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To Revise or Not To Revise

We all want our content fast and right. Sometimes, the content comes back that doesn’t work for one reason or another. We’re all working on deadlines, so there are a few things to consider when asking for a second take. This article guides you through the revision process.

Revise or Re-Write?

Timing Is Everything

The first question is how close your deadline is. Because authors have 24 hours to make their changes, looming deadlines can force you to accept content pieces that you may not be thrilled with. I have accepted imperfect items and revised them myself because the deadline was in a few hours. I write the expense off to research and drafting. Usually, the authors are very close to my concept, and I only have to make some minor stylistic changes. If you’re working with an author that you have a relationship with, you may squeeze in a revision depending on your author’s schedule and reliability.

Our proofreading service, which is open to orders placed at quality level 3 or higher, gives authors a few hours to find and correct any mistakes that may be present. Instead of hoping that an author finishes a revision in a day, you can relax and trust our proofreaders to fix any errors in just a few hours.

Worth The Wait

If you have more than 24 hours before your deadline, you have more flexibility. You can look at quality, adherence to instructions, and tone.  Authors focus on the craft of writing, so sometimes they may miss keyword or header information. A polite revision request should help get them back on track.

For quality and tone issues, try to be as specific as possible. You may not always be able to put your finger on exactly why something bothers you, but point out the paragraphs or sentences that don’t fit for you. Authors may need more information on the purpose of your piece or your client base. Don’t be afraid to provide additional information to help get your content on track. If you see grammatical errors, be polite and specific. Try to cover as much as possible in your revision request.

More Than Words

I believe in paying people for their ideas as much as their writing. Once, an author took a title and brought a truly unique spin to it. I hadn’t considered that angle at all, but it was a delight. I had to toss or re-write almost 75% of the article, but the insight and the author’s effort to work with me was worth it. This attitude helps build relationships with authors.  A writer who understands you, your industry and your clients can create more insightful, powerful content faster. Good writers become popular quickly. In order to maximize their earnings, they’ll take assignments from those who pay them well, give them clear and helpful instructions and who treat them well. Building that relationship with an author gives you an edge and priority when their talent is discovered.

Honey Versus Vinegar

When asking for a revision, please be polite. There are real people putting hard work into your content on the other side of the screen. They want to impress you and help you meet your goals. Authors can cancel during a revision, so you don’t want to insult them, which could result in a delay of your work.

With millions of reviews under our belts, we’ve found that the “sandwich technique” is really helpful in motivating authors to complete revisions quickly.

Start with a positive comment, like “Good effort” or “Great response time!” If there’s something that you really liked, comment on that. Then get to the meat. “This is for a B2B site, so could you remove the paragraph on consumer sales?” or “You used “desert” for “dessert” throughout the article on cheesecake. Could you fix that please?” End with a positive note again: “Thank you for your work so far,” or “I appreciate your help.” This technique shows the author respect and gets your points across clearly. It also builds your relationship with the author. If they see that you’re trying to help them improve their talents, they’re more likely to put forth even better work for you in the future.

If At First, You Don’t Succeed

All authors get one chance for a revision. If the second draft doesn’t satisfy, you have a choice – ask for another revision or reject the article. Personally, if I see that the author made the changes I requested and a good faith effort to improve the article, I’ll give them a second revision. Some of our more patient clients give multiple revisions to authors to get just the right spin.

Not all of us are blessed with such patience, and sometimes authors just aren’t the right fit for the piece. If an author has presented revised work that doesn’t fit, you can reject the article. You don’t get the rights to any portion or draft of the article. The author doesn’t get paid, and the next author starts from scratch. Between processing the rejection and the new author starting, the order can experience a significant delay. Please keep any deadlines in mind when considering a rejection, and contact our client services department if you need help with rejections.

If you need to change your instructions or no longer need the article, please let us know in your rejection note. This way, we can prevent the order from returning to the author pool.

The best way to handle revisions is not to need them at all. A comprehensive order description ordered at the right level for the sophistication you expect will improve the content you receive. If you need help with order instructions, let us know!

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