If you work in advertising, you know that the key to growth is performing lots of ad tests very quickly. But those ad tests wouldn’t be possible without a lot of creative. And that creative wouldn’t exist without the ideas behind them.
Sometimes, those ideas just don’t come quickly. We’ve all been there. So how can you keep the creativity flowing? Well, you open up the creative faucet, of course.
What is the creative faucet?
The creative faucet is a term coined by Julian Shapiro to describe the process of getting out all of your ideas in order to eventually land on a good idea, similar to flushing out the water of a dirty faucet to get to clean water.
Whenever you have to come up with something creative, you open your creative faucet, meaning, you let the ideas start pouring out…even if they’re terrible. In fact, the worse your ideas, the more you need to get them out of your brain and into the world, whether on paper, in a Google doc, in a notes app, through your vocal chords, or just jamming on your instrument.
Once the bad ideas are out, you’ll start to get some okay ideas. Those okay ideas should give you some aha moments that lead to good ideas, and those good ideas will then turn into something great.
The point being – great ideas don’t just happen. They don’t come out of nowhere. They come to fruition once they’re sparked by something that’s only good or okay, or maybe even something bad.
The creative faucet in action
To showcase the creative faucet in action, here’s an example from John Mayer.
In this video, John Mayer picks up his guitar and almost immediately starts brainstorming lyrics. He says that if you don’t start immediately, you’re simply wasting time. “You just keep going until you get something,” he sings to a freestyle melody.
How does the creative faucet apply to marketing?
Whether you’re a designer, a copywriter, a growth marketing manager that needs to write briefs, a content writer, a creative strategist, or anyone that relies on ideas for marketing, you can apply this process immediately in order to help you:
- Get work done faster
- Produce better and more effective creative or creative briefs
- Stay focused on the task at hand
As marketers, our attention is pulled in a million different directions at all times. But when you open the creative faucet, your ideas will wait for no distractions. This means that you’ve got to dedicate time to this process or else a good idea might come and go while you’re busy checking Slack.
In return, you’re able to complete the task faster and in a process you’ll hopefully enjoy much more, with deliverables that are better and more effective. When it’s time for you to get started, make sure to do it the right way, free of distractions.
How to open the creative faucet in marketing
- Block off 90 minutes. Make yourself completely unavailable on calendar, Slack, social media, phone, email, pager, Alexa, kids, knocks on the door, carrier pigeons, everything. It’s just you and your ideas.
- Use the first 10-15 minutes for a rapid brainstorming session. Type out anything that comes to mind, letting your ideas build upon each other.
- Immediately go straight into your deliverable. For a Growth Marketer this might mean step one was brainstorming your ad image copy, and step two is actually writing your ad description copy and/or creative brief.
- If you need to provide any specific formatting, links, or add in images or videos, do this last. This would just be a distraction to your creative faucet.
It’s super important to do this all right away when your ideas are fresh and the creativity is flowing. It will get done way faster without any distractions. Plus, it will actually be fun to get it all done in one go. The longer a project drags on while you switch from project to project and app to app, the more the outcome, your productivity, and your own personal enjoyment suffers.
Creative requires creativity
Creative requires creativity, and when creativity is your day job, it requires dedication to the brainstorming process. Over the course of 1 quarter, we test about 100 visuals and 50-75 copy variations for each of our partners. To test a lot, we have to come up with a lot of ideas.
This has been the tried and true process that helps us come up with ideas worth testing, whether it’s for the big idea tests or small iterative ones. And from those ideas come the wins and the revenue. Check out “What To Test on Your Social Media Ads: Big Ideas vs. Small Iterations.”