DIY Digital - Developing Your Creative Team: Top 3 Tips

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Corporate content’s the word (or, the two words, for that matter).

So. How are you going to embrace it in 2019?

With new stats out confirming that nearly 70% of entrepreneurs start their businesses at home, the time is more-right-than-ever for businesses - new and established alike - to be asking the big, important, internal-facing questions relating to what can be done to strengthen creative output.

Once you’ve got a corporate content strategy (check out our tips here!), it’s time to to take a look at your developing your team. This just in: more often than not, strengthening your creative output is about getting the right people on the job: the right experience, a broad range of skills, and the passion and dedication to match.

Most business owners these days will agree on needing a creative team in order to carry out (and perhaps develop) the brand’s content strategy as well as help more generally with branding, design, advertising and UX. Traditionally, CTs will include positions like:

  • Marketing professionals

  • Video crews

  • Copywriters

  • Editors

  • Graphic designers

  • Web developers

  • Publicists

...and more. But not sure you can afford a bunch of new hires right now? Don’t worry… we’ve got you covered!

Here are our top 3 tips for developing your creative team, stat, in whatever form you feel you can afford begin with.

Let’s get to it!

1. Work backwards from your strategy

You’ve gotta have a strategy to work out who you need to carry it out, right?

Right. We can help you with that.

If one thing’s for certain in this more-nuts-than-ever market, it’s that knowing what you stand for, and distilling this into a brand and content strategy, is at the heart of what smart business owners and brand marketers do to ensure success.

When deciding upon what kind of content to preference, prepare and produce (and the reasons behind doing so), many businesses start out by picking an audience and motivation that is too broad, and too difficult to define. When we can’t easily verbalise our goals from an internal standpoint, how can we ever expect our customers to do the same?

A great way to start out with your corporate content strategy is to use your brand values statement (or other related documentation) to inform its foundations. Sit down with some trusted colleagues and really spend quality time nutting out what your audience wants/needs to see, and how you’re going to achieve that by developing and publishing certain content.

Once you’ve got this in place, you can better understand who - and what - you’re going to need to make it happen. 

Let us summarise this for you: make sure you have a content strategy, and make sure you work backwards from it to understand what resources (human and otherwise) your company is going to need in order to bring it to life.

2. Consider outsourcing and establish those partnerships

While an in-house team could be your dream, not everyone has the cashola to employ such a great bunch of permanent employees right off the bat.

Nope. So what can you do to work around this?

There are many reasons you might choose to outsource. It can be cheaper than having a full team in-house, can save you a lot of time, and last but definitely not least, it’ll get you access to a bunch of incredible multidisciplinary professionals who’ll help you understand how to frame your product, package it up, and sell it using the right kind of content.

Outsourcing your team also offers you all the benefits of having a creative team in the first place (read: you need one!) while also allowing you to experiment with your approach to creating and eliciting your content strategy. You might also decide to start with a small team and keep a list of your other ‘nice to have’ roles for some time in the (near) future once you and your team have trialled a particular approach.

Choosing to outsource is also a great way of establishing new, innovative partnerships with like-minded businesses. Perhaps you’re already working with a great graphic or UX designer? Fab. Have a chat with them and see what other professionals they can suggest who’d a) work in alignment with your brand’s goals and values, and b) work well alongside your vision and strategy for content.

Strapped for cash? It’s an oldie but a goodie: in 2015, Forbes signposted to the marketing world the rise in the ‘cash, credit or barter’ movement - that is, the rise in popularity of the good ol’ skills swap! Is there something your firm could do for another company in the same position? Is there a way you can work collaboratively with others in order to carry out your content strategy?

Here’s betting there is. Time to get talking with those you know!

3. Focus on process

The last, and perhaps biggest, win we suggest you can make with your creative team is to focus on process - that is, the process of getting the work itself done, and done to a high standard.

How can you, as a leader, facilitate the best possible and most efficient meeting conditions while also ensuring that the members of your team have the opportunity to engage readily and in a way that is consistent with their (contracted) workload?

Here are our top tips:

Nominate a lead of your creative team.

If this isn’t going to be you, nominate a relevant member of the team (e.g. creative director or marketer) to do so. Making sure there is clear responsibility for communication and facilitation is a great step towards ensuring your creative team feels heard and cared for, and that their ideas filter back through to management in a timely, efficient manner.

Offer the opportunity for regular meetings.

If your creative team is outsourced, you will - in the first instance - want them to be meeting regularly. Whether or not this is in person (hint: check out the helpful digital meeting platforms we discussed during our spiel on effective internal communications), be sure to put aside budget to pay your team for their time.

You may even like to consider a monthly retainer for each member of your creative team. It’ll make for cleaner, clearer budgeting for you (plus a team that meets happily and regularly) and will ensure the members of your creative team are feeling informed and comfortable as they go about developing the brand’s content.

Above all, keep one thing in mind: respect your team’s time, and ensure meetings run to schedule. This will help your team of freelance/contract professionals handle their busy schedules which, in the end, means a better product/outcome for you.

Have your team review your strategy.

So, you’ve got a creative team. Now it’s time to use it!

There’s no harm at all in getting your creatives to take a look at your content strategy, revisiting and revising it as they work.

After all, it’s widely agreed that a content strategy should be a living, breathing document that evolves based on company goals and performance, so why not get your team of brilliant minds to sign a nondisclosure agreement and jump on the case while you’ve got them in the room?

It’s the approach of the decade, people: collaboration. And there’s good reason for it too: there’s strength and gain to be found in diversity.

Time to get some happening in your creative team.