Okay, so you know who you’re targeting, you know what you’ve got to work with and you know what you’re trying to achieve. Time for some rules.
Your Creative Brief is the document that sets the guidelines for anyone contributing to your content strategy. It should cover top-level stuff like your preferred writing style; subjects you want to cover and others you’d prefer to avoid; your policies for using images, video and embeds; and where your source material will come from.
You might also use your Creative Brief as a living document – something that gets updated on the fly with tips for contributors on what has been successful or mistakes to avoid repeating.
A good Creative Brief keeps everyone on-message, creating effective content across all channels.
What should my Creative Brief cover?
You can build an effective Creative Brief on a single page or you can write your own eBook. Either way, here are some good general pointers about what to include:
- Preferred writing style: there’s more to content marketing than writing, but editorial is likely to play at least some part in your strategy. So, it’s important to set out your style and tone, supported with some examples;
- Relevant topics and how to cover them: you obviously can’t know about every topic in advance, but whatever business you’re in there will be certain recurring themes that are relevant to your audience. Use your Creative Brief to identify these and set expectations for how you want them covered;
- Keywords and target landing pages: to create really effective blog content these days you’ll need to do this on a per article basis, but your Creative Brief should still include priority keywords and target landing pages;
- Editorial policies: the internet is a bit like the Wild West when it comes to respecting copyright, libel and other aspects of media law. Hold yourself to a higher standard by setting some rules for where you’ll get your source material and how you’ll treat other people’s content;
- Brand guidelines: like your editorial policies this could be a whole separate document, but if you don’t want to go that far you should at least address issues like your colour palette, your company font and how you want your logo used
What do I do with my Creative Brief once it’s written?
One problem you’ll find is that you’ll want to keep amending and adding to your Creative Brief. As you learn more about what works or you come up with new ideas for your content marketing strategy you’ll want it to adapt.
You have two options here: the first is to keep edit access to your Creative Brief high-level and trust the people using it to make good decisions themselves. If you’re aiming for a one-pager, this is the option for you. Option two is to make your Creative Brief a much more comprehensive, living document that you will regularly update.
Like most things it will be a lot easier if you decide which option you want from the outset.