A quick one, this, but… never, ever, ever underestimate the power of a good brief – a clear brief.
I say this as I’ve had the good fortune to receive solid briefs from my last three clients, and it makes such a difference to what I produce, how happy the client is with that work, and how many further edits are needed.
So, what’s been so good about these briefs?
Well, they’ve had clear instructions on exactly what’s needed – sometimes in the briefing document itself, sometimes in an explanatory email with the brief attached.
By clear instructions, I mean:
– What the ultimate aim/objective of the piece of work is
– What platforms copy will appear on
– Who the copy is aimed at – the exact target audience
– The rough length of copy/content
– How to write for the plaforms on which copy will appear (in case I didn’t know)
– Examples of work from other organisations that has the same aim i.e what ‘good’ looks like
– The exact tone of voice to apply for the audience
– Any copy that’s already been written and can be worked with
– Examples of what’s been done in previous years (if copy is for an annual project)
– What the CTA is
– What definitely won’t work.
All of this helps to produce a first draft that’s closer to the finished piece.
The analogy I always use is about a shopping list:
If I sent you to the supermarket with a list that just said ‘food’, you wouldn’t know what to get me.
If I sent you with a list that said ‘a dairy item’, you’d know rougly where to look, but what do I want: milk? Cheese? Yoghurt? Cream?
If I sent you with a list that said ‘cheese’, I’ve narrowed it right down and you know where to look.
If I sent you with a list that said ‘strong blue cheese’, you now know exactly what I want and can pick something out for me.
The more precise information I give you, the more likely your choice(s) will be the right one.
The same goes for copy: the more you tell me, in the briefing process, the more likely I’ll make the right choices when writing first draft.
It’s simple really – the better the brief, the better the copy/design.