Whether you’ve been working with agencies for years, or you just started working with one for the first time, the process of developing content is probably the hardest process to streamline with your creative partner. Below are some guidelines of what to ask from your agency to make sure your workflow is as smooth as possible.
Before you even begin a new project, make sure your agency explains how long their internal processes take. If you would like creative assets two weeks from today, you may think that’s plenty of time for your agency to develop something for you. Really, that’s the minimum amount of time they’ll need. Remember that they need to find availability on their end to do research, then meet for a brainstorm. As we all know, brainstorms are full of uninhibited ideas, so the post-brainstorm cleanup is also essential. Of course the copy and creative need to be developed (after you’ve taken time to approve the concepts, that is), and then you need time to make any final revisions on the content.
All the sudden your simple request for content turns into a much larger picture. It’s important to keep this in mind as you request things from your agency.
If your agency isn’t actively providing you with dates during your creative process, insist they do. Your agency should give you dates when they’ll be delivering first drafts, when they need feedback, time for revisions, and the last possible day they’d need your final approval.
It’s likely there’s a whole group of people on your team reviewing this content, so having your agency provide you with these dates not only facilitates deadlines for publication, but also allows you to coordinate internally and plan any meetings to review concepts and content that may be necessary.
The following three points are helpful to keep in mind when reviewing concepts.
- If you are unsure of what a concept will look like, ask your agency for more clarity and detail. As talented as your agency may be, they’re not mind readers. Chances are if they didn’t provide you with enough detail to get a clear vision, it won’t come out the way you imagined anyway. Better safe than sorry!
- Alternatively, you may really like a concept, but there’s one small detail you want changed. Though it may seem trivial, make sure you voice those concerns. That detail may be the difference between days of revisions and an approval.
- Most importantly, don’t hold back when giving feedback on concepts. Your agency won’t be offended if you tell them you don’t like something. They’re just trying to do what you want! Strengthen your partnership by always being open and upfront in the very beginning stages of concepting.
You’re finally getting to see the beautiful pieces of content you’ve been waiting on for close to a week now, and you find that you need to give your agency some feedback and direction on a few changes. This can often be the hardest part of the process, so here are a few tips to assist you.
- When giving feedback make sure you’re specific. Try to pick out explicit elements in your creative that you want to correct. Use phrases like, “make that bottle bigger” or “the image looks to cluttered remove bottle 1, 2, and 3.”
- On that note, even though buzz words may be great for your website or a blog, you should generally avoid them when giving feedback. You may think “Make the image look more vibrant” is crystal clear, but your agency may interpret vibrant differently than you do.
- If at all possible, provide visual examples to help illustrate your feedback. Additionally, ask your creative agency to provide any visual inspirations when proposing revisions to creative.
Always keep an open mind throughout the process. At the end of the day, you hired this agency for their expertise. Try to be open to doing new things that may be outside your traditional scope. At the same time, make sure your agency is also continuously being open to your feedback and guidance.