What with all the (my) faffing to get this website live, I’ve been reflecting on the creative/client relationship. If you’re a marketer or product person or project manager who has never worked directly with a creative, you may find this useful.
1. Good suppliers are worth their weight in gold
For the love of sanity and all that’s good in the world, when you find a creative you enjoy working with…keep doing it. If they’re busy and timelines permit, wait for them to be ready for you. Life is infinitely easier when you have a known factor. You’ll find it cuts the angst over the questions you have in your mind. (Shout-out to Ben Shuar, a mighty fine designer.)
2. Trust peoples’ expertise
When you make your own thing, it’s perfectly normal to want to put your stamp ALL over it. Even more so when you’re working directly.
But resist the urge if you can bear it.
In resistance, you’re giving creative freedom to the people who specialise in that thing you’ve paid them to do. Just find a good creative, write them a good brief, and let them get on with it.
3. So yeah, WTF is a good brief?
A good brief is about the audience. Not in some general way – “aged 40+ lives in the Eastern Suburbs”– it’s got to be specific and relational to you and what you do.
- Do they have certain attitudes to the world or you?
- Is there something quirky about their buying behaviours?
- Does your thing/service solve their problems, big or small?
- Do you cost less and give more than the competition? Do tell.
A good brief lines up the facts and answers the ‘why you’ and ‘why not someone else’ questions.
4. Don’t be afraid of feedback
A copy deck, a logo, a choice of image, a font size. You may be required to provide feedback on all these at some stage in your work life.
a) The first draft will never be 100% on point.
b) The job is the job, not the creative who made it or the person who briefed it.
When giving feedback, speak your mind and clearly say why it’s not working for you. No need to solve the problem – your creative will do that for you.
5. It’s wretchedly hard to write about yourself
That’s why many people use copywriters like me. We can ask all the stupid questions, we have all these funny processes that can help us focus on your marketing challenge, and we aren’t too close to the job at hand.
Even if you have a crack at writing it yourself in the dead of night or in between meetings, it really does pay to surround yourself with good back-up and people who can lift your game.
(Shout-out to the most excellent Antoanela Safca who proofread a way-too-early draft of this site and pointed me in a much brighter direction.)
6. How to find the right creative for you
- Ask to see their work – can they do the kind of project you want?
- Do they have testimonials? You can ask to speak with old clients, too.
- Have an actual conversation with them, don’t rely on email alone. Can you laugh with them? Could you have a hard conversation with them if you needed to?
- Who have they worked with in the past? Does this line up with the expertise you need?
- Start slowly, get them in for a simple piece and get a feel for their working style.
Time’s up, I gotta post this thing
Ask me a question if you’d like to know more about writing a winner-winner-chicken-dinner brief. To learn more about working with a copywriter, my process page steps through the key copy stages and has some pricing info if you need it.