Creative Brief Checklist

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

Benjamin Franklin

The 4 Part 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:

1. Content Strategy

Content marketing strategies have many moving parts that must all fit together into a coherent whole. Knowing how a single piece of copy fits into the overall strategy can result in new ideas for improvement or alignment.

  • How does the copy 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? (e.g. What is the Call to action?)
  • How will success be measured and understood?
  • 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 audience?
  • Who’ll be reading the copy?
  • What will motivate them to read the piece? What excites them?
  • What keeps them awake at night?
  • What do they already know about your topic?
  • What argument or explanation will engage them?
  • What do prospects know about the product? (what are their existing perceptions?)

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’s being created? (article, eBook, web page, etc.)
  • What length can the copy be without losing reader’s attention? (How many words?)
  • What frame of mind will the reader be in?
  • How much of their attention can you hope to get?

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 is the expected result of the copy?
  • What is the mission of the copy?
  • What key takeaways should the reader get?
  • What messages or content should be delivered?
  • What do you want the prospect to think after reading the copy?
  • What do you want the prospect to do after reading the copy?