Maybe there are some superhuman communicators who can do it all for every situation — strategy, writing, social media, design, video, web development, you name it — and while I’d envy the talent, I wouldn’t envy the sleep deprivation.
With so many web-based and open source tools at our fingertips, it is easier than ever to produce every tactic in our strategies, but it’s not always wise to spare the time. And then there’s the Ikea Effect that makes us think our own creations are beautiful unicorns. Maybe I can design using Canva or Vectr, but there are times when I shouldn’t.
These are the specialized professionals I think every communicator needs in their contact list — if they’re not in-house positions — even before those major projects that require an RFP or an agency. Are there others I’m missing? If you can recommend any great people or companies, please add to the comments or join our Slack community. Most of these functions can be done remotely so don’t be shy about recommending people from various locations.
I am in love with the variety of online and open source tools that can add some design pizzazz to, say, blog posts and social media quickly and easily. I’ll dissect some of my favourites in an upcoming post. But professional graphic designers are essential for many higher-profile, longer-shelf-life projects. Some I’ve worked with frequently include Indalma Creative, Spryberry, and Bucketduck.
Some familiarity with content management systems is a good skill for a communicator, and I love playing around with WordPress and basic coding, creating my own sites and helping others with theirs, but when it comes to higher level development, design and coding, I outsource. I did this site myself but for a redesign of TV, eh? several years ago I had the help of Bucketduck and The Creative Temp (the artists formerly known as Gystworks), and I have a friend in the Netherlands who’s great at coding who helps me with adjustments and coding emergencies when I didn’t have the time or brainpower (let me know if you want an introduction and I’ll ask if she’s taking on clients).
A love of writing is the reason many of us entered the profession, so it can be hard to outsource. But it can be a huge timesaver. Plus, writers often specialize in a topic or medium, or can provide a certain voice that best fits a project. That said I haven’t actually outsourced writing lately because my freelance business is focused on strategy and writing. If people are hiring me for my voice, I want them to get … me. But I know there are a lot of great writers out there and have some I could recommend depending on the topic area. Let us know your recommendations and their specialties.
Social media marketing
This is an area rife with people claiming to be experts whose results may not justify the hype. I completed the Social Marketing Certification through Hootsuite but when it comes to full-blown advertising campaigns, I’d want to partner with a company like Crisp Media. I know and trust the people behind it, and I’d love more suggestions for reputable online marketers.
I wrote about some tools I’ve used to create my own videos, but who do you turn to for a professionally produced live-action (talking head or narrative) or animated video? I’ve worked with several companies, but seem to struggle each time to find someone with capacity, expertise and affordability.
Want to join a community of communicators on Slack? Join us here and please feel free to answer my question about graphic designers and video production people you’d recommend!