You write a brief. You’re really happy with it. You send it to your copywriter.
The copy comes back. It’s crap.
You email back and forth. The next draft isn’t much better. By the eighth round of amends you’ve lost the will to live. You’ve wasted days on this. You don’t have the words you need for that next campaign. And your boss isn’t happy.
Now the writer is muttering “more money” as they’ve gone over the time you agreed.
Not all copywriters are brilliant and they don’t always nail it first time. But after 20 years of working with clients I know bad results most often come from bad briefs.
The world’s a bit topsy turvy so it’s harder to remember the fundamentals of writing a great brief. The last thing you need is to waste time or money. You need work that works.
I’ve got an awesome new client, a young company, and I’m helping them get clarity on their briefing internally. And that will lead to brilliant external briefs to all their agencies.
Here are three things to get brilliant briefs
1. Write it down AND talk it through
It’s important to have a written brief so everyone can refer back to it. But you also need to talk to your writer. There are subtleties and things you won’t put in the brief that come out in conversation. Make sure you put time aside for a chat once you’ve sent the brief.
2. There’s a process – afiatone
There are lots of different ways to write a brief but I’ve taken the hard work away and given you the afiatone process in my Cut the Crap book. It’s five simple steps to the most effective writing (including briefing) you’ll find. At Aldermore bank everyone uses it and it’s transformed their writing and customer experience, with email open rates increasing and NPS scores going up.
3. Stop, rebrief time
Round six of amends? It’s time to stop and rebrief your writer. A good writer will ask you to rebrief after more than three or four rounds of edits. Sometimes it’s a quick chat that reveals what the real focus of the work should be. Sometimes it means scrapping the work and starting again. It’s easy to avoid it as it feels like more work. But it will save you another 10 rounds of amends and you’ll feel less like strangling someone.
Try out afiatone on your next brief and let me know if it helped. And if you want to know more about getting great work from your copywriter grab my white paper.