The Path To Great Creative


Use A Creative Brief
This is where you'll define strategic aspects of your project such as: target audience, objective, and message context. 

While there are many key questions in a creative brief, from brand positioning to competitive advantages, here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do you want your prospects to know, think, or do?
  • How and where will your prospects see this communication? 

Pretty basic, right? But you’d be surprised at how many times I’ve seen this step skipped due to time constraints, assumptions, or just general panic.

Don't skip it.  It will serve as a roadmap and ensure that you and the writer are on the same page. If you're new to the process, An experienced freelancer will provide a creative brief and step you through it. 

One more tip, The more specific you can be to put yourself in the mindset of your audience, the more you will open up creative possibilities. A few examples of how to think about message context:

  • Is your prospect sitting behind the wheel in traffic reading your ad on the back of a bus?
  • Maybe he or she picks up your teaser postcard in the mail next to a bunch of bills.
  • Or maybe your prospect gets your leave-behind after visiting you at a trade show.

You can see how thinking about message context allows you to speak more specifically to your audience in terms of the situation and opens up creative options. 

You Deserve Choices 
Hiring someone to come up with headline-driven ads, lead-generating postcards, or marketing material? You should be seeing a few options. You’re paying for an exploration of ideas, not just one. 

If this is a new business relationship, this is important for you and the writer. Why? 
One, you'll get a sense of the writer's range. Two, when you look at several creative options next to one another, you’re likely to experience that visceral reaction when you see the ideas that really pop.

Need to get buy-in from other key stakeholders?

The concept stage is the right time to get them involved, before you develop an idea that does not have the necessary support for approval. It’s more cost-effective to take in feedback at this stage and, if necessary, come back with a few new ideas before you move into detailed body copy or extensive design work. 

Provide Constructive Feedback
This is a creative partnership. ideally, you’re building a long-term working relationship that will benefit you and your organization over the long haul. Open communication is the key. 

Providing feedback is a learned skill. And it's critical if you're going to get an idea that’s on target. Find it difficult to initiate these conversations? Here's a 3-step approach that's been successful for me when my role was to provide feedback to my creative team at the conceptual stage.

1.  Make a positive connection
2. Get specific

3. Be collaborative

A typical creative feedback conversation can go something like this… “I like where you’re heading with these ideas. Humor can work well for this product. I also like the second approach that's more focused on product attributes. I think there's a third path we can explore. something that elicits more compassion from our audience. Can you show me a few concepts in that direction?" 

Why does this work? It's professional, constructive, and provides direction. A versatile writer can hit the various notes you want, he or she just needs to know what they are. You're also showing that you have some understanding of the creative process and how to work collaboratively.

Creating is fun. Enjoy the process.

Bobby Wittenberg has helped major brands connect with audiences across a variety of media, leveraging his experience as a writer, creative director, and screenwriter. You can reach him at