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Creative Brief Checklist

How to Plan a Piece of Content That Gets Results
creative brief
Developing a Creative Brief is important if you want your content to get results.

Businesses often skip the step of planning each piece of content. The risk is you won’t get the results you want. On the other hand, planning increases the cumulative impact of your content which leaves room in your budget for other marketing expenditures.

Business Goals, Marketing Goals and Content Goals, What's the Difference?

Business goals are big picture decisions such as which new industries to target. Or, which new products to introduce to existing customers. Further, your goals may acquiring a certain number of new customers, establishing channel partnerships or account based marketing. 

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin

Focusing on too many goals is a bad idea since each requires a unique marketing roadmap and materials. Marketing goals include decisions like which channels to target to reach a chosen market. Or, how should the product be positioned and which unique differentiators should focused on to message a given market.

Marketing Strategy Directs the Creative Brief

An effective Creative Brief is the logical outcome of a marketing strategy based on prioritized business goals. Without a Creative Brief, the copywriter is left guessing, The less focused a piece of content is on a specific audience and their challenges, the less impact the content will have. Plan your next Creative Brief now. A stitch in time saves nine.

The 4 Parts of a Creative Brief

It’s impossible to write effective copy if you’re not clear who’s reading it or what they want. A Creative Brief solves this problem by providing the instructions for effective copy development. Here are 4 types of information a copywriter needs. Not all this information will apply to every project. (Additional information may be required).

1. Content Strategy

Content marketing strategies have many moving parts that must all fit together into a coherent whole. Knowing what role a piece of copy or content plays in the overall strategy can help develop ideas for improvement or alignment.

  • How does the piece of copy or content fit into your sales process?
  • What job must it do within the overall framework of your marketing strategy.
  • How does this project support the sales effort? (what is the call to action)
  • What is the single most important idea to get across? What should prospects remember most?
  • What mandatory elements must be included?

2. Audience

The more the copy is directed to a specific audience for a specific reason, the more leverage the writer has for getting results. Copy directed at everyone for any reason is like trying to boil the ocean.

  • Who is the targeted market? (what is their industry)
  • Who is your target audience (who specifically will be reading the copy)
  • What will motivate them to read the piece? (what excites them)
  • What keeps them awake at night? (what influences their decision to buy)
  • What do they know about their alternatives? (doing nothing, competitor offerings)
  • What argument or explanation will engage them? (wants, needs, interests)
  • What do prospects know about the product? (what are their existing perceptions)
  • What are the barriers to the sale? (What objections might hold them back)

3. Context

The context where the copy appears can completely change how a reader engages with the copy. If not taken into consideration, the copy may not be read at all and could completely fail.

  • What channels are being used to deliver the message to the audience? (website, industry blog, social media post, etc.)
  • What ’s the copy format? (article, eBook, web page, etc.)
  • What frame of mind will the reader be in?
  • How much of their attention can you hope to get?
  • What length can the copy be without losing reader’s attention? (How many words?)

4. Expected Results

The Creative brief should articulate the expected results of the copy as much as possible. Without this information, the copywriter is left guessing.

  • What are the expected results of the copy? What's its mission? (the more specific the better)
  • How will success be measured and understood? (this is impossible to do without clarity on what result is expected)
  • What key takeaways should the reader get? What messages or content should be delivered?
  • What do you want the reader to think after reading the copy?
  • What do you want the reader to feel after reading the copy?
  • What do you want the reader to do after viewing the copy?