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What is a Creative Brief in Affiliate Content Marketing?

As someone creating affiliate marketing content, it’s essential to kick off each project by crafting a creative brief. This document serves as a roadmap for your content production journey. A well-crafted creative brief is pivotal in aligning your creative team and client’s visions, providing clear guidance on every aspect of the project.

Utilizing a creative brief significantly enhances your chances of reaching your objectives and meeting your client’s expectations.

So, Why Is a Content Brief So Crucial in Content Marketing?

A creative brief is like a blueprint for your creative campaign. It covers your project’s who, what, when, where, and how, breaking down your affiliate marketing strategy into manageable pieces. This saves time and makes collaboration smoother for everyone on your team.

The beauty of a well-crafted creative brief is that it cuts down on the endless back-and-forth conversations that happen when the client is confused about what they want. Instead of constantly clarifying goals, you can focus on executing the vision. Plus, keeping the client in the loop throughout the process ensures they know your steps to meet their expectations.

Let’s discuss why you need it before we tell you what goes into a creative brief.

Why Do I Need a Creative Brief?

Would you go on a treasure hunt without a map or, at the very least, clues? No. The same is true with a creative brief. Starting a creative project without a brief will only lead to you wasting time wandering around aimlessly as you try to understand the client’s expectations.

Once you know how to use a creative brief, you’ll understand why it’s an essential tool for working with clients. A good content brief should help you:

1. Define Expectations

Crafting a content brief upfront is vital to grasping the client’s vision and aligning expectations. It’s a chance to delve into their needs and aspirations, fostering clarity and setting clear affiliate marketing objectives.

A well-executed creative brief safeguard against potential dissatisfaction, ensuring everyone is synchronized. It serves as a roadmap, guiding your team toward shared goals and understanding their role in achieving them.

Read Also: Developing a Time-Saving Affiliate Marketing Blog Editorial Calendar

Picture this: you’re knee-deep in a project when suddenly the client throws a curveball, suggesting a website redesign alongside social media revamping. Without a concise brief, you’re left to navigate the murky waters of cost and client satisfaction on your own.

But fear not! With a thorough brief in hand, navigating such situations becomes a breeze. You can easily reference the agreed-upon deliverables and negotiate additional costs for any extra requests, keeping both parties satisfied and the project on track.

2. Lay out Your Timeline

In addition to helping you manage expectations, your brief is an excellent time-management tool that lays out what needs to be done and when a content brief keeps you on track and helps you meet your affiliate marketing goals.

Including a timeline in your content brief helps your clients understand what is needed from them and when you need it. It saves you from going in circles trying to clarify things with the client in the future. This makes it easy for you to meet your overall targets.

3. Give an Overview of the Project

Your brief serves as a crucial guide for your creative team, outlining all the project’s requirements. It’s a valuable resource that empowers your team to dive into brainstorming and planning and kickstart the creative process without delay.

4. Keeps You Organized

You can plan better once you have an overview of the project with all the required deliverables. Moreover, having an outline of everything that needs to be done will help people feel less overwhelmed by the project’s immensity.

5. Match the Client’s Budget to Your Ability

As you’re putting together all the details in your creative brief, it’s essential to consider whether the client’s budget aligns with your proposed strategy. Conversely, you might find it valuable to leverage your strategy layout to demonstrate to the client why a budget increase is necessary.

6. Refine the Quality of Your Finished Product

As we have discussed, a brief helps you understand the client’s vision and work efficiently with your team. Ultimately, if you use a creative brief correctly, the quality of your final product will satisfy the client’s original expectations.

Who Makes a Creative Brief?

Someone on your team should fill in this document with the client to understand client expectations. Failure to do so could result in the following:

  • The client misunderstood the brief.
  • The client fills in confusing information.
  • The client is giving up and leaving you with a blank document and a confused team.

Ideally, your account manager should review this document with the client. However, getting input from the creative director and everyone on your affiliate marketing team is also essential. By doing this, you can be sure everyone understands the contents of your brief.

What Should I Put in My Creative Brief?

1) Company Background

Outlining your client’s background and purpose is the first and most crucial step. You can’t complete your project if you don’t know the brand you’re working for and its values.

To understand the brand, you must discover who they are and what they do.

2) Campaign Objectives

To satisfy your client, you need to define the problem they’re trying to solve. Do they want to increase sales? Grow their social media channels? Increase traffic to their affiliate marketing website?

While working through this section, this is an excellent place to ensure your client has developed some SMART goals.

3) KPIs

If you have identified SMART goals, then Key Performance Indicators should be easy to outline. If your client wants to increase sales by $1,000 monthly, this is your measure of success. Once you nail SMART goals, knowing if your campaign is a hit or miss is straightforward.

4) Target Audience

What use is it producing content if you don’t know who you’re making it for? Understanding not only the demographics but also the psychographics of your target audience will help you produce content that they care about.

Missing the mark on your audience’s psychographics can make your campaign flop. To get this information, you should ask:

  • Who is our target audience?
  • Where do we find them?
  • What matters to them?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What do they think of this brand?
  • What do we want them to think of this brand?

These questions, especially the last two, will help you manage your client’s reputation and grow their audience. Understanding what the target audience thinks of your brand is essential to improving your brand image.

5) Deliverables With Deadlines

This is the part of your creative brief where your client will tell you exactly what they want you to do. Whether revamping their affiliate marketing website or creating a video campaign for their social media, knowing your deliverables will help you move on to the next step.

Now that you know your deliverables, it’s easy to break your project into more manageable parts and assign deadlines for each part. As previously stated, deadlines will help keep your team and client on track.

6) Key Messages

Your key messages are an extension of your target audience profile. To answer the question, “What do we want our target audience to think of this brand?” you should develop at least three key messages that will make your audience abandon your campaign.

7) Distribution Plan

The final part of your creative brief is your distribution plan. Where will you share the fruits of your labor once you’re done? What social media networks will work? Where are you likely to get the highest engagement?

Knowing where you can find your target audience will help with this. What social media platforms do they hang out on most? Where else can you find them? Will traditional marketing do the trick, or do you need digital marketing?

parts of a creative brief

Creative Brief Examples

Before we leave you to it, let’s look at some examples of the above concepts in practice. Below, you can see the Lay’s Potato Chips creative brief:

lays creative brief

Image courtesy of Idea Hall

As you can see, Lay’s has created a profile of its target audience—potato chip aficionados—and identified how they feel about potato chips. Finally, it has chosen the most crucial message it wants people to get from the campaign and outlined how the message adds personality to Lay’s brand.

Let’s compare Lay’s creative brief to the one created for the Go Girl energy drink:

ceative brief insights

Image courtesy of Alicia Collins-Saulsky

The most significant difference in this creative brief is the opportunities highlighted for the client. This is a good starting point for brainstorming with your affiliate marketing team once it’s time to get to work.

Over to You

As you can see, a creative brief is relatively easy to use and will save you from wasting time going back and forth with your client. Now that you know what is required, it’s time to transform your workflow with your creative brief.