Miscommunication between marketing communications (or other related digital departments) and agencies usually leads to low quality output and inconsistencies in the content displayed (be it the text or the visuals). Companies’ brand managers should make sure that all employees who are working with external vendors should use one specific template in order to ensure the alignment of the content, and prevent potential miscommunication, regardless of the channels the content will be used.
In this article, I tried to summarize and simplify the main elements that should have place in a content brief which is delivered to the agencies. This summary is based on my previous experience on the digital field, therefore the main focus for the brief elements here is the digital channels. Please note that this is not a very detailed brief template that web content management professionals follow (x pages of descriptions for each section on the website etc..). However, this would still help for your day-to-day tasks related to agencies if you are employed in a big corporation.
1) Brief background: Put all the stuff that disables confusion regarding the ownership and the responsibilities of stakeholders, such as:
- Project name
- Date of issue
- Issued by
- Approved by (if the issuer and approver are different people)
- Brief date
- Expected delivery date
If the content is a web content, then add the below:
- Content expiry date: This is highly critical as for most of the corporate websites, the owners can forget a content update in a page that has never been reviewed for the past x months. It is necessary to set an expiry date even for the pages which look very static and don’t look like they are going to change soon.
- Expected frequency of information update: If a page has a dynamic element (e.g. a price of a product), this leads to a risk of “lack of timely updates”. To mitigate, determine the frequency of information, such as “monthly”, “weekly” etc.
- Dependencies: Usually, when the owner of a content changes an element in a page, they forget to change another related section in the same page. It would be useful to have a tree of dependencies for your website.
2) Product / Service Description:
- Product / service explanation: In this section, you should have a 10-15 rows of text box for describing product/service: (describe what should be used by the copywriter – e.g. features, activation etc.) Ideally, this space should be filled by product/service manager of your company.
- Product’s / service’s unique selling proposition
- Insights that led to product / service design: If the content is about a new product or service, a proof that provides market insights would be helpful to support the content development for the agency
Please follow this series if you like to see the rest of the 8 elements.
Image source: http://www.bandt.com.au/information/uploads/2014/11/iStock_000041876160_Small-1260×840.jpg