“Brief (verb): to instruct or inform thoroughly, especially in advance.”
THE CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY
Note the words ‘thoroughly’ and ‘in advance’!
A piece of copy or a piece of writing is only as good as its brief. In general, the more time spent getting the brief right, the better the job will be. You wouldn’t paint a wall that’s full of cracks; you’d have to prepare the surface properly or you might as well not bother.
The same applies to copy. What sort of communication is it? Who are you talking to? Why? What do you want them to do? One of the fatal mistakes is to try to talk to too many different targets at once. In my experience, it never works.
Some clients want to be involved at all stages, others are happy to let the writer get on with it. Teamwork simply means a good brief, as much information as you can possibly offer, including site visits if necessary and a clear understanding of how you’re going to tackle the job.
Here are three case histories that were well briefed, each of which resulted in a job well done and happy, satisfied clients. Click on each one to view.
“He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.”
THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK. LEWIS CARROLL
See what happens when the brief isn’t clear!