Getting useful information from reviewers

Stay in touch with your reviewers, without overdoing it.

Tell reviewers when the schedule changes

Schedules change. If a change affects when you will get material to your reviewers, let them know. Negotiate with them on new dates. Don't just assume they can accommodate every slip in the schedule.

Give reviewers a "heads up" a few days in advance

Everyone on your web team is overly busy, including your reviewers. Remind them when you are about to send a draft.

Make your expectations clear

It's frustrating to expect a technical review and then get your copy back with nothing more than a few commas changed - incorrectly. You can improve your chances of getting what you need if you make your expectations clear.

Deliver your drafts for review with individual cover emails. Tell each reviewer

• what stage the draft is at

• what specific help you need from that reviewer

• when you must have the review back

• to call or write you if they have questions or need to renegotiate dates

And remind reviewers politely that you expect them to comment and suggest, not to rewrite. Writing the content is your job.

If you have specific needs, let reviewers know

In your cover email, you may be reminding each reviewer of that reviewer's role. In addition, you may have specific questions for different reviewers within your material. Develop a way of asking that makes it obvious you have a question and who the question is for. I often use square brackets, [ ], put the reviewer's name in bold, and use a bright color so that it stands out on the screen, as in this example:

[Jim: Please tell me who is responsible for approving travel requests. I want to turn the passive sentence in the original into an active sentence here. Please fill in the blank for me at the beginning of my sentence. Thanks.]

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