November is here, and it’s full speed ahead for marketers hoping to jumpstart campaigns before the holiday season. From Black Friday shopping to early Christmas gift giving, there’s no time to waste, especially as the inventory dwindles following Election Day. Many marketers are eager to get the ball rolling, but before anything is set in motion, an incomplete creative brief is enough cause to hit the brakes. Even with a clear picture of brand identity and campaign intent, ideas can get lost in the shuffle when communicating with an internal team. By sharing concise, detail-oriented guidelines with the company your brand employs, the internal writers can move forward with the assurance that they will be able to deliver, and optimize the best creative output.

Lucky for you, we have a bit of experience in the brief-building department here at Keywee. While the format of briefs may vary across companies, here are some staple elements to include for creative content success:

Outlining The Overall Brand

While the ins and outs of your brand may seem clear as day, your frame of reference may not appear as clear-cut to everyone else. Two things can be true: a writer can have a fundamental knowledge of what your brand delivers, and miss the mark when it comes to delivering that message. That’s why disclosing a short yet thorough description of your company and its mission statement is important for the writers working on your campaign to receive. 

Amidst the space for creative expression and interpretation, the heart of a brand can become muddled if there is an overall lack of identity and direction. Including a few abstract descriptors or vague keywords will only mystify the people working to align your campaign with your brand. Providing a company with a comprehensive overview of your brand can help keep the campaign on course (and act as a touchpoint for future campaigns).

Identify Your Target Audiences

With any new campaign, naming and specifying key demographics go hand-in-hand with producing creative content. Targeting is the most important aspect following the creation process, so knowing, and defining, which audiences frequent your site should be communicated to the internal team. For example, a writer working without a complete creative brief on a campaign for a financial-focused publisher might assume the brand mainly finds success with men and women in the United States, aged 20-35. Thus, the copy produced reflects and caters to that audience.

However, said publisher might have a different readership in mind, with a completely different age bracket and location, to garner high viewability. By identifying and communicating specific demographics to the company, brands will have a better chance of reaching the right people, on the right platforms. 

Naming Top Competitors

Calling out your publishing rivals might seem redundant after sharing a full brand overview with the creative team.

But a little healthy competition goes a long way in the content writing process.

Why? It acts as an additional arsenal of information for the writers working on your campaign. It’s likely that these writers have caught a glimpse of what works and what doesn’t, since content wheelhouses tend to overlap for certain publishers. So even if you arrive as a new customer, the content for your brand will be supplemented by a wealth of knowledge writers have acquired along the way. Therefore, it’s equally likely that these writers have worked on content for your competitors. Not only does this provide the internal team with accurate references, but it also allows them to tweak and enhance the quality of the copy.

The Dynamic Duo: Tone & Style

Above all else, the two most necessary, most vital components needed in a creative brief are tone and style guidelines. These elements are the bread and butter of the brief. Without both, writers have no way of adapting, and adhering to the language of your brand. Essentially, it’s somewhat of a shot in the dark for writers trying to determine what kind of copy will perform well (if they have no guidance that is). Adding specific preferences for copy regarding length, playfulness (or directness), omission, and high-converting keywords are some of the ways a brand can offer further clarification.

By offering additional creative parameters, the creative process becomes more seamless and efficient, which results in a quicker turnaround time for content. So if a new campaign is especially time-sensitive, brands would be wise to include as many do’s and don’ts as possible before moving forward.

Creative Tips For The Holiday Season

Now that you know the ins and outs of the creative brief structure, the possibilities are endless.. Since some of the biggest commerce days of the year are upon us, certain language can help copy stand out as shoppers look for the best deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These tips and guidelines will set your creatives apart from the rest this month:

For Black Friday:

  • Use budget-friendly language in the copy e.g. “30 Gifts Under $30”. 
  • Solve a problem for the user e.g. “15 Gift Ideas For The Mom That Has It All”.
  • Cater to niche audiences e.g. “13 Gifts For Organized People”.

For Cyber Monday:

  • Focus on “FOMO language” and elicit a sense of urgency in case shoppers missed Black Friday deals.
  • Offer an additional incentive to shop i.e. angle of “ordering now before the holidays”.
  • Loosen up on the hard sell and make the language clever.