When it comes to creating something effective, whether it’s a piece of writing, a web design or a photograph, it’s all about the preparation. In other words, it’s all about getting a good brief.
Briefing is an essential process to go through if you’ve hired someone to do the work on your behalf. It helps your writer / designer / photographer get inside your head and understand exactly what it is you want to achieve. Having said that, it’s also a useful exercise to run through when you’re doing something yourself because it helps to set the scene in your head and be more sure of an effective result.
A good brief takes a bit of time, both on your part and the part of the person you’ve hired to do the creating on your behalf, but believe me, it’s worth it. And of course, the longer you’ve worked with someone, the quicker the process becomes because there’s a lot of shared knowledge and background information you can draw on.
So what does a good brief contain? Very briefly (no pun intended), it’s:
- Practicalities of the work: things like size / word count / deadline / where it’ll be used / who the target market is / what the call to action is / who’ll be signing it off etc
- Information on the company: things like details of products and/or services provided / target market / USPs etc
Some people will get the brief informally by having a conversation with you. Some people will prefer you to brief formally by filling in a form.
I prefer to get a brief in a conversation, because it gives us both chance to ask questions and clarify anything we’re not sure about. But I do have a set of briefing questions I use to guide the conversation and make sure I haven’t missed anything. If you think you’d find the questions useful, just get in touch – I’d be more than happy to share them with you.
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