Brief Basics

What should be included in every brief?

    Overall goal or main takeaway

        1. Make the focus of the assignment crystal clear for the writer. 
        2. Consider: 
          1. What should someone learn or do after reading? 
          2. What is the client hoping to achieve with this topic (awareness, education, engagement, sales, etc.)?
          3. What audience or industry is the client targeting?
          4. What is the client’s POV on the topic?
          5. What tone should the writer aim for?
          6. What products should be featured (if applicable)?

    Project summary

        1. Describe how the assignment fits into the client’s larger vision for their content.
        2. Relay how the assignment will be used by the client.
        3. Attach an example from the client (if available) – sometimes a visual helps!

    Outline and key items to include

        1. Research the topic and craft an outline with key points the writer should include. 
        2. Come up with compelling H2s and guidance for each section. 
        3. Specify whether the outline is an example you created to help the writer get started or a strict outline that the client approved that must be followed.
        4. Consider: How can this piece best be structured to reach the overall goal? 

    CTA (if applicable) 

        1. Add a CTA that makes sense for the topic, the goal of the piece, and the target audience. Ideally, this information lives in the client’s brand profile. Always check there first to see if they’ve provided a preferred CTA or if they have any preferences around a hard or soft CTA.

    Internal links 

        1. Add one or two links from the client’s website that make sense for the subject matter.
        2. The writer should incorporate these links into their copy.
          1. Including internal links is important for SEO.

    Reference links

        1. Add at least two up-to-date (within the past two to three years) reference links.
        2. The research you source should be relevant to the topic and should help the writer get started.

    Add-ons (pre-dispatch)

      1. For an SEO add-on, have you sourced keywords for the brief? Have you included at least one internal link for the writer to incorporate?

    ClearVoice best practices:

    • When creating a new brief, duplicate from the appropriate assignment template – not an existing assignment. 
    Why is this important? If you duplicate an existing assignment, you might unknowingly copy over attachments to the new brief that may not make sense for the new topic, which can be confusing for the writer.
    • Be as detailed as possible.
    Remember: At this point, you know more about the client request than the writer. When crafting a brief, be as thorough and clear as you can, providing context so the writer produces their best work.
    • Put on your writer cap.
    If you were writing the piece you were creating the brief for, what would you want to know? What would be most helpful as you got started? Keep this top of mind.
    • You reap what you sow.
    The brief you create for a writer will either result in a well-written piece that the client is happy with, or it will result in an article filled with fluff, with no clear direction – leading to an unhappy client and a potential rewrite (i.e., more work for you).
    • Review the brief carefully before dispatching. 
    Taking an extra minute to double-check your work ensures success!

    Note: If you have a question for the client or are unsure about campaigns or some other detail concerning fulfillment, reach out to your customer success manager (CSM). If you have a question about freelancers or funds, chat with your talent manager (TM). If you have a question about constructing the brief itself, reach out to your managing editor (ME).

    What if the client provides the brief?

    The above guidelines apply even if a client provides the brief. Your job as a producer is to review the client-provided brief, ask your internal team any questions, and incorporate the client’s brief into a new assignment in the platform, ensuring that all gaps are filled in and that the writer is given the direction and information they need to succeed. 

    Please do not simply attach the client’s brief to a blank assignment and dispatch. Take time to thoroughly build out the brief so the writer knows exactly what they need to do to succeed.

    What if an assignment has an interview add-on? Is a “thinner” brief OK in these instances?

    Interviews always require a thorough brief. At ClearVoice, we can’t conduct an interview without one. For interview add-ons, if a client has not provided enough info, producers should ask their CSMs to reach out to the client for more direction on their behalf. 

    Once it’s created, the brief will always be approved by the client. This process ensures that a writer has enough time to prep questions – and, more importantly, will ask the right questions – before the interview occurs.