23 Jan Writing a helpful creative brief – including a creative brief template

Creative briefs can be just that, brief. But within that brevity they should be very specific.

The brief should act as a springboard for the creative. Providing short details will be far more helpful than product owners drafting copy or designs. A good brief enables the creative to deliver within specific requirements without narrowing possibilities too early or restricting creative thinking.

When tempted to write a brief full of suggestions, remember you’ve engaged a copywriter or designer, not a human spell checker or colourer-in. They have a skillset to offer that a short, solid brief will help unleash.


All content should have a definite purpose. Why are you commissioning it now? Why is it of interest to the user? What do you want them to do? What business goals does it meet?

If you’re finding it hard to clearly define the purpose of the content, you should revisit your content plan. It’s better to create fewer pieces of great content, then have a calendar full of feeble content.


Do you have personas? Target groups? Specific people you want to reach based on their previous brand engagement?

The brief should include a short description of the intended audience. It should signpost to any further information on that audience’s behaviour and needs.


What does the success of this content look like? Defining KPIs will help further refine the purpose too. What do you want this content to do and how will you measure whether it’s worked?

Must haves

Are there some high ranking keywords you want to use? Do you have certain brand terms that need to be included? While outlining must haves should be short and specific – i.e. not drafted messaging – it’s helpful to define any elements you want to see in the content.

No gos

Are there messaging or design approaches that don’t work well with your audience? Are any terms politically sensitive? Have you had any recent complaints from your users?

If any specific words or approaches are no gos, include them in your brief. This could be as simple as No negative emotions or Always say reductions not sale. This will save your creative spending time (and your money) on options that would be a no from the outset.

Sign off

Include a brief description or diagram of the sign off process. Is it one-to-one between yourself and the creative? Do a number of people need to review the content and at what stage?

If you’re negotiating rates with the creative, this will help define the scope of work. A single handover is very different to several rounds of feedbacks and iterations in terms of the work involved for the creative.


Do you have a style guide? Insight data? Keyword research? Signpost to any further reading that could be helpful or relevant.


Creative brief template

Questions for the product owner to answer when briefing a creative:

What’s the purpose of the content?

Who’s the audience? What channels will the content be on?

How will success be measured (KPIs)?

What elements need to be included?

What should be avoided?

Who needs to review the content? When?

What further resources could be helpful?


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