you used a metaphor to relate the topic to our target market,” will tell your freelancer they should do more of that in the future. That being said, keep your compliments reserved for ideas that actually work. Giving out good marks for the sake of being friendly may give your freelancer too much leeway for future assignments, which can lead to problems down the line.
Try a Visual Approach
If you find it’s hard for you to pinpoint what you didn’t like about a design or content project, show instead of tell.
Find examples of brands/websites/copy you like and forward them to your freelancer, but don’t stop there. Think of what you liked about these examples. Was it the edgy brand voice or the modern color scheme? These details will help your freelancer see your vision, and leads to better execution.
Deliver Feedback Quickly
Feedback is always best when the project is fresh in your freelancer’s mind.
If it’s a smaller project, like a blog post, provide feedback within a week of submittal. If it’s a larger project, like copy for several landing pages on a website, feedback should be given at scheduled intervals. In any case, establish a timeline from the beginning with regular check-ins so you can catch small revisions before they turn into massive mistakes.
Freelancers are there to make your life easier, not harder. Give them as much creative freedom as possible so you benefit from their expertise. After all, that’s what you’re paying them for!