A video creator’s guide to constructive criticism

The best way to improve as at anything—whether you’re an illustrator, a writer, or a video creator—is to get constructive feedback. It’s the negative feedback you might fear—but you shouldn’t!

Of course, nonspecific negative feedback like “You suck!” or “I hate you!” don’t do much to help someone. But if you genuinely don’t like a video that someone created and you want to express that dislike, there’s a constructive way to approach it. If a serious video creator has done something that doesn’t click with their audience—whether it’s weak visuals, poor editing, bad audio, or an abrupt change in channel content—they’ll appreciate knowing that.

How to give constructive criticism

The key elements in making effective constructive criticism:

  • Be respectful: The creator put time and effort into making their content. Don’t disrespect them with personal attacks.
  • Be even-handed: Try to balance negative feedback with a couple positive points too.
  • Be specific: Don’t just say “Your channel sucks!”—say exactly what you don’t like. Is it a specific part of the content itself? The intro music? The editing?
  • Offer improvements: Rather than just complain, give specific suggestions about what to change. Link to a good stock video library or give concrete advice on lighting, for instance.
  • Be concise: Don’t ramble! Outline the main two or three issues, offer a suggestion for each, and move on. The creator will be able to work faster with a small list.

How to accept constructive criticism

It’s hard to avoid taking criticism personally, especially for a video that means a lot to you. But the more criticism you take, the more you’ll get used to it . . . sort of. It may still hurt, but you’ll come to accept that it’s one of the best tools to help you grow.

When you receive truly constructive and well-meaning criticism, always thank the person who provided it. Don’t push back and say “you’re wrong because of X and Y.” That person spent time and effort to look at your videos and offer improvements. Pushing back is disrespectful and will turn others off from offering further criticism in the future.

Finally, consider the suggestions you received and be thoughtful about how you can incorporate them into your next video while staying true to your channel’s brand.

Ask for it and dish it out

Maybe you’re okay with criticism, but you’re not getting any. Ask for it from your fans! Include an invitation to feedback in your video description, or take a few seconds in the video to ask for criticism.

If you already do that and no one’s giving feedback, reach out to other creators and offer criticism on their videos. Remember the key elements, and at the end, ask for the same criticism back. Maybe link to a video you’re looking for feedback on.

Constructive criticism will take you to the next level as a creator. The way to get better and to grow is to learn what you’re doing wrong!