5 top tips for writing a creative brief

Every successful project requires a clear, informative brief. That’s why creative marketers love a good brief and can get quite grumpy about unclear, uninformative briefs.

All articles - Thought Leadership - 29 January 2024


Every successful project requires a clear, informative brief. That’s why creative marketers love a good brief and can get quite grumpy about unclear, uninformative briefs. Because, at the end of the day, they can’t create something from nothing. A brief full of the right information, however, not only enables creatives to do their jobs but it enables them to do them quickly and efficiently.

To this end, a creative brief provides a roadmap from the start of a project to the finish line. Depending on the size of the project, this might require one overarching project brief and lots of small briefs for individual portions of the job, or just a single brief for one job. A creative brief doesn’t necessarily sound like a difficult thing to write, but it’s important not to underestimate the process; it can be hard to wrap a lot of important details into just a few pages.

Keep reading to find out our top tips for writing creative briefs.


How to write a creative brief?

1. Follow a template

The ideal creative brief will include the following information at first glance, before taking a deeper dive into the depth of the project.

  • What the job actually is

What is the overall project you’ve been tasked with delivering and what part does this job play in achieving the aims of that project?

  • Content type

Is it a blog, video, print campaign, webpage?

  • Project aim

What are you aiming to achieve with the results of this job? For example, if the job is to create some paid social assets, where are they linking to, what do they want the audience to do, and what is the overall aim (e.g., to increase leads)?

  • Target audience

Who are you speaking to and what do they want from the brand you’re working for?

  • Audience motivation

What questions are the audience asking that this campaign can help to answer?

  • Reasons to believe

Why should the target audience put their trust in this particular brand?

  • Brand TOV

How does this brand sound? Can you provide examples of how this brand sounds?

  • Best practice guidelines

These will depend on the type of content being produced. So, for a blog that’s targeting certain SEO keywords, a list of keywords will need to be included as well as SEO best practice information such as the length of a meta title and description.


2. Name the project

A project name gives a creative clear direction. It doesn’t matter if the name isn’t perfect, creatives can always tweak it to make it better. But providing a title for, say, an eBook that you’re briefing in lets the copywriter know exactly what you want the guide to say because, while the brief may lay out the content for lots of different chapters on slightly differing topics, the title indicates the main point all those topics lead back to.

For example, for a product guide that lists lots of different medical options available, the title might indicate that all those treatments are designed for treating conditions of the eye.


3. Summarise the background of the project

Creative work doesn’t happen in a vacuum; all creative work plays a small role in a larger plan to boost brand awareness or increase leads. To get the best work out of your creatives, you need to give them the background to the project they’ll be working on. For example, a group of paid social posts might be designed to take the audience to a specific landing page, but creatives need to know why that landing page was created in the first place.


4. Provide a framework for the creative work to build on

Whether it’s design, copy, or a mixture of both, your brief needs to provide the outline for a creative to work from. So, for a blog, provide the structure of the blog you’re asking for so that they can fill in the blanks. Simply asking them to write a blog about glaucoma means you’re likely to end up with a blog about the wrong types of glaucoma. Instead, specify it’s a blog about open-angle glaucoma and specify with the structure what aspects of open-angle glaucoma you want to discuss. It might be that you want to talk less about the symptoms and more about the treatment prospects – but the creative doesn’t know that unless you tell them.


5. Provide unique insight from the client

It doesn’t matter how informed the creative is on a particular topic, the brand you’re representing is the ultimate expert. They have the information; the creative has the skill set they need. Your job when writing a brief is to convey that information so the creative can use their skill set effectively. Otherwise, a creative’s time will be eaten up by trying to become an expert on a topic you already have access to experts on.

Not taking advantage of your client’s expertise at the brief stage will also result in a longer process with more rounds of amends. Because the client knows intrinsically what they need to communicate. If your brief doesn’t give the creative that information, the client is likely to pick out holes and flaws in their work that could have easily been avoided.


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