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How to write a successful Creative Brief

As a marketer or small business owner, you’re likely familiar with the challenge of turning abstract ideas into concrete plans. That’s where a well-written creative brief comes into play. It’s more than a mere document—it’s a roadmap for your creative projects that guides your team, aligns your vision, and sets clear expectations for your clients.

But what should a creative brief include and how do you create one that clearly communicates your desired output? We’re sharing all that and more in this article!

A creative brief is a concise document that outlines the key elements and objectives of a marketing project or campaign. It serves as a centralized location to communicate all the necessary details in 1-2 pages.

Keep in mind that your brief isn’t a place for draft copy or sketching out ad graphics.

You need a creative brief for any marketing project that requires developing creative elements and coordination between multiple stakeholders. You should use a creative brief to align all stakeholders on a marketing project or campaign.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your creative brief:

1. Write a project overview

The first thing you need in a creative brief is an overview of the project to identify what you’re looking for, for what purpose, and how that will be completed and finalized.

Outlining these will avoid scope creep, which is the gradual expansion of a project’s original deliverables or requirements. If you’ve ever freelanced, you’re probably all too familiar. This happens when a client adds additional tasks, requests additional features, or increases expectations after the project’s already started.

2. Define the project objectives

You need objectives for all your marketing activities, and that includes creative campaigns.

3. Share your brand’s key messaging and facts

You’ll also need to include your main message or messages that you’re trying to communicate with this marketing collateral.

Say you’re working with a freelancer who is writing copy for Google Ads about your latest product offering. What’s the value proposition of your product? What’s the tagline? What’s the positioning statement? Share your messaging essentials in your creative brief.

4. Describe your target audience

Understanding your brand’s target audience is the key to developing compelling creative assets.

So include relevant details about your target audience. This will include basic demographic information, like age ranges, gender identities, or occupations. But it should also include more insight into your audience’s connection to your company.

5. Summarize your brand guidelines

When you’re working with someone outside of your organization—or even simply outside of the marketing team—you should include guidelines for your brand.

The other relevant brand information for this will depend on the project. For graphics, for example, this will include your colors, themes, logos, and any design rules.

6. Point out your competitors

In your creative brief, you’ll want to include key competitors. You don’t need to include in-depth competitive analysis in your project document.

7. Include any references for inspiration

Let’s start with a caveat: Your creative brief should include more information about your business and your products than your competitors.

8. Spell out the timeline and deliverables

Your creative brief is different from your contract, which you should have as an agreement with any agency or freelancer you’re working with.

9. State your distribution plan

Context matters, and it should have a quick spot in your creative brief. Whether you’ve got someone writing a blog post or putting together graphics for a campaign, it’s good for the creator to have an idea of where their project fits in your marketing.

Follow these steps for less back-and-forth with your team and fewer creative revisions—and more time to focus on how to put your amazing creative to use.