How to Create a Kick-a** Brief for Influencers
I often find that this is one of the areas that brands have the most difficulty with. They want to partner with influencers because of a) the content they typically create and b) the relationship they have with their audience (due in large part to that content). However, they also want to ensure that their core messaging isn’t lost.
What tends to happen? The brand creates a brief that completely handcuffs the influencer’s ability to maintain that relationship with their audience or seamlessly integrate the brand into their natural conversation by turning them into parrots of the brands already bland marketing efforts OR the brand relinquishes too much control and doesn’t get anything near the results they were looking for, then pausing content being released, asking for an insane amount of revisions (hurting the relationship they were initially excited about), or pushing content live that they don’t feel comfortable with.
The solution? A well-thought out brief that allows the influencer to understand your guidelines and needs without squashing their tone. Luckily, we’ve partnered with hundreds of brands and have run the gamut on different versions of a brand brief, from the horrendous to the pristine and everything in between. We’re going to show you how to put together a simple brand brief that will have you getting the results you’re looking for over and over again. If you’ll remember when we walked through how to use influencers to grow your e-commerce business, we laid out 7 crucial steps in building your influencer brief:
Do’s (i.e. Please show the glasses while wearing a baseball cap)
Don’ts (i.e. don’t mention competitors or wear a baseball cap)
Call-outs for difficult pronunciations or areas that you know you or your team won’t approve
Discount Codes and/or Tracking links
We’re going to dig into each one a little bit more in-depth, but before doing so, allow me to offer a pro tip – be mindful of length. Given the average person’s attention span has fallen to about 8 seconds, you’ll want to ensure that you lay out all of the relevant information in an easily digestible way, but nothing more. If you can’t get across your points simply, then please revamp this until you can.
This is your opportunity to tell the user the background of your company. Your mission. Anything important about your product, your founders, industry stats, etc. If I were to do this for TalentSheets, then I’d likely say something like:
Hellooooo…. We’re TalentSheets.
Built by these two guys, TalentSheets is a suite of tools that layers on top of Google to turn your Google Drive into your own personalized influencer marketing platform… at a ridiculously low cost.
We’ve been doing influencer marketing since before it was cool. Across our careers we’ve spent over $100M with an average return of 5X for our e-commerce partners. We built TalentSheets to ensure that influencer marketing was more accessible and easier to implement for every entrepreneur and marketer on the planet – no matter their budget or where they are in their company’s life cycle.
We’re excited to partner with you and hope that our tools bring you and your audience as much success as they have us and our clients.
Humanize this. Super simple. Quick explanation. Don’t overthink it. If you’re Dollar Shave Club, you may lay out the fact that you started because you thought having a quality razor shouldn’t cost a fortune or be a nightmare to purchase or maybe you’re a brand like thirdlove and you recognized you needed half sizes and that you should have to choose between what looks good and what is comfortable to wear.
I love when brands do this in deck format (like our cover image), because their branding shines through. You'll notice that ours highlights our website colors, fonts, and imagery. This would be layered throughout continued on each slide.
Deliverables & Timeline
Spell out what you’re expecting and when you’re expecting it. If this is an instagram integration, let them know what that means, as that could vary wildly (i.e. stories, reels, IGTV, static vs. video posts, link in bio, etc.). Also, give examples of content that has been created that you love. Or if you have the ability to personalize for each influencer, give examples of content that they’ve done that you love where you think your product would be featured well. For example, if we were to do a YouTube integration (as opposed to a dedicated video), then we may lay it out like the below:
1 YT Integration - minimum 2 minute integration in the first ⅓ of the video, but not in the first 30 seconds
Content should be integrated in a way that flows with the video, not as a standalone ad read
Please ensure there is a clear call-to-action above the “show more” fold with your short links and discount codes
[Hyperlinked Example #1]
[Hyperlinked Example #2]
[Hyperlinked Example #3]
1st Draft Review Date: 6/5
Go-Live Date: 6/10
What are you trying to convey? It doesn’t matter if this is meant to be spoken in video format or as a caption for your still imagery, the talking points are going to be important because you want to give the influencers the guidelines for what your core message is and what you want to get across. Please note, this isn’t meant to be a script. This is simply a way of saying what you want them to get across. For example, a clothing brand might look like:
Please be sure to call out the fact this is a sponsored post. We find that thanking [BRAND NAME] for sponsoring and/or partnering with you works well
What was it that made you place your order? How does our product tie-in to your life and/or the broader video?
What is [BRAND NAME]?
[BRAND NAME] is the world’s leading quick-to-market apparel and lifestyle brand. They stay at the forefront of fashion by releasing new items daily in sizes ranging from 0 - 17 (XS - XL)
Please try-on all pieces we’ve shared with you and let your audience know what you love about each piece. The fit, quality, style, etc. Show off your style in the most authentic way possible.
Verbal CTA #1 during your [BRAND NAME] segment with corresponding text overlay for your followers to use your link for an extra 30% off your first order with code [CODE]
If this is a dedicated video, please move this CTA to before your try on haul
At the end of your video, include Verbal CTA #2 for your followers to go to your link for an extra 30% off your first order with code [CODE] at the end of your video
Do’s & Don’ts
You’ve laid out who you are, the deliverables, the talking points, but now we’re getting into one of the more important parts of your brief. Why? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen brands disappointed or deadlines missed for additional editing needs because there was a slight misunderstanding between what the brand thought an influencer could and couldn’t do and what the influencer thought they could and couldn’t do.
For example, some brands want competitive brands (specifically makeup clients) in the content with their product being the hero piece because it feels more like a recommendation. Examples would be in a get ready with me (GRWM) video or my makeup routine. Some brands have strict guidelines around the exclusion of competitive brands in their videos. Some brands won’t even allow talent to wear or show labels for any brands in the content. No matter your need make sure you explain this.
Another example is in the shooting style. Some brands want to make sure that the label faces out on their product in the content or that there’s a closeup something special about the bottle or that the packaging is shown. Some brands want to ensure that delivery is to the camera (like a friend speaking to a friend) while others would rather show the product in action with a voiceover. If you’re looking for something specific here, spell it out.
Lastly, if there are common misspellings, specific capitalization within your logo, or issues pronouncing certain ingredients or your brand name, make sure you call this out too. Years ago, I remember working with Aveda only to find that in our first campaign 80% of influencers were asked to reshoot certain sections of their content because they continuously mispronounced the brand name (it’s uh-vay-duh if you’re wondering).
Discount Codes & Tracking Links
We’ve come to the end (or the beginning if you prefer to have this up front). I can’t express enough how important it is to track everything you can with your influencer marketing.
Create a UTM and then shortlink (i.e. Bitly – which can be created within your Google Sheets via TalentSheets) for each piece of content. You want to be able to determine which of your partners are driving people back to your site.
Create a discount code to incentivize first time purchases, but to also better track which of your partners are driving actual sales.
Include both of these in a slide specifically for each talent.
You’ll find that there are still some gaps in the information provided (we can get into using checkout surveys and other methods of tracking in a future post), but the more data you have the better you’re going to be able to perform in the long-run. And that’s what we all want, right? To be able to have solid relationships with people who love our brands, drive results, and are fairly compensated for doing so?
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful marketing mediums available today. However, the difference between a stellar performance and a lackluster one is often only the slightest difference in expectations. Having a solid brief will set your influencers up to be as successful as possible. That’s how you both win in the end.