As many of you know, aside from running a media outlet, we also run a PR, content marketing and creative agency called SHIFTER Agency. Over the years, we’ve worked with many creatives, from recording artists to filmmakers. During that time we’ve noticed a number of trends and, dare I say, mistakes that a lot of creatives make that ultimately hinder them from being successful. Here are three common marketing mistakes we see creatives make.
1. They don’t think about marketing until they’re done creating
This is the single biggest mistake we see creatives making. We’ve worked with countless filmmakers, recording artists, and content creators who sometimes spend years working on a creative work. They feel proud, as they should, but once they’re done they sit down and ask themselves, “Now what?” They don’t have the faintest idea what to do next. Throughout the creative process you should already be thinking about marketing. When I visit an artist in the studio to get an early listen to an unfinished song or album, immediately I’m thinking about how that album will be promoted. If you already have a clear idea of what your product or creative work will be, you can even create a marketing strategy before you even start your creative process, while you’re planning out your project. This would give you a clear understanding of who your target audience is before you even start putting a pen or paint brush to paper.
2. Not building an audience before launch
One practical way you can start marketing before you launch your creative work to the public is to start building your audience while you’re in the middle of the creative process. This could mean offering a sneak peek of your creative process on social media, doing a count down on social media, or starting your email list. Building your social media audience or email list before or during the creative process will ensure that you have an audience to launch to as soon as you’re done creating. There’s nothing more discouraging than finish a piece of work you’re proud of, only to realize you have no one to share it with. In the early days of SHIFTER, it was our habit to only release new products or services once we had an audience for it. It’s a good discipline to have. We still keep that discipline to this very day.
3. Not using a test audience or other ways to gain feedback
The last mistake creatives make is not using test audiences which is a useful tool in the marketing and creative process. Prior to launching your creative work publicly, launch it privately to a small test group, preferably people who aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings. This can include industry decision makers. Launching your work to a test group, perhaps through a Zoom call, could provide you with some intel that you can go back to the drawing board with before you launch publicly. If, for some reason, you can’t do a group test audience, find a mentor, advisor, or any person who can provide you with constructive feedback. This could help your work to be better received by both the industry and general public instead of playing a guess game.
If you’re an Ottawa-based creative looking for marketing support, click here to find out more about Invest Ottawa’s Digital Main St. program. The program includes your own digital marketing team and other online support from Invest Ottawa, all for free.