How to Give Effective Creative Reviews

How to Give Effective Creative Reviews

Creative content, from videos to blog posts, makes your brand stand out. However, the content production process requires a clear scope, lots of communication, and ample time for client reviews and creative edits before the content is finalized. How do you critique creative deliverables? How do you convey your feedback effectively? How can you make the process more efficient?

In this guide, we’ll run through the ins and outs of effective creative reviews.

Benefits of an Effective Creative Review Process

Providing effective creative reviews is in your best interest. With carefully notated creative reviews, you can ensure your project is on the right track to be completed on time and within scope to meet your goals.

It can help you:

  • Convey vague ideas or feelings in a tangible way
  • Give feedback that creatives can actually respond to
  • Help creatives craft a final project that reaches your goals

Ultimately, an effective creative review can help you get the results you want quickly.

5 Steps to an Efficient Content Production Process

Effective creative reviews start with an efficient, well-defined content production process. Over the years, we’ve gathered best practices for creative reviews. There are six key steps to an effective content production process:

  1. Start by conveying your needs to the creative team. Include a description of the project audience, deliverables, desired outcome, and due date. This is also known as the project scope.
  2. Stand by for questions. Creatives may ask questions during the kickoff meeting. They’ll probably run into more questions as they dive into the project. Ensure to emphasize what’s important to you for this deliverable.
  3. Approve the brief. In some cases, your creative team will come back with a proposal, outline, or brief for your approval. Approve it at this stage, or return it for revisions. At this point, your creative team will start working on their deliverables.
  4. Review the creative. Start by reviewing the deliverables thoroughly. Identify sections that you feel haven’t hit the mark and form your feelings into tangible, actionable feedback that the creative team can work with. (More on that in the next section.)
  5. Provide feedback. Pass the feedback back to the creative team and answer any subsequent questions they have.
  6. Allow for multiple revisions. Revision is the most important part of the creative review process. Depending on the contract with your creative team, this is a repeatable step.

The more clear-cut your content production process is, the easier it will be to follow these workflows in the future, saving critical time.

The Creative Review Process at SmarkLabs: The Client’s Perspective

If you’re planning to work with SmarkLabs for your next video or website project, that’s great! We’re here to make the project process easy.
SmarkLabs clients follow a simple, effective process:

  1. Kickoff: During the kickoff call, clients convey their project needs to the SmarkLabs team.
  2. Internal QA: The SmarkLabs team comes back with any questions they have for their client. Then, they start to work on the creative.
  3. Client review: The client reviews the creative and either approves it or if there are suggested edits, sends it back for revisions. SmarkLabs’s creative team begins work on the revisions.
  4. Revisions: The client reviews the revisions and approves them or sends more feedback.

Examples of Effective vs. Ineffective Feedback

Communicating your opinions about creative content can be difficult to express. Focus on tangible changes that creatives can make.
Effective feedback is:

  • Specific rather than general. (E.g., “I think the copy in this eBook is too clinical” vs. “I don’t like the copy.”)
  • Constructive rather than destructive. (E.g., “The colors here don’t evoke the feeling of relaxation to me. Can we try a calmer color scheme?” vs. “I hate these colors.”)
  • Relevant rather than irrelevant. (E.g., “I’d like this copy to sound more like our competitor’s white paper copy” vs. “I’d like this copy to feel like a Pixar film.”)

Specific, constructive, and relevant feedback will help your creative team make revisions that meet your vision.

Useful Tools for Creative Reviews

The technicalities of providing feedback on creative can be a challenge, especially if it’s visual. The SmarkLabs team recommends these tools to get your feedback across:

  • Govisually: a point and click design review tool with revision tracking
  • Vimeo review tools: a video point-and-click tool with comment capabilities
  • Pastel: a web and design point-and-click tool with comment capabilities

It can be hard to articulate what you want until you see it. Refer to these sites for creative inspiration:

  • Landingfolio: a page design inspiration tool
  • Siteinspire: a web and page design inspiration tool
  • SmarkLabs video portfolio: a video inspiration tool designed by the SmarkLabs team

How to Manage Reviews by Priority

Prioritizing projects helps streamline the creative review process and saves you time. It is especially critical if you have a lot of content in the pipeline. We suggest categorizing low-effort projects or projects that you haven’t made your mind up about yet as low-priority reviews. Categorize high effort or time-sensitive projects as high-priority reviews. Complete high priority reviews before low priority reviews.

The Bottom Line

An effective creative review process helps you get your ideas across, provide effective feedback, and get the results you want. By following best practices, you can empower your creative partners to produce deliverables that meet your vision faster than ever.

Have questions about giving effective creative reviews? Let’s talk.

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