It’s that tricky balance – delivering precisely what a client has asked you to create whilst showcasing your personal style and flair in it too.
It’s true – a client hires you because of your particular expertise, experience or style, but they often want that moulded seamlessly into their style. So do you leave your personal ideas at the door and become a robot performing only the necessary tasks? No, why not find a middle ground? A meeting point where you bring something new, fresh and/or unique to a client’s brief whilst they’re also happy that the intended and necessary work has been carried out. How do you achieve that? Having an honest, open and constructive dialogue between content creator and client – we’re talking about feedback, at different stages through the project. Here are a couple of really simple, easy ways to make client feedback really work for your content or production.
Objectivity is key
Feedback can be hard to take, especially if you’ve poured your heart and soul into a project with a particular and personal vision that you feel nails the brief. However, the client may feel it misses the mark, or even overdelivers where it’s not necessary. Firstly, always try to be objective when receiving feedback. Remove yourself, the creator, from the work slightly and try to see comments from the client’s perspective whilst being able to critique your own work, too. Walk in their shoes and see through the client’s eyes. Throwing the kitchen sink at a creative brief can be wonderful and a great exercise in creative freedom, but if it’s not needed, it’s not needed.
Check in more than once
Schedule in a chat to touch base more than once through the project. Smaller, more regular edits and feedback sessions are always superior to larger bulk edits, especially for your own timelines and workloads. Every couple of steps into the project or brief, if you need to, liaise with the client, rather than waiting for bulk edits.
Don’t be afraid to question
Yes, the client is paying for this service, content or production. But if you feel in your experience and professional opinion that an edit doesn’t work, voice your opinion in an open and constructive way bearing in mind the client will always know their own brand, its tone and voice best.
Just because a portion of the project got cut or amended on this round of edits, doesn’t mean it’s lost forever. Sometimes you will find that clients may feel that after going back-and-forth with changes, what you originally produced in version 1 does indeed work or have merit. At that point you don’t want to feel that stomach somersault when you realise you’ve overwritten or wildly amended the first delivery or draft in the same file. When edits are communicated, take a version into a new file and begin from there – this is also a key exercise in working more smarter, not harder.
Edits and feedback through the process of developing the project is incredibly important, but once the project is delivered, it’s a great time to get some overall feedback from the client on the performance – and this is always best done by the creator asking the client, rather than waiting for the client to chime in with feedback. Enquire on a more broader level – how did they find the work? On time? To satisfaction? What was the quality of the work? Would you work together again? Would you provide a reference to use for future clients?
Being open and communicative at every turn will result in a better product and a better relationship between client and creator.