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How to Write a Great Brief: The Must-Haves

“Thank you for finishing this, however, I forgot to mention that I also need this, this, and this before we can wrap up this project.” 

Does this scenario sound familiar? It’s a freelancer’s nightmare and can be a business owner’s nightmare too. 

A freelancer budgets his or her time for a project based on the scope you provide, although when you leave out important brand details or guidelines, the overall experience for both of you can be frustrating. The good news is that any lack of clarity, forgotten project details, and back and forth messaging can be avoided with a great brief. 

You can make your life so much easier by learning to create awesome briefs that you can share with hired creative professionals. Right from the start, you have the opportunity to lay out all your expectations on both sides. When working with freelance writers you will need to provide guidelines on your company’s tone or voice along with clear writing style guidelines.  

Here are some brief creation tips.

1. Must-Haves

First up in the must-haves category are links to your website and social media profiles. The freelancer will need to get a grasp of your brand, and taking a look over your online presence is a great way to do that. 

Next, you want to set boundaries. What should the freelancer not do? If there are certain things that are not allowed, like including links to a competing company, you need to specify them. Also, let your freelancer know your budget and how you want the project submitted. Whether it’s through Google Doc, WordPress, etc., make sure to provide any login information needed. 

Deadlines. What do you expect to be due when? Is there an outline required before the final project? Are there in between steps that need to be approved before the freelancer can move on?

These are essential. Then there are the …

2. Nice-To-Haves

The “why” of the project. You must have a purpose for hiring the freelancer to do this project. Share it. You will get a better outcome if you give details on the purpose behind the project. 

Example: You hire a graphic designer to create a Facebook Ad to get signups to your email list. Rather than just saying, “We need this ad and this is what we want it to look like,” you could share your goal: “With this design, we want to get 100 new engaged email subscribers interested in ____.”

Provide context and purpose. This promotes clarity. 

Another nice-to-have is examples. Providing examples of what you are looking for is an excellent way to make sure your freelancer is clear about what you want. You can use past projects or templates from your own company or share inspiration from a company similar to yours. 

Bonus Tips:

  • Keep the language simple (no company jargon)
  • Make the brief easy to read (bullet points, visuals, paragraphs)
  • Paint a picture of your desired outcome

To Get Quality Work, Create A Quality Brief

Getting quality work from your hired freelancers starts with creating a quality brief. Make sure your instructions are clear and boundaries straightforward. Declare your “why” and provide examples of your desired outcome. 

Make the brief easy to read by using simple language and breaking up large paragraphs with visuals and bullet points. Implement these tips and you will have writers who want to work with you and give you their best on a consistent basis.