How to Find Free Photos for Your Blog

We know that every blog post should have an image for SEO reasons. But finding quality images to use can be a daunting task. And taking your own photos just isn’t always realistic.

If you’re thinking, “What!? Images are everywhere! Just use Google!” Keep reading…

Why can’t I use Google Images?

Google Images doesn’t actually own the images it’s showing you. It’s simply a search engine bringing up images from websites all over the Internet. Most of the images you see are copyrighted, and are the exclusive property of their owners. Copyrighted images should not be republished without the owner’s permission.

Just because an image is not watermarked or listed as copyrighted doesn’t mean it’s not copyrighted. In fact, it’s better to assume it is copyrighted, unless specified otherwise.

You can use Google Images to help you locate images. But it’s up to you to verify the copyright status on any image before you republish it on your blog or website.

Now that we know what we can’t use, let’s move on to what we can use.

8 of the Best Sources for Free Photos for Your Blog

Below is a list of several free stock photography websites. Copyright restrictions vary by site and by image. For example, some images require that you credit the photographer. So take note of that before using any image on your blog or website.

New Old Stock

New Old Stock
This site bills itself as “vintage photos from the public archives free of known copyright restrictions.” Lots of cool images, but no easy way to search.

PhotoPin

Photo Pin 
This website is actually searching Creative Commons images on Flickr.com. Again, quality is all over the board, but you can find some more interesting shots here.

Sumall

Sumall 
This is a somewhat limited collection of very creative illustrations, photos and icons. What they lack in quantity they make up for in cuteness and imagination.

Unsplash

Unsplash 
Unsplash delivers 10 new, high-resolution photos every 10 days. The photos are stunning, but again, no search.

PicJumbo

PicJumbo
You’ll find a smaller selection of high-quality images in a variety of broad categories.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons is 20 million images strong and growing. It’s bound to have something you can use.

Pixabay

Pixabay 
The quality of images varies widely, but you can often find some nice shots.

Stock.Xchng

Free Images
The selection is pretty good for many basic needs.

If you didn’t find something on one of these sites, you’re not looking hard enough! Try thinking about your topic in more abstract, less obvious, terms.

Photo credit: runner310 via photopin cc

How to Make Your Ideas Stick

What makes an idea “stick”? How do you make your idea attention grabbing and believable? How do you make people care about your idea or take action?

It might seem like these are questions just for marketing and advertising people, but learning how to make your ideas stick is crucial for success in any profession or position. Everyone from business owners and managers (who must sell a culture, mission and policies) to teachers (who must get students to remember the curriculum), can benefit from being able to more effectively communicate ideas.

How to Make Ideas Stick

In their book “Made to Stick,” Chip and Dan Heath have outlined the six characteristics that make an idea “sticky.” Let’s take a look at each.

How to Make Your Ideas Stick

1. Simplicity

There’s a reason we can all recite quite a few proverbs.

  • A penny saved is a penny earned.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

They’re simple. If anything else was taken away, the meaning would not be the same.

If you want your idea to be remembered, keep it simple.

2. Unexpectedness

By now you’ve probably seen the highly popular AT&T “It’s Not Complicated” commercials where a bunch of kids and a straight man chatter about the advantages of the AT&T network.

What makes these commercials enjoyable is that they’re funny and cute. What makes them sticky is that they’re unexpected.

We expect cell phone carrier commercials to be a back and forth of who has the better features or rates or coverage. We don’t expect them to be left up to the ridiculous musings of a jabbering tots.

If you want your idea to be remembered, you have to go off the beaten path and stop following predefined formulas.

3. Concreteness

Compassion International is a child advocacy ministry that helps over 1.2 million children in 26 countries. While this is no doubt an impressive number, it’s not what Compassion International focuses on in their awareness and fundraising efforts.

Instead, they ask people to sponsor one child. They show you a photo of the child, and give you details about his or her life, such as where they live, how old they are, and how long they’ve been waiting to be sponsored.

They make the issue concrete. We can’t really imagine 1.2 million children, let alone how we would help them. But we can imagine helping one child, and once we know about and have seen him or her, it’s hard not to.

Ideas that stick are concrete. They’re tangible. We can visualize them in our minds.

If your idea is having trouble sticking, look for ways to make it more concrete.

4. Credibility

If your idea isn’t credible, it’s usually dead in the water. Made to Stick points out a couple ways you can make your idea more credible:

  • Use an authority.
    Experts and celebrities inherently provide credibility. Since most of us don’t have easy access to either, consider “antiauthorities.” Recall the anti-smoking commercials that depict smokers suffering the consequences of years of smoking. These smokers are antiauthorities. They have firsthand experience.
  • Use details.
    Everyone knows that adding inconsequential details to a lie can make it more believable. Not surprisingly, the same strategy can work when you’re trying to make a valid idea more believable.
  • Make statistics understandable.
    Very large (or very small) numbers, no matter how impressive, are hard to relate to. Put your statistics in concrete terms people can grasp more easily.
  • Use respected examples or references.
    References, especially those well-known or highly respected, can go a long way toward increasing your credibility.
  • Provide “testable” credentials.
    People like to try before they buy. When possible, let them do it.

5. Emotions

You’re probably familiar with the saying “Don’t mess with Texas.” But you probably didn’t know it originated as an anti-littering campaign.

In the 1980s, Texas had a serious litter problem. They had tried other emotional campaigns, pointing out how littering hurt the environment and wildlife. They had tried encouraging cooperation, with “please don’t litter” and “pitch in” campaigns. They weren’t working because people just didn’t care.

But then they took a closer look at their target market. The typical litterer was an 18 to 35-year-old male who liked sports, pick-up trucks and country music.

With this insight, a new campaign was born. Commercials featured prominent Texas athletes and musicians with a message for litterers: don’t mess with Texas.

The campaign was an instant success. Within a year litter had declined 29%.

The success of the campaign wasn’t from a catchy slogan. It was because the campaign made the target audience care about the issue. It made them realize that real Texans don’t litter.

To make an idea stick, you have to make people care.

6. Stories

One of my favorite TV shows is NBC’s Parenthood. It follows the lives of the Bravermans, four siblings who each have diverse families of their own, and encounter all manner of trials and tribulations. I’ve cried through more episodes than I care to admit. What is it that could make me CRY over a pretend family??

A good story.

Using a brilliant, engaging story, the show draws you in so completely that it’s like you know the Bravermans. Their victories are your victories. Their pain is your pain.

And that’s what good stories do. They make us care, and they make us remember. They make things stick.

Make It Stick

The next time you need an idea to stick, use these six characteristics as a checklist. The more of these traits you can infuse into your message, the more likely your idea is to stick.

Grab your copy of Made to Stick today! (Find it on Amazon in hardcover or Kindle.)

Photo credit: brionv via photopin cc

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally use and recommend.)

Freelancer Question: Do I Have to Start Over for Free?

Q: I’m working on a logo for a client. They gave me some rough ideas about what they wanted, and I provided them with five logo comps, using their ideas and some of my own. Now he’s saying he doesn’t like any of them, and wants to go in a totally different direction. I feel like it’s my fault they don’t like them. Does that mean I have to start over for free?

Do I have to start over for free?

A: Here’s a question for you: what did you agree on before you began the project?

Nothing, you say? Then shame on you…but we’ll get to that.

Without a predefined “scope” of the project, it will be a little trickier, but no, you don’t have to start over for free.

If the client is reasonable, they should be understanding that since they’ve determined they want to change directions, and they will be tying up your time further, there will be additional charges.

I’ve always found that just being honest and direct about things like this is usually the best policy. Nine out of ten times, the client agrees and you move on. And if they don’t…well, they’re probably a nightmare client and it’s better you found out now anyway.

Your Response

Your response can be something to the effect of…

“I’m sorry you felt that none of these logo concepts fit your needs. If you would like to go in a different direction, I will be happy to provide additional concepts. As I’m sure you understand, there will be an additional charge due to the extra time and effort involved. I can provide xx new logo concepts with up to xx rounds of revisions for $xx.”

See what I did there?

I’m sorry you felt that none of these logo concepts fit your needs. If you would like to go in a different direction, I will be happy to provide additional concepts.
Show your understanding and willingness to continue working together.

As I’m sure you understand, there will be an additional charge due to the extra time and effort involved.
Mention their assumed understanding, and provide rationale for the extra fees.

I can provide xx new logo concepts with up to xx rounds of revisions for $xx.
Work in the scope of the new project. You’ve learned your lesson. You’re not starting another project without clearly defining the terms.

Define Your Scope First

It’s situations like this that make you really glad you clearly defined a project’s scope before you began. When you have agreement about what the client wants and precisely what you’re going to deliver for a given fee, there should be no surprise when there are extra charges due to the scope of the project changing. It also prevents any awkwardness, because you have something to reference. You’re not just pulling extra fees out of thin air.

For example, for a logo project, I always specify the minimum number of comps I will provide, usually four to six. (This means completely unique concepts, not multiple variations of the same idea with a tiny tweak.) I also specify how many rounds of revisions are included, typically up to two. Then I give the fee for those deliverables.

With those stipulations agreed upon, in writing, before the project begins, there is no room for misunderstanding. If they ask for an additional concept above what we’ve agreed upon, there will be an additional charge. If they ask for three or four rounds of revisions, there will be an additional charge.

Best Practices

As a best practice, I always let the client know when they are entering the realm of additional fees. They may decide they don’t have to see that other concept their neighbor’s 13-year-old nephew sketched out. Or, they may be fine with the extra fee, and are grateful to you for letting them know what to expect ahead of time.

Now, that being said, I try not to be a Scope Nazi. If the client has technically had their two rounds of revisions, then they ask for one tiny tweak, I’m most likely not going to charge for that. No client wants to feel like they’re being nickel-and-dimed. The scope agreement is there to protect you when the client is demanding way more of your time, energy and talent than they are paying for.

A Win-Win

Defining your scope with your client is a win-win. They know exactly what to expect, and you aren’t stuck doing 100 comps for the price of 1.

Agree? Disagree? Had your own nightmare situation due to a lack of scope? Let’s talk on Twitter!

What I’ve Learned from Stalking Internet Marketers

Stalking Internet marketers is one of my favorite things to do in my spare time. I read their blogs and follow their social media accounts. I know where they went to college and how their career is going. In some cases, depending on how free they are with their Instagram presence, I even know quite a bit about their family and friends.

Lessons from Internet Marketers

(Before you start to think of me as some kind of creep-o, let me remind you that this is all stuff they put out there on the Internet for the whole world to see.)

My stalking habit has enabled me to see some patterns develop around really successful Internet marketers. I’ve picked up some things I’ve tried to infuse into my online presence, and I’ll share them with you:

3 Tips for a Stronger Online Presence

1. Show personality.

I have a tendency to think of blogging and social media as public speaking, and we all know how much fun that is. Because I know other people are reading (and judging) what I write, and because I know it will be captured for all of eternity on the Interwebs, I have the urge to stay “safe” with what I put out there.

But who wants to read anything safe or shy or censored?

That’s why the successful Internet marketers I’ve observed let it all hang out. Or at least enough to make their followers feel like they know them. They share it all — successes, failures, what they like, don’t like, etc.

Take one of my favorite online personalities, Ramit Sethi, who runs I Will Teach You to be Rich, for example. This guy is intense. He’s hilarious, often at the expense of his readers, as he blasts them for making dumb comments. He’s not afraid to brag about what he’s accomplished (and the millions of dollars he makes), but he also freely shares where he’s made mistakes and failed along the way.

This strong online persona makes him one of the most interesting, fun-to-read Internet marketers out there, and it’s one thing (out of many) that sets him apart from other financial “gurus.”

2. Be visible. All the time.

Blogging and social networking is hard work. Writing blog posts that are useful and engaging takes time. Coming up with tweets and updates and photos that anyone takes a second glance at is challenging.

But the hardcore Internet marketers make it look like a cake walk.

Look at Jon Acuff for example. The guy’s written four books, two of which are New York Times or Wall Street Journal best sellers. He posts regularly on two blogs, and cranks out a boatload of hilarious updates, tweets and Instragram photos every day, each of which get hundreds of comments and likes.

He’s a machine.

The truth is, I have no idea how he generates so much content. But his high frequency of interactions with his audience makes for an extremely engaged and loyal tribe. A tweet here and there isn’t going to do anything for your follower count.

3. Funny is optional.

Maybe this is just me, but it can seem like the only way to get attention on the Internet is to be funny. While humor never hurts, I’ve learned that you don’t have to be a comedian to have influence.

Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins are great examples of this. They both have extremely popular blogs and large audiences, though neither is especially funny in the traditional sense. Michael Hyatt writes primarily on leadership and developing a platform, and Jeff Goins writes on writing and making a difference. Rather than worrying about cracking jokes, they focus on providing challenging, thought-provoking content.

Get Out There and Stalk Someone

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned: be yourself, funny or not, and post things a lot. Simple, huh? Now do some stalking of your own and see what other lessons you can pick up.

Photo credit: Tomasz Lewicki via photopin cc

Inspiration Station #9: Arrested Development Edition

Arrested Development is possibly one of the funniest shows on TV. And much to the delight of its cult following, new episodes will begin streaming on Netflix later this month.

A hilarious, multi-faceted marketing campaign has been building excitement for the last several months.

Posters

A series of posters play off classic props and jokes referenced in the show. Here are a few of my favorites:

 Tobias Poster Maeby Poster Buster Poster

Banana Stand Tour

As every AD fan knows, “There’s always money in the banana stand.” A pop-up version of the family business has been on a global tour, making stops in London, New York City and Los Angeles. (Sadly, I don’t think it will be making a stop in Nashville.)

Banana Stand Tour

Netflix Easter Eggs

Now these are pretty subtle, but very clever and will no doubt be appreciated by diehards. For example, when you search the word “blue” in Netflix, you’ll notice blue smudges and a handprint appear around the edges of the page. Users can rank the show with bananas rather stars. Netflix even displayed fake movies from the show (Girls with Low Self Esteem, Les Cousins Dangereux and more) that linked to Arrested Development page.

Tobias

Your Turn

The show is endlessly clever, so the marketing campaign had to be nothing less. I like to imagine the marketers were true fans themselves.

What’s your favorite poster?

Will you be watching season four?

Tell us in the comments.

Book Notes: Start by Jon Acuff

Kicking off the media tour for the release of his latest book, Start, Jon Acuff hosted a “Start Night” event at the historic (and awesome) Franklin Theatre. I had the pleasure of attending this event and receiving a pre-release copy of the book.

Start by Jon Acuff Review

Start is about getting off the path to average and getting on the path to awesome. I don’t know about you, but you’ve got me right there.

The book gives readers practical advice for living their version of awesome and pursuing their dreams — whether that’s starting a business, writing a book, making art or something else entirely.

There are golden nuggets of wisdom throughout the book, but I’ll share just a couple that stood out to me:

You don’t have to know where you’ll end up before you get started.

“Beginning with the end in mind” is wise, but that doesn’t mean you have to know all the details before you even start.

“You have to get comfortable with tension…You have to be a realist and a dreamer. Practical and impractical. Logical and illogical. You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances.”

“‘You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever that may be.’ Avoid the temptation to believe that being honest about your current reality is somehow not the right way to dream big. Honestly looking at where you currently are in life turns your present into a platform you can jump from instead of a prison that will hold you back.”

Forget trying to find your purpose and start living with purpose.

“One of the worst things you can do is try to find your purpose in life. Nothing cripples you like trying to:
‘Find your purpose.’
‘Figure out your dream.’
‘Name your passion.’”

“Purpose…usually finds you…More often than not, you’ll encounter purpose in the middle of the road when you least expect it.”

“Living with purpose allows you to: start today, start where you are, start on what matters to you.”

Work harder and smarter.

“If you work hard, you tend to expect results. If you decide that you’ll spend ten hours a week on your path to expertise instead of twenty, you’ll get there slower than someone who owns the twenty and gets down to business.”

Ignore the voices.

“No one has a positive internal voice.”

Your internal voice will tell you you’re too young or too old or not smart enough. We have to stop giving our best time, energy and creativity to paying attention to these negative voices.

Two of the best ways to fight these “invisible bullies” is to document them and share them.

How to be awesome.

“Helping other people better their lives is way more fun than obsessing about bettering your own.”

“You have to believe that everyone is more interesting than you.”

Spend less time trying to be interesting and more time being interested in others. That’s how you make a difference in this world.

Get your own copy!

This just scratches the surface of the practical, motivating writing you’ll find in Start. What are you waiting for? Grab your copy today!

Your Turn

Have you read Start? What stuck out to you?


(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally use and recommend.)

10 Digital Marketing Blogs You Should Be Reading

As a digital marketer, staying-up-to-date on the latest trends, research and strategies is crucial. One of the best ways to do that is following blogs written by top professionals in the industry.

I’ve subscribed to digital marketing blogs with an RSS reader. (Currently I use Google Reader, but it looks like that’s going to have to change.) Whenever I have a few spare minutes, I browse the feed for interesting articles.

Here are ten digital marketing blogs that I’ve found to be both insightful and actionable.

Digital Marketing Blogs

10 Digital Marketing Blogs You Should Be Reading

Copyblogger

Whether you like it or not, there’s a good chance your marketing career is going to involve writing and copywriting. It just make sense to hone your writing skills. The Copyblogger blog features top-notch content on everything it takes to be a better writer and marketer.

http://www.copyblogger.com/blog/

Seth Godin

The marketing genius of our time. If you’re going to be a marketer, it’s required reading.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

ConversionXL

ConversionXL posts about — you guess it — conversion. You’ll find deeply researched articles on getting better results from your website and marketing efforts.

http://conversionxl.com/blog/

Unbounce

Unbounce’s blog is chock-full of actionable information about conversion rate optimization, conversion centered design, A/B testing, and content and email marketing.

http://unbounce.com/blog/

Bidsketch

If you’re a freelancer, Bidsketch’s blog provides tactics and strategies for marketing your business and getting better (paying) clients.

http://www.bidsketch.com/blog/

Hubspot

Hubspot is a content-generating machine. But you don’t get to be the king of inbound marketing with once-a-week posts. Articles range in complexity, but they span the gamut of digital marketing topics, from lead generation to social media marketing to analytics. And they’ve recently done a blog redesign that makes their posts much more readable.

http://blog.hubspot.com/

Think Traffic

The Think Traffic blog may be centered around driving traffic on your website with epic content, but they hit on a number of relevant digital marketing topics.

http://thinktraffic.net/blog

KISSmetrics

The KISSmetrics blog is about tracking, analytics and conversion, with a healthy dose of case studies and articles on digital marketing strategies such as email and video.

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/

Anything by Gregory Ciotti

Gregory is a master of behavioral psychology. He regularly posts well-researched, in-depth articles about everything from persuasion techniques and customer service to productivity and copywriting. His posts are featured all over the web (on many of the other sites I’ve listed.) Many can be found here:

http://www.sparringmind.com/

https://www.helpscout.net/blog/

Your Turn

What digital marketing blogs do you read? Tell us in the comments!

photo credit: dimnikolov via photopin cc

4 Reasons Your Website Sucks at Generating Leads…And How to Fix It

Websites are meant to work, not just sit there and look pretty. Your website should be generating leads for you. If it’s not, these four reasons might be to blame.

Where are all the leads?

1. Your Website Doesn’t Offer Anything to Prospects.

How can you generate leads if you don’t have anything of value to offer your prospects?

Your website should be full of useful (not salesy) content, resources and offers that visitors are itching to get their hands on. Think e-books, white papers, guides, slide decks, demos, consultations and more.

You want to have a wide variety of content that will appeal to visitors depending on where they are in the sales process. For example, a “Getting Started” guide works for someone who’s still exploring all of their options, while a free demo or consultation is best for someone who’s ready to make a buying decision soon.

2. Your Website Doesn’t Use Conversion Pages (aka Landing Pages).

A conversion page (also called a landing page) is a page on your website that allows you to capture a visitor’s information with a form.

“My website has a form!” you say. “Just look at my ‘Contact Us’ page!”

OK, partial credit, but you can do better. If your only method of generating leads from your website is your “Contact Us” page, you’re missing out. The Contact page is just too generic. It can be used for job inquiries, price quotes, website malfunctions, vendor solicitations — it’s a catch-all.

Remember those offers we talked about in #1? To get to each of those offers, your visitors should have to go through a conversion page where they enter their contact information. After they do that, they are automatically directed to the offer they wanted.

3. Your Website Doesn’t Use Calls to Action.

How are your website visitors going to know how to get to your wonderful offers? Enter calls to action.

A call to action is text, a button or a banner on your website that asks visitors to do something. Download a guide, request a quote, view a demo, whatever. It calls them to action. Get it? Thought so.

Too often website visitors scan a page quickly and then fall off your site completely. Placing calls to action strategically throughout your website helps coax your visitors into taking the next desired step, generating a lead for your business.

4. Your Website Doesn’t Have a Blog.

You can’t generate leads with your website if you don’t have any traffic coming to your website.

A blog is the single best way to get traffic — and potential leads — to your website, and every company needs one.

Blogs are excellent at getting ranked in search engines for long-tail keywords, which means you’re more likely to get found by searchers who are actually looking for what you have to offer.

Frequently updated blogs also give you fresh content to promote through other channels, like email and social media, which can drive even more traffic to your site. Let’s see your boring ol’ website that never changes do THAT!

Finally, your blog can act as a hub for your offers and calls to action, creating a lead-generating machine. It goes something like this…

All Together Now

You write a blog post about a prominent topic in your industry. It ends with a call to action, telling readers to download your free guide [the offer] if they would like to learn more. To get that guide, they simply fill out a form on your conversion page. You get a lead, they get valuable information. Everyone’s happy.

Your Turn

Is your website lazy? Have you implemented any of these fixes and seen results? Let us know in the comments.

Decided you’ve let your website sit around long enough? Get in touch and I can help you start generating leads with your website today.

photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photopin cc

2 Methods to Get Crappy Work from Your Creative Team (and Other Tips for Marketing, Sales and Creative Teams Working Together)

Working with Creative Teams

Creative types can be hard to understand.

You know them: the graphic designers, the web developers, the video editors. They like to talk about fonts and wear ironic t-shirts and ponder the deeper meanings of Lost.

It’s often their free thinking and creativity that leads to the killer videos, presentations, websites that drive marketing campaigns, but their mysterious ways can often be perplexing to a more black-and-white, analytical marketing and sales crowd.

If marketing and sales want to get the best output possible for their campaigns and outreach efforts, it’s crucial that they know how to effectively work with creative teams.

After working on both sides of the equation, I’ve observed two methods that are guaranteed to produce subpar work. Use them at your own risk. And if you’d like some suggestions for a better way, keep reading.

Method 1: Tell your creative team exactly how to complete the project.

As a general rule, creative teams are usually pretty creative. They thrive on coming up with original solutions to problems. They get excited about generating new ideas. Even if the project is not particularly cutting-edge or thrilling, it can be a fun challenge to the creative team to make it as engaging as possible.

So when you tell them exactly how you want a project to look and feel — from the colors, to the layout, to the script, etc. — you take away every bit of excitement and intrigue from the project. And when you take away that spark of excitement, you’re no longer getting the team’s best work.

They’re going to churn out something to your specifications as quickly as possible. They’re going to check your project off the to-do list as fast as they can, and move on to the next project that they are excited about.

Maybe you’re thinking this sounds good. You get your project exactly the way you want it. But the problem is, you’re likely missing out on something that could have been infinitely better, had the creative team been given the freedom to use their creativity, talent and skills.

Method 2: Provide absolutely no guidelines for how you want the project to be completed.

“You’re the creative team, you know what to do.”

“Just make it look good.”

These trusting yet vague instructions from well-meaning sales and marketing professionals have cost many creative teams countless wasted hours of work and worry.

While creative teams don’t want to be told exactly how to complete a project, they do want to know what your expectations for the project are and what you have in mind.

Nothing is more agonizing than working on a project with no idea if your “customer” is going to like it. This fear can lead your creative team to do multiple drafts of several diverse concepts, spreading their efforts thin rather than honing their best ideas.

This fear can lead your creative team to play it safe. To stick to their tried-and-true methods rather than take the risks that could result in an amazing campaign.

How To Do It Better

There are plenty of other ways to get crappy work from your creative team. But let’s not focus on the negative. Here are some tips for working together in creative harmony.

Have an idea of what you want and provide examples.

Before you meet with the creative team, take time to think about what you want the end product to accomplish. Show the creative team something similar to what you have in mind. That doesn’t mean they’ll copy it — it gives them a basic framework to work with and shows them where your expectations are.

Give all the information you have.

The more insight and information the creative team has, the more they can use to deliver an exceptional final product. When you meet with the creative team, focus on what you know about the opportunity and your goals, not design details like colors and fonts.

Be open minded.

Show examples of what you like, but be open to something different that might be even better.

Trust the creative team’s judgement.

The creative team made decisions to use copy, colors, layouts, timing, etc. for a reason. If you have rationale for why a design choice won’t work, let them know. If it’s just personal preference, trust the creative team’s decisions.

The Bottom Line

Whether you work for the same company or you’ve hired an outside creative team, marketing, sales and creative teams have to view each other as partners in the creative process with distinct competencies.

Taking a little bit of time to understand the creative team and how they work can do wonders for your sales and marketing process and can guarantee you get top-notch work from your creative team.

Your Turn

What are your suggestions for working with creative teams? Let us know in the comments.