WHY BRIEFS ARE NOT PANTS
Would you go and get open heart surgery without a proper diagnosis or start a lengthy journey without a map? I thought not. However, the question is not as absurd as it may appear when applied to copywriting briefs. There is a commonly held assumption amongst certain clients that copywriters can turn lead into gold at the touch of a keyboard without a proper brief and a superficial understanding of the brand or business. This problem is exacerbated in the go-go world of start-ups where time is short, budgets are tight and the pressure to go ‘live’ is ever present. So for budding entrepreneurs it’s worth remembering a golden rule in copywriting or content production. Time spent developing a detailed brief will shorten the project time and produce better results every time. How is that?
Entrepreneurs have a vision or gut feel of where they want to get to. However, that is not the same as writing it down and formalising it. That is where a decent copywriter can provide a framework for a project by asking lots and lots of questions. Who is the audience, what are the key messages, the SEO keywords and the tone of voice to adopt? How does this project fit into the overall business strategy and what are the objectives of the project. Well you get the idea. However you also need to think about the consequences of bypassing this process. The classic symptoms are too many draft versions, time wasting, general frustration and copy that doesn’t quite hit the mark. .
Going back to the analogy of the map. You can chose to start a long journey without a map. Sure you may eventually get to your final destination using the sun and the stars. But, at worst you may not get there and at best you may arrive late. Essentially a brief is like map that helps you plan your journey and as the old saying goes ‘if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail’.