Before engaging a copywriter or content marketing strategist, take some time to develop a detailed brief. It will benefit you and the creative for several reasons.

Developing a brief for an English copywriter, content creator or strategist gets you thinking about your goals and facilitates efficient project progress:

  • Firstly, a good brief will help you and the creative to undertake and finish the project smoothly and successfully while avoiding misunderstandings about the scope.
  • Secondly, by providing a well-thought-out brief, the creative can give you an accurate calculation of the costs involved.
  • Thirdly, by writing up a detailed brief, you focus on what you really need to get this project completed. This exercise forces you to consider your business goals and identify what exactly is necessary to achieve those goals so that you can plan out your content requirements.
  • Furthermore, by taking your time to draft a detailed brief, you will reach a better understanding of what you need from the creative. Do you, in fact, need a strategy as well as content? Should the creative undertake keyword research? Do you need a regular supply of blogs per month?

Let’s look at some questions to ask yourself before drafting your brief:

What service do I need? English copywriting or content strategy?

Nowadays, content is marketing. But creating blogs, videos, and other content is not the only factor to consider when it comes to marketing success. With a strategy, you identify your customers, where they are online, and what content interests them at different stages of their customer journey. If on the other hand, you require content to fit an existing strategy, you need to consider the type of content that will ensure the success of your strategy?

Why does this content piece need to be written? What is its purpose?

Should the required content build brand authority and present expertise and thought-leadership? Or is it an educational piece for colleagues that will be rolled out as part of an internal communications program? Or should this piece educate customers on a product, solution, or event? Think about the goal of your content.

Who is the content being written for?

Define your audience. To whom should the content appeal? To business clients, consumers, a specific age group, or sex? Do you have personae in mind who should be convinced by this content? Have you thought about what stage of the customer journey this content will appear at?

What sort of language should be used in the content? Is there a brand voice to be considered?

Should the content be written in highly descriptive, editorial language or plain speak? Should it be formal or informal in style? Is there a brand voice that should come through in the language? Major brands have a very clear communication style. Nike text, for example, is inspirational, strong, and positive and it underscores the athletic heart of the brand. Patagonia, with the protection of the environment as a core value, is more emotional, caring, humble, and collaborative. Ensure the creative has access to brand style guides or provide a few lines indicating the type of language required.

Is there a specific problem and solution that should be presented in the content piece?

How does your business help its customers? What kind of problem would a potential customer have that would make them want to look for your product or solution? Is this an approach that should be tackled in the content piece?

What channels will the content be featured on?

Will the content be published on the website as a blog? Will it be presented on the intranet? Can it be re-used elsewhere in a different format? Should the writer develop social media posts to accompany the content and ensure that it is promoted effectively?

What sort of response should the content piece evoke?

Should the piece create awareness for your organization or drive clients to the website or get them to sign up for a webinar?

In conclusion:

  • Be clear about what services you require from the creative.
  • Decide on the word count or the length of the piece.
  • Include keywords or make keyword research part of the brief.
  • Be clear as to who conducts the research.
  • Work out your budget before approaching the creative and then provide that information to them.
  • Set deadlines for first and final drafts.
  • Ensure that stipulated deadlines fit in with your publication and editorial dates and that you leave plenty of time should amendments be required.

This free Content Creation Form will give you a good start to developing your agency briefs.