Perhaps Maria was on to something when she advised the Von Trapp children to “start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”
Because when we get a great idea for a new marketing campaign, it’s tempting to charge ahead without laying the right groundwork, first. The upside of jumping the gun? You’re faster off the starting line. The downside? Things are probably going to fall apart at some point—or at the very least, require a decent amount of triage to stay on track. I think you’ll agree with the cons outweigh the pros.
So before you dive in, do yourself—and your team—a favor and write up a campaign brief. It doesn’t have to be long (in fact, it shouldn’t be), but it should be comprehensive. A campaign brief is a thought exercise for you as much it is an explainer document for everyone else. It should get you thinking about what you’re doing, what you mean to achieve, and who/what you’ll need to make it happen.
Key Components of a Campaign Brief
Start your brief with a clear and concise summary of the campaign concept. Why it is important? What it is solving for?
This is the “why” of your brief. Hook that exec you need approval from with an indisputably great reason why this project is important.
If you’re having trouble, consider this framework: “Our objective is to _____ by launching _____, which will _____.”
Who is this initiative targeting? Speaking to? Enabling? What aspects of the audience’s current state/world are we looking to address?
The age-old rule of content comes out to play here: Never start a project if you don’t know who it’s for. Take your time to think carefully about your target audience. Is this the right kind of content to do the job? Is it the right subject matter? Are these the people your organization has prioritized speaking to? Your choices here will guide much of your decisions later, so take your time.
List your detailed objectives for the campaign. Be specific and focus on the actions that this campaign will drive.
Feel free to use bullet points here, and aim to keep them short and sweet. These don’t have to be as numbers-driven as your key results (see next section), but should be specific.
For example, don’t just put “increase brand awareness.” Instead, consider “Establish the credibility of [key offering] within [key industry]”.
List the specific and measurable results you are looking to drive with this campaign as a whole. These results shouldn’t be subjective. At the end of your campaign, you should be able to refer back to your results and say definitively whether each was achieved.
- Increase demand for pre-sales professional services engagements by 200%
- Increase the velocity of leads from “education” to “consideration” phase by 30%
Components and Deliverables
List critical content assets that require input from other departments to get buy-in on prioritization. This will help inform what resources (whether people, tools, or monetary) you’ll need to get the job done—and what key milestones you’ll want to track toward.
- Itemized budget for all 2023 events, tradeshows, and workshops
- Printed materials for workshops: folder, workbook, branded pens, notepads
- Customer documentary video on the journey to content operations
Outline key budget, expertise, agency, etc. resources you’ll need to execute this campaign. Get specific here so that everyone is on the same page about what they are committing to. You don’t want to get halfway through a project before realizing you never got enough budget to do the job right.
List the resources you need upfront so you’re fully prepared to execute without any surprises.
No content is produced in a vacuum. That’s why it’s imperative to get out ahead of your asks and list your major contact points for each part of the process.
This may include multiple people across many teams, or simply the name of the project lead who will own assignments and follow up on deliverables. Include roles and responsibilities, and consider including useful context when needed, such as out-of-office dates or remote conferencing needs. Host a kickoff meeting with this team to build and review this campaign brief to ensure everyone is aligned and on board.
Final Thoughts/ Next Steps
During its creation, a campaign brief should guide your thought process as you map out what your campaign will look like, who will be involved, what you need to get the job done, and what success will look like. But once it’s finished, it should be a living document that guides your work. Print it out and keep it on your desk. Have you hit the key deliverables? Are you tracking toward the same goals? If not, what’s changed? Do you need to update stakeholders? And once the project is complete, use your brief when talking to higher-ups. Show them how your campaign performed against the promises you made. If it hit the goals, use it to win bigger, better projects or more responsibilities. If it didn’t, understand why and have a clear vision for how you will correct this disconnect in the future.