Podcast 84: how to manage a creative B2B content team

Getting the best out of a creative B2B marketing team can be challenging. So we spoke to conductor Alice Farnham, to see what we can learn from other disciplines. (Spoiler alert: it's a LOT...)

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In this month’s Good Copy, Bad Copy, we’re talking about all the challenges that come with managing a creative team – both in B2B marketing, and outside of it.

Creativity is a difficult thing to handle. As this episode’s guest co-host, Velocity Partners’ Harry Kapur, puts it: “It’s not a tube you can squeeze, and magic comes out. Creativity is insane. Creativity is chaos.” (Can you tell he writes for a living?)

So how can you help your team focus all that weird craziness into creating fantastic, engaging content – while still ensuring they keep to a tight B2B brief?

To find out, we wanted to see how people in other walks of life address a similar problem. So we were thrilled when world-class orchestral conductor Alice Farnham, Artistic Director of women conductors with the Royal Philharmonic Society and Ireland’s National Concert Hall, said yes, of course she’d like a chat about B2B marketing.

How does a top conductor manage creativity?

As it turns out, conducting orchestras is surprisingly similar to answering a B2B brief. Both involve sharp deadlines, collaborating with immensely talented people, and confidence in your decisions. Sadly, in marketing, there are far fewer violins.

Here are some of the top insights Alice shared, that we can apply to making content for B2B:

  • Getting communication right is critical. And sometimes, that means knowing when to shut up. Lead by example, and gain authority through enthusiasm.
  • Give your players (or in our case, writers) a clear box to break out of. Too much creative freedom can be counterproductive. Instead, provide structure (or rules for them to break). You’ll channel creativity towards a more specific goal, and the end result is likely to be a lot more focused.
  • Be very clear in what you are telling your team. For Alice, this is all about the power of gesture – every movement of her hand has to convey information. For B2B marketing leaders, it’s about not people-pleasing. If something is wrong with a brief or piece of copy, tell them exactly why.
  • Respect and communication go both ways. Giving all your writers a voice, and the confidence to speak up about a gap in a brief or bad piece of content, will only improve the team’s creativity (and standards).

Take a listen to the podcast for even more insights into Alice’s world. Plus, you’ll get to hear David and Harry’s thoughts on managing creativity in a B2B environment.

Here’s what you’ll find in Episode 84… 

01.11 – Why B2B tech marketing is the best (and worst) job to have during the apocalypse

05:16 – Top conductor Alice Farnham talks about leading creative people

27.51 – Back to B2B: Harry and David find a tonne of parallels between conducting and marketing

46.43 – Harry’s top tips for getting more from creative talent

Send us your feedback, thoughts, or a baton for David…

Contact us through @radixcom on Twitter or podcast@radix-communications.com (if you’ve been writing too much recently, send us a voice memo).

How to listen 

Credits 

Alice Farnham, thank you so much for sharing your time, wit and wisdom with us. Not to mention all your insights into the wonderful world of conducting.

And a big thank-you also to this week’s co-host, Harry Kapur. Your enthusiasm (and experience) is unmatched; we hope you’ll be joining us again soon.

Podcast editing and music by Bang and Smash

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