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6 Ways to Turn Criticism Into a Career Catalyst

Posted by Sarah Davis on July 21, 2015

career catalystCriticism - what no one wants to hear, but every digital marketer has endured. Let’s face it, criticism can be hurtful and often causes us to question our work. But what if there was a way to turn criticism into a helpful tool for self-improvement? What if those unsolicited negative remarks became career catalysts and sparked growth? The marketers willing to channel the sparks of criticism by following these 6 actions will be rewarded with tremendous career development.

Criticism can scar our work or it can ignite our growth. The choice is ours. (Tweet this)

Filter the Feedback

First, distinguish the useful feedback from the useless. There’s a huge difference between naysayers and a well-meaning, insightful expert. To determine which is which, ask yourself these questions. Who is the source? Are they more knowledgeable than you? Do they care about the success of your project or work and the impact on the consumer? Are they trolling?

Useless feedback:

  • Doesn’t leave any room for improvement

  • Comes from outside your target audience or customers

  • Goes against your core value or unique selling point

  • Example: “Hard to take this blog post seriously with bad color choices.”

Useful  feedback:

  • Given by customers or people who actually looked at your product or content

  • Points out a specific problem

  • Suggests an improvement

  • Example: “These are useful tips for learning SEO but they’re not organized well.”

Helpful criticism gives you ideas on how to improve while negative criticism for the sake of being negative doesn’t help you.

Say Thank You

It might seem a little strange, but expressing gratitude for negative (and positive) feedback can be extremely beneficial. Saying thank you will soften your worst critics and build trust. Let the critic know you heard their concern and you’re giving it thoughtful consideration. For the truly helpful critics, build a relationship (keep your eye out for a potential mentor) and use their insight to improve your product. You can even solicit their feedback for future projects.

Be Proactive

Waiting for someone to verbalize criticism is often a sign you waited too long. Seek out key relationships (manager, co-worker, clients, stakeholders) early and solicit feedback about upcoming projects. Tell them you genuinely want their candid feedback because it is critical to the success of your project and your personal growth. Proactively seeking feedback before you launch a new campaign can save you time and money further down the road (Tweet this).

Make Changes

Take some time to think through the critic’s comments and really explore how to incorporate helpful feedback moving forward. What action needs to be taken to improve the project next time? What needs to change? Imagine implementing that feedback, and if it makes sense - do it. Make edits to existing content or products and tell the critic how you implemented their feedback to further build trust.

Dig Deeper

Now that you’ve listened to criticism and made some changes, look for other opportunities to make improvements. Ask questions to discover new possibilities (Tweet this). Could the solution to this one issue be scaled across the entire company to be more efficient and save money? Do all of your blog posts need a little tweaking? Is there a new market segment you should be targeting? This is where remarkable marketers shine- using learning experiences to add value and continue developing skills.

Take Risks

What people are afraid of isn’t failure. It’s blame. Criticism,” explains Seth Godin. Don’t let the fear of criticism stop you from taking risks because for true growth and innovation, risks are inevitable.

We are all bound to make mistakes, but that’s what makes us better in the long run. Learn from your errors and use them as a career catalyst for improvement. Of course aim to avoid mistakes when possible by actively seeking feedback before you fully launch a digital marketing campaign or publish an ebook. Watch for others who have done something similar and learn from their successes or failures.

“Learn from your mistakes and use them as a career catalyst.” (Tweet this)

Be different and follow your own path, even if that means faltering along the way, while facing doubt and criticism from your peers” -Paul Roetzer. Think playfully outside the box, proceed without fear of failure, and see just how far you’ll go.

Want to learn more about career opportunities in digital marketing where risks and innovation occur daily? Download the free eBook “Breaking Into Digital Marketing” and get started today.

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Topics: For Recent Grads