Today, at my 9 to 5, I wrote something that I felt really good about. That is a rare occurence. The more usual pattern is that I write something, read it, think “What a load of crap,” put it aside for a day or two, come back to re-read and edit and think, “Well, that’s not too bad.”
But today, I wrote something that seemed good right away. Of course, it was for other people to use and one of those other people not happy with it. It’s not unusual. When you write for other people, you will encounter criticism – some good and constructive and some painful and probably also constructive.
Regardless of the reason, today, the criticism made me uncomfortable. The sort of uncomfortable that involves a headache, a faster-than-normal-pulse rate and an extreme effort to maintain a neutral facial expression (an effort with questionable results on my part, no doubt).
The point of contention was about style. I had written an excellent piece of content marketing, and the person requesting changes wanted a call to action. She wanted a more traditional piece of marketing and couldn’t understand how it could be marketing without an overt demand the reader do something, buy something!
Of course, I know that the point of all marketing is to increase sales, but I also understand that people don’t enjoy being exhorted to buy, buy, buy every other sentence. My piece was designed to build trust with potential clients by bringing them useful information. It was an article for a newsletter that would be delivered by email.
After I calmed down and made the requested changes, I started thinking about how I interact with freelance clients. They come to me for help with newsletters, their blogs, Facebook fan pages, and Twitter accounts. My freelance clients trust my judgment when it comes to marketing through social media. I don’t claim to be a social media guru, an expert or even a maven, but I do help people understand how it works and to decide if it will be useful for them.
In the end, the criticism served as a motivator, because it helped me understand my own strengths and to feel more confident about what I am good at.