Get exceptional work from your creative team (it’s easy)

A friend who’s a math genius but struggles with putting sentences together once asked me how I write. I was tempted to say that it involves a mysterious, tantalizing process known only to those who possess special knowledge. Mere mortals are not worthy.

The secret sauce is creativity. It’s the engine that drives many of us who bypassed math and science while we were pursuing our liberal arts educations. It’s also the main ingredient behind show-stopping copy and eye-popping design.

But creativity only gets us so far. We also need your input and direction to keep our tanks full and to ensure that you are just as revved up as we are about your logos, websites, blogs, newsletters and other creative projects. Here are a few simple tips to keep us humming efficiently:

1. Set goals. What do you want to accomplish? If you can’t define your marketing objectives before launching a campaign or project, you’ll never know if it was successful. We’ll help you determine goals and measure results.

2. Provide deadlines. We’re one of the fastest agencies you’ll find, but we need clear deadlines. Telling us that you need it “ASAP” or “sometime in the next couple months” doesn’t establish a realistic timeline. P.S.: Everyone needs it ASAP.

3. Communicate. Define your expectations and provide clear direction. Do you want weekly updates every Friday? Would you prefer to assign newsletter stories or let us suggest topics? Are you the main marketing contact or should we work with someone else?

4. Take risks. Give us the creative freedom to push the envelope. Doing what’s safe isn’t necessarily the best choice for your business. It’s a huge buzz kill when you ask us to design a new logo or a website and then water it down so that it blends in with the crowd. Be open to making a statement and see what a positive difference it can make in your marketing.

5. Trust us. You hired us for our writing and design expertise, and our ability to deliver the goods. We love to help you and your company shine, and we have your best interests at heart.

6. Get organized. Gather background materials, photos, logos and other items in advance and have them at the ready when we start working on your projects. Send as many items at once as possible rather than sending multiple emails with bits and pieces of documents and information. We can work more efficiently that way, saving you time and money.

7. Keep promises. If you tell us that you plan to provide sources, edits, photos or anything else by a certain date, stick to it. It will help us keep your project on time and on budget.

8. Minimize approvals. Limiting approvals to key decision-makers speeds the time your project goes from concept to production. The higher up the food chain the reviews go, the more they bog down the process.

9. Give constructive feedback. Not being prepared to give us input doesn’t do you any favors. Be as specific as possible. Saying, “There’s just something about it that I don’t like,” or “I can’t put my finger on it, but this isn’t doing it for me,” keeps us guessing about what we need to do to make it right for you.

10. Mind email lists. We’ll be happy to help you with e-blasts and e-newsletters, but you’ll save a lot of headaches by having an opt-in email list in advance. By signing up for such a list, people agree to receive whatever kind of communication you send. Learn more about email marketing.

There’s no magic bullet when it comes to being creative. We’re able to do our best work when our relationships with you are open and collaborative.

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