Briefs are great. More than great – they’re essential. Every project needs a brief. If you’re creating content, you need a brief. If you’re designing stuff, you need a brief. In the world of digital marketing and communications, the need for having a brief in place before a piece of work starts is (or at least, should be) universally accepted as a given.
But here’s the thing – in theory briefs are great, but in practice a lot of them aren’t that great. They’re often locked in static documents – in PDFs or Word docs – and they’re not linked to the other documents needed to create the best response.
Release the briefs
For example, say you’ve got a brief for a big content marketing project. Your brief is locked in a Word doc. Your personas, strategy, research and everything else related to the project are all trapped in a similar way. Sure, you could take the elements you need from each doc and add them to the brief – but then you’re at the risk of version control for every single moving part of a project. The parts move, but the brief doesn’t. Even when briefs are taken out of their static homes and put into formats like Google docs, you’re still limited in the ways you can connect other necessary resources to get the work done.
We want more from our briefs. We want them to work harder. That’s why we’ve been creating dynamic briefs that enable the teams executing projects to connect to all the relevant documents they need, when they need them.
We put a lot of time into creating strategies. And when we move to the execution stage of a project, we want the strategy to inform every step of the way. So our briefs need to help create that connection, without being so large and unwieldy the ‘what’ isn’t lost because it’s overshadowed by the ‘why’.
Because it’s not just strategies we need to incorporate into briefs. Personas, research and voice, tone and style guides all have a place in there. All of this information, while crucial to the project, can bloat a brief.
The dynamic briefs we’re creating on client projects take all of these documents and make them available through the brief creation process and as part of the final brief. They’re content operations tools that enable people to deliver efficient and effective branded content.
How it works
When someone needs to create a brief, they go to our digital briefing tool and answer a series of guided questions. Throughout this process they’re asked whether they need to input information from the strategy document, or whether they need to know about the personas, or whether they need specific guidance from the voice, tone and style guide. All this information is then drawn into a final, easy to use digital document.
It’s a tool that also takes into account different levels of knowledge. Some people on a project might have an in-depth understanding of the strategy or the personas. On the other hand, someone new to the team may never have seen these documents before. The dynamic briefs take this into account and serve up the right information, depending on each person’s needs.
A tool for content training
And it’s not just strategy related documents we’ve started to integrate into dynamic briefs. We’re fully aware that for some content teams, creating content is only one part of their job. They’re not professional content creators, simply people who have had content duties foisted upon them.
With dynamic briefs, we can integrate training materials into the brief. This means people can get the information about what content they’re making, why they’re making it and how to make it. We can integrate writing guides, video guides, social media guides and any kind of content production guide you can think of into the brief.
There will always be a place for static documents when it comes to digital marketing. Who doesn’t like the smell of a freshly printed style guide in the morning? That said, feeding a brief by taking information out of multiple static documents is no longer necessary. It’s time to use briefs to connect your strategy to your work in a dynamic way.
If you’d like to find out more about our briefing tool, get in touch.