It’s a scary world out there for any traditional advertising creatives who are still waiting for this whole “internet” craze to just go away.  If you have been waiting for this whole “web 2.0/social media bubble” you keep hearing about to pop, and the world to return to the days when people left content creation and design to the professionals, you may have to consider the possibility that it’s gonna be a loooonnng wait. 

Marketing and advertising budget dollars are continuing to move from print and other traditional media to online.  And the social web is becoming the mainstream web.   If you’re a traditional agency creative, it may be a brave new world, but it’s also an increasingly scary one, as large agencies are already downsizing.  

A lot of smart traditionally-trained copywriters, art directors and designers have already become conversant in the terminology and culture of social media and web 2.0.  If you haven’t, the best way to get started is to set up an RSS reader account, and start listening to the voices of the innovators who are driving your creative discipline on the social web.  

Hie thyself unto the mystical land of Google Reader, Netvibes, or Bloglines, create an account, and start plugging your head into the following feeds daily:

For Copywriters:

For Art Directors/Graphic Designers:

Okay, folks.  That’s a nice starting place–I’m not looking to overwhelm anybody.  I’m sure there are several Must-Reads out there that I missed; I’m counting on people to drop links to them in the comments.   

Listening and connecting to other creative folks on on blogs and in social media is a great starting place.  Don’t stop there.  Marketing and advertising on the social web is a whole different animal than the traditional model, and it requires different strategies, tactics, and pretty much a whole different mindset.  If I had to sum it up in one sentence, though, another good starting place would be:

The social media audience doesn’t want to be to impressed by how cool/smart/awesome your work is.  They want to be impressed by how cool/smart/awesome your work makes them when they pass it on.  

Copywriters:  does your agency have a blog?  If not, why not pitch starting one for agency promotion?  If it does, are you contributing to it?  Can you write with Search Engine Optimization in mind if you need to?

Designers:  can you translate your print design skills to interactive design?  Have you mastered Flash or other tools?  Are you familiar with standards-based coding and CSS for front-end design, or are you reliant on someone else to convert your PSD files to HTML?  

Again, I’m looking for more goodness in the comments–Jason’s got a really smart readership here.  If we were to write a new 101 for agency creatives to navigate the brave new world of marketing in the social web, what are the chapter titles?  If you’re writing fortune cookie messages to the copywriters and art directors of tomorrow, what’s on them?  

We’re all ears.  

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About Kat French

Kat French

Kat French is the Digital Operations Manager at CafePress. An exceptional writer both on the web and in other genres, Kat combines creativity with an agile, get-it-done attitude across a broad range of experience in community management, SEO/PPC, social media strategy and program management. She has worked with national brands like Maker's Mark, Daytona Beach Tourism, Optima Batteries and more.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://blog.see3.net kazooz

    Here is a set of 7 short videos called the Guide To Online Video. It's target audience are those working on causes, but the overall marketing message works for everyone. And you can watch, and not read. http://www.see3.net/guide

    • KatFrench

      Wow, looks like a great set of resources. Thanks for dropping by.

  • http://blog.see3.net kazooz

    Here is a set of 7 short videos called the Guide To Online Video. It's target audience are those working on causes, but the overall marketing message works for everyone. And you can watch, and not read. http://www.see3.net/guide

  • http://www.everythingartanddesign.com Everything Art and Design

    Good post. Always nice to see marketing targeted at traditional creatives…we are still here!

    • KatFrench

      Absolutely–there will always be a need for professional creatives. I don't know anyone who thinks UGC is going to replace professionally-produced content. But gaining expertise in an area with such explosive growth is going to be a huge asset moving forward, and in some cases, especially in smaller agencies where you're expected to cover a wider footprint, it may make the difference between keeping your job or being “downsized.”

  • http://www.everythingartanddesign.com Everything Art and Design

    Good post. Always nice to see marketing targeted at traditional creatives…we are still here!

  • http://www.sitecreations.com/blog Scott Clark

    For RSS reading, I also like klipfolio because it floats outside of the browser. Adding a $100 second monitor lets you build a reputation monitoring desktop. I think that Macintosh has some RSS reading widgets built in, and someone once told me of an OS called Vista that might too, though I've never tried it.

    For “as it happens” alerts to SMS (phone text message) I also like http://www.zaptxt.com/, which has a nicely tunable interface – this works great with Google Groups search, Yahoo! Q&A, Linkedin Q&A, etc. or any feed with a RSS feed. For timely responses, this is great.

    Additions to the list

    For Art Directors/Designers:

    Jakob Nielson on Usability and Web Design
    http://www.useit.com/

    For agency folks in general:

    Jeremia Owyang
    http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/

    Liz Strauss
    http://www.successful-blog.com/

    • KatFrench

      Excellent suggestions; I can't believe I didn't think about them myself. Will add them in later today. :)

  • http://www.sitecreations.com/blog Scott Clark

    For RSS reading, I also like klipfolio because it floats outside of the browser. Adding a $100 second monitor lets you build a reputation monitoring desktop. I think that Macintosh has some RSS reading widgets built in, and someone once told me of an OS called Vista that might too, though I've never tried it.

    For “as it happens” alerts to SMS (phone text message) I also like http://www.zaptxt.com/, which has a nicely tunable interface – this works great with Google Groups search, Yahoo! Q&A, Linkedin Q&A, etc. or any feed with a RSS feed. For timely responses, this is great.

    Additions to the list

    For Art Directors/Designers:

    Jakob Nielson on Usability and Web Design
    http://www.useit.com/

    For agency folks in general:

    Jeremia Owyang
    http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/

    Liz Strauss
    http://www.successful-blog.com/

  • http://tonehall.typepad.colm Marsha Keeffer

    Right-o….it's all about listening and conversing. Good list, Jason. My success in social media PR has been about reading and listening to bloggers and consumers. Pushing messages just doesn't do it – it's about tailoring and slicing so it's right for the audience.

    • KatFrench

      Hey, Marsha! Listening is definitely key. Oh, and my bad; I didn't put my little avatar at the top of this post. :)

  • http://tonehall.typepad.colm Marsha Keeffer

    Right-o….it's all about listening and conversing. Good list, Jason. My success in social media PR has been about reading and listening to bloggers and consumers. Pushing messages just doesn't do it – it's about tailoring and slicing so it's right for the audience.

  • KatFrench

    Wow, looks like a great set of resources. Thanks for dropping by.

  • KatFrench

    Absolutely–there will always be a need for professional creatives. I don't know anyone who thinks UGC is going to replace professionally-produced content. But gaining expertise in an area with such explosive growth is going to be a huge asset moving forward, and in some cases, especially in smaller agencies where you're expected to cover a wider footprint, it may make the difference between keeping your job or being “downsized.”

  • KatFrench

    Excellent suggestions; I can't believe I didn't think about them myself. Will add them in later today. :)

  • KatFrench

    Hey, Marsha! Listening is definitely key. Oh, and my bad; I didn't put my little avatar at the top of this post. :)

  • http://makethelogobigger.blogspot.com bg

    Thanks for the link. Being a Flash expert though may hard for many traditional creatives. Closest some have ever come to the program is when they pass the flash dudes on the way to kitchen for more coffee. ;-p Still, they can become familiar with it enough. My advice for the sheltered creative would be to start somewhere, anywhere online. Really depends on where you are though. At some point, you have to move past creating the content for brands and create it for yourself.

    Someone who lived in print, well, it's okay to move beyond email and text. No, really. It won’t bite. Someone who maybe has a Facebook? Start a Flickr page and shoot stuff. Interview someone funny or creative in your agency and throw it up on any site like utterz, seesmic, etc. Upload it to YouTube.

  • http://makethelogobigger.blogspot.com bg

    Thanks for the link. Being a Flash expert though may hard for many traditional creatives. Closest some have ever come to the program is when they pass the flash dudes on the way to kitchen for more coffee. ;-p Still, they can become familiar with it enough. My advice for the sheltered creative would be to start somewhere, anywhere online. Really depends on where you are though. At some point, you have to move past creating the content for brands and create it for yourself.

    Someone who lived in print, well, it's okay to move beyond email and text. No, really. It won’t bite. Someone who maybe has a Facebook? Start a Flickr page and shoot stuff. Interview someone funny or creative in your agency and throw it up on any site like utterz, seesmic, etc. Upload it to YouTube.

  • http://makethelogobigger.blogspot.com bg

    (…it may be hard…)

  • http://makethelogobigger.blogspot.com bg

    (…it may be hard…)

  • http://www.baileygardiner.com Indra Gardiner

    We've been banging this drum pretty hard at our agency. Sharing good work, case studies and easy to digest anecdotes has been the way we have been slowly shifting our thinking and focus. Writing about it on our blog, even just for the benefit of the rest of the team has helped too. Thanks for sharing a list of resources for the creative team. The other great one for copywriters is http://www.alistapart.com/

  • http://www.baileygardiner.com Indra Gardiner

    We've been banging this drum pretty hard at our agency. Sharing good work, case studies and easy to digest anecdotes has been the way we have been slowly shifting our thinking and focus. Writing about it on our blog, even just for the benefit of the rest of the team has helped too. Thanks for sharing a list of resources for the creative team. The other great one for copywriters is http://www.alistapart.com/

  • Pingback: A Social Media Primer for Traditional Creatives

  • http://www.netpopresearch.com Rudy_NP

    Great post! It certainly seems that social media marketing is now less a choice than necessity, and the advantage goes to those who have already been effectively utilizing social networks and understand the space.

    I'd be interested to see how the 'bubble' aspect of social media pans out–if only a handful of large networks survive over the next few years, will social media be more or less meaningful?

  • http://www.netpopresearch.com Rudy_NP

    Great post! It certainly seems that social media marketing is now less a choice than necessity, and the advantage goes to those who have already been effectively utilizing social networks and understand the space.

    I'd be interested to see how the 'bubble' aspect of social media pans out–if only a handful of large networks survive over the next few years, will social media be more or less meaningful?

  • Pingback: Pubcon 2008 Pictures, Thoughts and Impressions | Social Media Explorer

  • http://www.m-i-x.com Matt Aiken

    I started writing about this back in November, just recently followed it up witha more detailed article on traditional / digital transformation for larger agencies. The first part of my article on transformation is here, http://www.m-i-x.com/merging-a-digital-marketin

  • http://www.m-i-x.com Matt Aiken

    I started writing about this back in November, just recently followed it up witha more detailed article on traditional / digital transformation for larger agencies. The first part of my article on transformation is here, http://www.m-i-x.com/merging-a-digital-marketin

  • staffing1

    Thank you for the post, i liked reading it.
    http://www.staffingpower.com