As a content marketing agency, we’ve seen our fair share of bad marketing briefs. From that lone sentence on an otherwise empty page to sprawling documents filled with confused bullet points. In short, there’s either too much of the wrong information or too little of the right! Therefore, knowing how to write a brief is a vital skill.
The fact of the matter is that a well-constructed brief will save you time and money in the long run (especially if you’re being billed by the hour!). Moreover, it will result in high-quality content that hits the spot every time. So, what are the key elements of that elusive perfect brief?
We all know the old proverb ‘you can’t build a house on sand’. Well, the same can be said when it comes to building marketing briefs!
If you’re briefing in an article, a clear, direct title up top can do a lot of the heavy lifting early on. It allows the writer to understand the topic and the angle from the get-go.
That said, you don’t necessarily have to start your brief here. You can build the rest of the brief and then add the title before sending it to your marketeer if that’s easiest.
You’d be surprised how many marketing briefs fail to mention who they’re attempting to reach.
Drill down into the specifics of your target audience and make sure to articulate this within the brief. Additionally, offer details of age, demographics, potential pain points and even potential characteristics or attitudes of your target audience.
A good trick is to offer up a few cultural reference points such as music, movies or links. After all, this will help the marketer to better understand the style and tone you’re after.
What do you want this content to do?
It’s always a good idea to give your marketing professionals an idea of what you want to achieve with the content. Is it to build brand awareness? Encourage engagement? Drive conversions?
This will give the marketer an idea of how to shape the content and any calls to action that should be included.
Defining the format of your content is a big help. It helps marketing professionals understand what you expect from the finished piece.
Whether it’s a product page, Q & A article, listicle, or flowing copy with headings (like this one) make sure to pick a format that works for you and your goals.
Depending on the client or project, you may be working with a style guide (sometimes called a brand bible) or other marketing assets. Make these available to those you’re briefing. In the end, the more your team understands the context of the project, the better.
It’s the bane of every writer’s life. Contrary to popular belief, writers don’t like to be told to ‘go wild with it’. Writers need firm parameters so they know how to shape the piece – and also estimate how long it will take to write.
Therefore, a considered word count is the best way to achieve refined, quality content within the time allotted.
And that, of course, brings us neatly to the thorn in most marketers’ sides…
Set a clear deadline.
It’s vital to let the person you’re working with know exactly what is required of them and by when.
Our top tip? Leave some wiggle room so any notes, amendments or changes can be implemented before your actual deadline.
Would you go on a first date and forget to introduce yourself?
Of course not!
Well, the same is true when briefing new writers, designers or marketers who may not be familiar with your brand, or organisation.
Even if it feels obvious, the more information you can give them about who you are, what you do, and your mission, the greater chance they will have of being able to meet your vision.
Most importantly, once you’ve built your watertight new brief, create a template to save time and effort in the future!
If you want your content to refer to research or sources, tell the writer in advance. This can make them more efficient and ensure they understand exactly what you’re looking for.
We can help!
As an experienced content team, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients, helping them to build the perfect brief. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0330 0340736 to discuss your needs!
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