The Art of Pitching for Creative Resources

Today, an investment in digital should be synonymous with an investment in creative. Teams are often loaded with thinkers though and not with the creative power to actually bring the vision to life. The flip needs to switch. Digital teams need way more creators than strategists to make the magic happen.

Early in the digital era people invested because it was an easy and free way to reach people. Between algorithms and a crowded space though, the times have changed. The brands and teams that stand out today are the ones who understand the investment it takes. And this investment goes beyond thinkers – it’s also critical to invest in creators.

Take a step back and think about the brands and teams that stand out to you. Some that come to mind in sport for me include Bleacher Report, South Carolina Football and Miami Dolphins. They stand out because they take a content-first approach. Here’s a glimpse.


LA Vibes. #AllStar #BRxLA

A post shared by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

Ready to bring the noise in London! #UKFins

A post shared by Miami Dolphins (@miamidolphins) on


When I talk to people in the industry though, one of the pain points I hear over and over again is they don’t have enough creative resources to get it done. And over and over again it seems that request for creative help falls on deaf ears.



Look, I get it. Creative often feels like this intangible piece that’s hard to drive back to the business. Whether you work for a team, a league or a brand, there’s inevitably some kind of bottom line that we’re all driving towards. Creative is crucial though for driving towards the goal — whether that’s revenue, brand awareness or fan engagement. So as you prepare to make your next pitch to leadership, here are 10 things to keep in mind with a little help from Twitter friends.


1- Know your audience.

Before crafting the pitch, know your audience. Think about who you are pitching to, whether it’s your boss or another decision maker, and put yourself in their shoes. What are their goals? How is success defined to them? What are they held accountable for?

It’s not about what you care about; it’s what they care about. We all know creative serves a lot of different needs, but you have to focus on what the decision makers care about first and foremost. Mold the message and value to them.


2- Map it back to business.

As with any kind of pitch, it’s important to show how the resources will help drive organizational goals forward. The first step is to put yourself in the decision maker’s shoes. But, you should also show the breadth and depth of what creative resources will do. It’s not about checking off one box.

For example, demonstrate how creative can help drive revenue. More resources mean stronger paid campaigns and more buy-in from sponsors. Not only should strong creative generate a higher return on paid campaigns, but it should also elevate the value for sponsors. This is a win for everyone.

Additionally, creative drives engagement. As platforms become more visual and cluttered, it’s even more important to have the right resources in place to tell a compelling story. There is no such thing as a social presence without content. It’s the driving force today. Increase your creative arm power and you’ll increase your engagement. Guarantee.

Revenue and higher engagement are just two of the pieces that creative can impact. Tap into all the ways additional resources will help, from telling a more cohesive story to building a more emotional connection with fans.


3- Educate on the process.

Don’t make any assumptions about what people know, especially if the person you are pitching to is not involved in the day-to-day creative process. Sometimes you have to walk people through the process. Use a previous project timeline as an example to show how long it takes to go from concept to execution. Good creative work does not just take an army. It takes time. Press on that.


4- Showcase the needs.

The volume of content needs for digital is exponentially more than traditional media – and it keeps on increasing. This is something you have to reiterate over and over again. When you are pitching for more creative, it’s important to show the breadth of needs. This includes the volume of content published by the team and how this will change and / or increase with more help. There are two ways to do this.

First, make sure you track internal requests that come in throughout the year. Showcasing the hours employees work and the projects that aren’t taken on will help build your case.

Second, put together a content strategy and mock calendar to show all that would be created or published if you had additional help. Go as far to denote examples of who would work on what (current staff and new resources) so the person you are pitching to gets a lay of the land. If you can show the need or how the resources will be leveraged, it builds a stronger case.


5- Find allies.

As mentioned briefly, creative resources help more than the digital team. They also help sponsorship, ticket sales, etc. Find your allies within the organization and bring them along to build the case. This shows that digital isn’t working in a silo and that these resources will extend far.


6- Put on the brand hat.

At the end of the day, digital / social is the front door to a brand. Every team and league should put their best foot forward on the platforms, period. Content should be ownable, unique and the best expression of the brand.

If your creative is not up to par because lack of resources, show don’t tell (as Neil mentioned in a tweet above). Walk the decision maker through best-in-class examples. Compare yours to where it could be. If you have some creative help to mock up where you want to go, do that too.

At the end of the day this about revenue, sponsorship, etc., but it’s also about protecting the brand. Your content and your visual identity should be the best representation of what it stands for. Put the brand hat on.


7- Leverage data to tell the story.

There is no arguing against numbers. So when presenting your case, it’s important to leverage the data to tell your story. This includes what has worked and what hasn’t worked.


8- Think about hires differently.

It can be hard to get full time headcount. The good news is creative help comes in different forms, so as you’re looking to get the resources you need, don’t be afraid to approach things differently. Whether you build a stellar intern program like Clemson or rely on an army of freelance help, you can still make the vision happen. There are also agencies – like STN Digital, Fox Hammer and UnCommon Thinking – who can serve as a great extension of your team.


9- Have a plan A, B & C.

Finally, when pitching for more help you have to keep an open mind. Have an ideal scenario, but also have a plan B, C and D. Building out a dream team takes time and patience. You might not get all the resources you need right away, but slowly and surely, pitch by pitch you’ll get there.


10- Keep going.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a “yes” right away. These things take time. Keep fighting the good fight and demonstrating the why. The rest “yes” will eventually come.

Hopefully the points above serve as a guide as you start to think about your pitch. Every organization and leadership team responds to information differently, but one thing is certain, it never hurts to be over-prepared. Build your business case and prep, prep, prep.

What have you found to be successful when pitching for more resources? Share your thoughts below.

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