Most business owners want their marketing campaign to incorporate social media platforms and engaging visual content. They crave cutting-edge content, witty memes, and 3D videos. The more creative and outside-the-box, the better. Make it go viral!!

Right? Maybe … Maybe not.

Creative content can be funny, motivating, sentimental and compelling, and audiences might eat it up. But that doesn’t mean it’s effective. At Sean McVeigh Media, we encourage businesses to take a step back before investing valuable resources (time AND money) to create beautiful, splashy content. Make sure that you keep your eye on the prize.

Beautiful art can be appreciated for art’s sake, but before we launch a plan to create large amounts of content, we work with clients to make sure it furthers their company’s goals. Will it drive more website visitors? Strengthen their brand? Convert leads into customers?

The most creative people make the most creative content. With the proper structure, creative people will make the most effective creative content. You might thing that structured creativity is an oxymoron. With too many rules, creative folks can’t possibly work their magic. The energy will be sucked out of the room, like a black hole swallowing a shining star. Gulp.

Not so! We believe structure fosters creativity. It defines boundaries, timelines and perspectives. Structure is determined by a defined vision and shapes expectations. Once we know the parameters, we can create engaging photo and video content to support our client’s game plan.

By the same token, too many rules can indeed be suffocating. If you’re hiring folks to create content, you should be able to trust in their creative instincts. Right? So what’s the right balance? How do you control the oxygen levels, without snuffing out the flames?

Before we begin any project for a client, we focus on listening to their marketing needs and objectives. Our clients help define the structure by discussing and establishing the points below:

  • Define the goals. Start with the end-game! Do you want to strengthen your brand? Introduce a new product? Roll out a new website? Or emphasize a service or feature? Your goals become the focus of everything we do.
  • Know your audience. Is it existing customers or potential customers? Competitors or partners? We create content that resonates with them.
  • Define your call to action. Do you want people to visit a website? Join a campaign? Explore a product offering? We make sure that we create compelling photo and video content to lead your audience down that path.
  • Choose your platform, or platforms. The best content for Instagram isn’t always the best for Facebook, or Snapchat or YouTube. Your preferred platforms will probably be driven by your audience. Once we understand who they are, we work our clients to determine which platform or platforms will be most effective in reaching the target audience.
  • Make success measurable. What defines success? Once we understand our clients’ goals, we work with them to determine their expectations for measurable success. This might be measured by website visits, YouTube hits, new subscribers or sales numbers. Whatever the measurement, we make sure everyone is in agreement from the beginning.

There is a necessary tension between structure and creativity, and that tension drives effectiveness. Michael Cunningham at does a great job of explaining this in a recent blog post. We love being creative, making beautiful content that evokes emotion, and makes you want to hit “Play” again and again. We love structure because it nurtures effectiveness, efficiency, consistency and productivity.

At the end of the day, you’ll get the most from your marketing campaign, if you work with your creative team to define the main objectives and provide enough structure to set expectations while allowing your creative people to do what they do best – create marketing works of art!