Chapter 2 - Assignment Process

CopyPress Communication Tone Code

In our Community, hundreds of creatives interact every day. With so many creatives engaging with one another, our members need to identify which types of conversations best help us reach our overall goal.

Our goal is to be a community where talented, trained creatives can find professional success with CopyPress, other creatives, and outside clients. In order for Community to meet that goal, each of our members needs to engage in positive communication with each other — especially when working together on assignments and projects.

Our members are therefore expected to adhere to our CopyPress Communication Tone Code and only engage in discourse that is:

  • Professional
  • Respectful
  • Helpful
  • Positive
  • Friendly
  • Motivating
  • Elevating (intended to inspire improvement)

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all conversations will be related to strictly positive situations.

As with all creative jobs, we will encounter situations where feedback — both positive and negative — will be necessary for us to reach our highest potential.

But negative feedback can come from a positive place. In fact, it should always come from a positive place.

As Community members, we will all give or receive negative feedback while working together. Use these tips to make sure that both your delivery and acceptance of the feedback aligns with our CopyPress Communication Tone Code.

Don’t deliver feedback from a negative place.

Feedback that is from a positive place is constructive and solution-oriented. Never use language that positions your feedback from a negative place.

  • Don’t make it about you.  — Never say, This is making it hard for me. Because you did this, I have to edit it again. 
  • Don’t place blame. — Never say, You made me waste my or my company’s time and money.
  • Don’t make generalized negative statements. — Never say, Your work or actions are unacceptable.
  • Don’t criticize or belittle each other. — Never say, You are unprofessional. You should know better. Never say, I know better than you do.
  • Don’t discipline. — Never say, This is a strike against you. You will be disciplined.
  • Don’t make accusations or attack work ethic. — Never say, You should not be doing this job. You don’t know how to accept criticism.

If you are unsure of how to give feedback when someone has made errors in style, grammar, formatting, or tone — please use our CopyPress Suggestions for Editorial Feedback and Tips on How to Provide Constructive Feedback

Accept all feedback from a positive place.

We all have egos that can make it hard to accept feedback that we don’t want to hear.

But keep in mind that feedback is not personal. It is not an attack or an accusation. It is not meant to make you feel bad. It is meant to make you better. Even the best writers and editors benefit from feedback.

So don’t beat yourself up or get angry or defensive if you receive feedback. Instead, assume that every article you work on will receive feedback.

That will help you to start seeing feedback as something common and neutral — not a negative accusation of a job poorly done.

The exception to this is if the feedback is clearly rude and combative. Alert the project manager if you feel this is the case.

If you disagree with feedback, complete the task — then deal with it later.

In the event that you don’t agree with the comments of an editor, you should:

  1. Say, “Thanks for your feedback.”
  2. Resist trying to convince the other person of your perspective.
  3. Do what you need to do to complete the project.
  4. File a Writer/Editor complaint after the project if you still feel strongly about the situation.

Writers should always make changes to an article per the directions of an editor (even if they don’t agree with it). Once the article is complete, they may file a Writer/Editor complaint explaining the situation and why they didn’t agree.

Editors should contact their project manager in the event that a writer is refusing to follow their directions.

Keep conversations related to the task at hand.

That’s not to say you can’t have friendly banter with each other during a project. Friendly common courtesies are more than welcome!

However, try to avoid any conversation that doesn’t contribute to completing the task at hand when providing feedback and working on an assignment.

Don’t ask questions about other projects, bring up scenarios that happened separate from the current project, or relay information that should be sent to another party. (Not sure who to contact about your question?)

Never send a message when you are frustrated.

We all know that when we are caught up in a moment, we can say things we don’t mean. So if you find yourself in a tough situation, walk away before you engage.

Wait until you are in a better mindset before you continue the conversation. Buffer offers an interesting tip in their Tone Guide. They suggest rearranging your body language to position yourself in a way that will lead to a more empathetic response.

I have found that my body language affects my writing. In preparation for an email that’s going to need great empathy, I sometimes try to sit forward, like I’m leaning into the conversation, not back, as if I’m feeling defensive.

When re-reading your own email out loud, if you find yourself raising your eyebrows as you read to make your point, perhaps try to re-think the tone.

If a negative dialogue opens, don’t participate.

Any dialogue that is not helping the situation is making it worse, so never carry on in a conversation that is going nowhere.

If a serious dispute arises, it is not your job as a writer, editor, or project manager to resolve it. Please file a Writer/Editor complaint and let our Community team help resolve the problem.

Not every writer or editor will be a fit for every campaign, and that is okay.

If you find that a team member is not a good fit for a project or not meeting defined project expectations, notify your project manager. Recommend that the writer or editor be removed from the campaign (once their assignment is complete) and explain why.

Never directly tell a writer or editor that you have recommended their removal — especially while the project is still in progress. Project managers and/or CopyPress managers will decide if a writer or editor is not a fit for a campaign and make the necessary steps to discontinue their work on the project.

In a creative business, not every writer or editor will be a fit for every campaign. Writers and editors should understand and expect that they may not be asked to continue to work on every campaign. All of our content projects are unique, and CopyPress will continue to work with writers and editors based on how their strengths and weaknesses match projects.

Team members should never blame others when they are not meeting expectations. They should accept the situation and move on to the next project.

Our goal is to be a community where talented, trained creatives can find professional success so let’s reach that goal by always engaging with each other in a positive, uplifting way. Writers, editors, and project managers who cannot adhere to our Communication Tone Guide will no longer be able to work on CopyPress projects. Violators of the CopyPress Communication Tone Code or subject to warnings and/or removal from the working CopyPress Community.


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