A good brief can make all the difference when it comes to streamlining a project, but it’s not always easy as a client to know what information your creative needs.
By following these six steps, you can rest assured that you’ve covered all your bases and set your project on the path towards a successful outcome with minimal fuss.
Step 1: All about you.
Tell us about your company. How long have you been around? How large is your organisation? What is your industry about, and where do you fit into it? Who are your competition and how do you differ from them?
These details may seem obvious from the inside, but your creative doesn’t necessarily know anything about your industry yet, and needs a good understanding of your business for their work to be effective.
Step 2: Set Your Goals
Every creative project, from the simplest business card, to the most in-depth website imaginable, has at least one objective, if not many. We need to know exactly what that objective is if we’re going to help you achieve it. Are you looking to create brand awareness? Increase sales? Generate dialogue? Showcase a new product? Think about everything you hope to achieve with the project and put it in your brief.
Step 3: Know Your Audience
Knowing your target audience is as important as knowing your product. The more detail we have on who you’re hoping to reach, the more closely we can tailor the project to appeal to them. Anything from age, income bracket and occupation, to the most common ways they interact with your brand can be incredibly useful to us. Something as seemingly arbitrary as the fact that 80% of your target audience enjoys shortbread could be the tipping point that sends your product/campaign over the edge of ordinary and on to the runaway slope of success.
Step 4: Set Your Limits
Nobody likes to talk budgets and deadlines, but they are an essential part of any project. For small projects, it’s not usually necessary to specify a budget when asking for a quotation. For larger projects, a ballpark figure can really help your creative decide on the most appropriate and effective solution for your needs.
When setting a timeline for your project, make sure your creative is aware of any contributing factors. You need your press release for a last minute convention in a day’s time? Let us know. We’re pretty good at knuckling down when we know there’s a reason for it.
That said, if you’re setting a deadline for the sake of setting a deadline (and let’s face it, every project needs one) make sure you’re being realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Step 5: Share Your Vision
As miraculous as creatives are (I said miraculous, not humble), we can’t see inside your head. The only way we’ll ever know your vision for the project is if you tell us. Or show us.
Send us examples of similar projects that you like, writing styles you’d like to emulate, or imagery that speaks to you. It doesn’t have to be exactly what you want, but we do need to know what you love and what you hate.
Step 6: Get Us the Goods
Content, content, content. This step is not always necessary for all types of projects, but is absolutely indispensable for copywriting work.
Think of copywriting as putting together a puzzle. We need two things to do it well: the big picture, and all the pieces. Steps 1 through 5 should be plenty for us to define the big picture. But without all the pieces, we’ll never be able to build it for you.
I could write an entire article on the best ways to supply your writer with all the information he/she needs. All you really need to remember, however, are these two golden rules:
- Delayed content = delayed project. We can’t start writing if we don’t know what we’re writing about.
- Dribs and drabs make copywriters cry. There’s nothing worse than trying to start a puzzle without having all the pieces. If you can’t give us everything in one go, try to at least give us complete sections at a time.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy.
There you have it. A simple recipe for a solid brief that’ll give your project the foundation it needs to be completed on time and within budget.*
*Side benefits may include reduction of hypertension in creatives worldwide.