How to Break Through the Creativity Block

breaking through a creative block

You can have all the right people in the room and still have a creative block when you do marketing for a printing company. Here’s my perspective on how to get the creativity flowing when you do print-digital-media marketing in the printing industry. 

This story is about a client who does specialty screen printing and gives courtesy to the trade. His creative team is a group of independent contractors, and we cover all the bases: strategist on retainer; design; social media; advertising; channel integration; two writers; website contractor; PR contractor; and list procurement. On this day, we have a guest from the food and beverage packaging industry who is going to be on our podcast. 

The client had a slow month, and before the meeting, he and I have been writing sales letters to his friends in the trade and his vendors. He’ll sign each letter, include a jazzy sample, and put it in the mail-mail. Old school marketing for a printing company.

We did a letter campaign six months ago, and it worked well. Sometimes getting creative starts with doing something  – anything – to get into movement mode. 

There’s also power in creating an environment where creative sparks can happen. 

Before each team meeting, we chat about our week, what caught our attention, and what we’ve read and watched recently. I share something about an experiment I ran with AI – artificial intelligence. A team member says, “Hey, could we do that?” 

Zing! 

With excited conversation, we created the approach – keeping in mind the screen printer’s overall strategy and a plan for marketing for a printing company.

In 30 minutes, we had a fully-conceived road map, a schedule, and assigned roles. We’re going to publish breaking content across channels while it’s hot and people are curious about it. 

That’s the magic of putting creative people together in one room.

Sure, I believe in marketing reports, hashtags, personas, and analytics. But I also know that some of the best ideas come from just hanging out.

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For smaller print shops, you may have only one marketing person doing all the thinking, writing, measuring, learning, creating, and sweating. That’s a hard job, being the one creative person without an idea team to back you up and bounce things off. 

If that’s you, the sole marketing or creative person in a printing business, I highly recommend getting together with other people who do what you do in an atmosphere of creativity. No strings attached. No selling. No competing. Just relaxing and enjoying other creative minds. 

I schedule daily meetings with creative people from different backgrounds, not just printing. I hope to present to a business that does game development in Cairo next week. I’ll have to stay up until midnight to accommodate time zones. Cool! 

Sure, we all have to protect our time, but we also need to replenish our creative juices.

Here are places I have met people with the goal of breaking through the creative block to create amazing marketing for a printing company:

  • #PrintChat – I’m the host, and we’re on LinkedIn weekly. https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12566297/
  • Local crafts store – Ours does a monthly project night with pizza.
  • Book groups – Most bookstores offer these either in person or online. 
  • Cooking classes – I attended one through our library, and it was really fun. 
  • Stores geared to the gaming community – You will meet smart, funny people and can exercise your competitive muscles if that’s your thing. 
  • Online performance groups – I belong to a group that performs vintage radio plays and TV shows. I have written five plays since joining the group.
  • Comedy clubs – Grab a creative friend and head to a show. Laughing is good exercise!
  • Webinars with other creatives in attendance – Find people in the audience who share your sense of humor and invite them to connect. This week I met with a TEDx presenter. Be brave and extend a hand. 
  • Friends of friends – Invite yourself along on an outing with your most creative or funniest friend. They probably know other people who will appreciate you.

We’re all learning new ways to navigate business and our social lives these days, and often creativity suffers. I deal with loneliness, overwork, the ups and downs of the economy, being ghosted (ouch!), and all the things that suck the life out of you. As a person who strives to provide top value to my clients, I probably spend more time than I should with my head down, working and researching.  

Whether you run a big marketing team or it’s just you, think about scheduling your creative time on your calendar. Block time and protect it. Keep your creative commitments. 

And if it’s only you by yourself – trying to juggle it all – please reach out. Let’s get something on the calendar. There’s creativity waiting for you! 

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Check out last month’s post: https://printmediacentr.com/busting-the-hustle-bro-marketing-myth/

Read more posts from Sandy here.


Sandy Hubbard is a Marketing Strategist and Business Advisor for the Printing Industry. She helps companies optimize their marketing programs and create a solid, repeatable plan for reaching customers. Sandy produces #PrintChat, a weekly global forum for the printing industry, and is a monthly columnist and industry expert for the print industry, including magazines, media platforms, and online events. Sandy is located in Portland, Oregon, USA. Connect with Sandy on LinkedIn or on her Buffer page. Sandy is the host of #PrintChat on LinkedIn, winner of the 2022 Girlie Award from Girls Who Print, and a Certified Scrum Master, helping in-person and virtual teams become more effective at working together. 

 

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