What to include in a creative brief

A creative brief is a short document that captures important details about a project to help keep everyone on track as it moves from start to finish—whether it’s for an infographic, data analysis, or an entire marketing campaign.

But it can also be a helpful document to have on hand before you look for a freelancer or agency to support the project or take the lead: A good creative brief walks you through key considerations that may impact the scope of work, the project’s pricing structure, the skills and experience needed, and your overall budget.

What does a good creative brief look like?

It typically includes the following sections:

  • Background: Explain what your business is and what it does, as well as the context of the project. How does it fit within the business?
  • Project description: Summarize the project and the overall goal. What problem or challenges does your project aim to solve?
  • Objectives: Following the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related) model, set objectives that capture not just what you want to accomplish but how you plan to measure success. Describe the action you want the audience to take as a result of this project.
  • Audience: Describe who you specifically want to reach, including specifics such as geographic and demographic information. It may be helpful to share the personas you’ve created to help guide marketing activities.
  • Deliverables: List the assets to be created and include any specifications that may impact the final product (i.e., file type, dimensions, etc.).
    Tone, message, and style: Describe the look and/or feel of any deliverables. This can be determined by many different factors, including the audience, marketing channel, and nature of your project.
  • Timeline: Outline the overall timeline as well as any key dates and/or milestones. Be sure to account for potential revisions as well as internal approvals with key stakeholders.
  • Budget: Detail the project budget and break down any relevant categories.
  • Key stakeholders: List anyone actively involved in the project, from internal team members to freelancers to decision makers.

Other information may be included, such as:

  • A description of major competitors
  • Key messages and/or product benefits to be highlighted
  • Specific tactics that will be used for distribution of deliverables
  • Related documents
  • Examples (from internal or external sources)

While these details may be up for discussion, refinement, and clarification as you engage a freelancer or agency, your initial version can help determine the best fit for your project and fuel ideas that can ultimately help “move the needle” in ways that are meaningful for your business.

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