Getting feedback on your writing – Part 1

Youth entrepreneurs can improve their chances for success with smart communications, but who can help you improve your writing?

Whether you are selling an animal, a product you have come up with or a service, how you communicate with your potential customers can impact your business. There are several methods of written communication to consider, such as letters, fliers and social media, and Michigan State University Extension offers tips on how to improve communication pieces. One consistent factor to creating successful marketing tools is getting feedback on your communication before sending it out.

Whom can you ask for feedback on your writing? There are a couple of ways of going about this.

One approach is to ask people who know your product and understand the market you are working in. This might include previous customers, members of your target market, other business owners or 4-H entrepreneurs, members of a related club or organization or a personal mentor. These people will understand your work and may help you think broader or see where you need to focus in more. They may also give you feedback related to their own success or challenge in that area, which can help make your own communication stronger.

Another approach is to ask people who are not at all familiar with your area of work. This might include people in your life you have a relationship with, such as family members, your 4-H leader or staff member or friends. This could also include trusted members of your community, such as teachers, counselors, principals or librarians, or seeking out input from professionals who work at your local newspaper. When you ask people who don’t know your product to review a flier or other written communication, they may be able to give you valuable feedback about what is confusing, which details are missing or how you can write in a way that explains your product clearly to new customers.

No matter whom you decide to ask, it is a good practice to give them enough time to review your work before expecting feedback to be returned. Especially when you are looking at deadlines, it may be helpful to plan ahead to make sure they have enough time to review and you still have time to revise your writing before sending it out. It is also wise to ask multiple people so you have a variety of perspectives and reactions to incorporate into your final products.

After you have figured out who to ask, the next step is deciding what kind of feedback you need and what questions will get you there. Once you have the feedback, the final step is understanding feedback and deciding what to incorporate into your writing.

Michigan 4-H has many resources for budding entrepreneurs and the adult volunteers who help them, including articles, curriculum and bulletins and trainings.

Other articles in this series

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