If you haven’t read our first piece about working with artists, check that article out here. Then read on. Today, the editing process.
Be Clear About the Editing Process
When you’re buying an artists’ work for the purpose of content marketing, you get final say on what you want that content to look like. Simple enough, right?
Well, yes. However, and this is a big however, both parties need to be very clear with each other on what the process of editing content will look like. This discussion needs to happen before a contract is signed, and it should ideally be a part of the contract itself. For example: what kind of timeframe will editing take? How many people will be involved in the editing process? Is payment only due after the submission of a final draft?
We bring all this up because editing is a major part of content creation. After all, you want the content you buy to match your vision. All that being said, it’s only fair that the artist you hire knows up front how much time and effort to expect in between the first and final drafts of their work. It’s also only fair that they know what that process will look like, largely because the process of working for a marketer is different than how they normally work.
And here’s an important side note: the fewer people involved in the editing process, the better. Generally speaking, every person you add to the process makes the whole thing take longer and makes the final product worse.
Be Clear in Your Critique
This isn’t about artists being overly sensitive souls. It’s about the fact that it’s pretty hard to critique artistic work.
Actually, let’s rephrase: it’s hard to critique something well. It’s hard to offer criticism that’s useful, practical, and actionable.
Criticism is tough for everyone involved. People take things personally when they shouldn’t. There’s a sense of ownership over ideas that isn’t helpful. There’s a struggle to take the idea from what it currently is towards what it should be—and it’s hard to articulate what it should be, should look like, should feel.
There’s no advice we can offer that’ll be better than actually gaining editing experience yourself, but we can offer you one big rule of thumb: remember that critiques need to be specific.
What do we mean by that? Well, we called up a bunch of our artist friends and asked for examples of useless criticism. So, without further ado:
Useless criticism: This feels unfocused.
Useful criticism: The article is only 500 words but the introduction is 200 words; could we please reduce the introduction by at least 100, or possibly more?
Useless criticism: I’m not sure that this speaks to our audience.
Useful criticism: Our core audience is commuters, so the part of this infographic about public transit needs to be either cut or we need some data about how it impacts commuters.
Useless criticism: I’ll know what I want when I see it.
Useful criticism: Let me tell you what I want so you can produce it.
Useless criticism: We like the colour but can you change it?
Useful criticism: We like what you produced but it isn’t right for reason X; please change it to Y.
Useless criticism: Can you design something that breaks the internet?
Useful criticism: Can you design something that supports this content marketing plan we’ve created?
Useless criticism: I don’t like this line. Can you make it better?
Useful criticism: I don’t like this line because of reason X; can you replace it with something that solves the problem caused by reason X?
Useless criticism: Jazz it up a little!
Useless criticism: Make it sparkle.
Useless criticism: Could this be more edgy?
Useless criticism: Let’s dial up the fun factor.
Useless criticism: Make it pop.
Useless criticism: Wow me.
Useless criticism: As long as it’s good!
Seriously, never say any of these useless, empty phrases.