Supercharge your content with a killer creative brief

Posted: June 27, 2017 in Uncategorized
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There were 72 million news articles written in 2016, according to Google News. And the volume is growing: 18.4 million stories were published in the first quarter of this year already.

It’s known by many names: content shockwave, glut, squeeze, tsunami — the over-saturation of material competing for views and clicks. Throw in today’s machine-generated content and shorter-than-ever attention spans and the challenge to stand out and be heard becomes self-evident.

If you’re a marketer today, you’re also a publisher. You’re the medium as well as the message. So how do you deliver relevant messaging that doesn’t get drowned out by today’s content deluge? The good news: there are time-tested ways of going about it.

A case in point: The creative brief has stood the test of time, having been a mainstay of marketing for generations. But never has it been more critical to successful communications than in today’s deafening environment. Crafted properly, the creative brief can guide the development of highly nuanced content that targets intended audiences with laser-like precision that can capture a fleeting viewership.

You know a great creative brief when you see it because it reveals a high-definition profile of the buyer, or the customer persona, at the right stage in the buying process.

Recently, a client of ours in the cyber-security industry, GuardiCore, wanted to reach three distinct types of buyers within the same target company — the business decision maker (BDM), the technical decision maker (TDM) and the technical influencer (TI). The brief we used carefully delineated each role in the buying process, including job function and title depending on company size.

Below, the descriptions of each of these functional personas was used as the basis for writing blog posts, case studies, FAQs, white papers, use cases and more. The more finely-drawn profile of your reader, the more finely tuned (read: useful) you can make your content.

BDM: Aligns the goals and objectives of the business with industry trends and requirements for security, and draws on technical teams to translate the broader business requirements into technical requirements. In a medium-size enterprise (250-1000 employees), they are CIOs or VPs of info security. In organizations with headcounts of more than 1,000, they are CISO, chief security officer or VP cloud network security.

TDM (target buyer): Translates the business requirements into security requirements, leads/drives designing, testing, implementing and maintaining systems, and partners with manufacturers and services providers. Typical title: manager or director of IT security.

TI: Performs the technical evaluation of systems/solutions and advises/guides the TDM with specific input. May be known as a security administrator in a medium-size company; in a large enterprise may carry title of security architect/engineer, security administrator or security operations director.

Keep in mind that each stage of the buyer’s journey calls for a slightly different slant. At the awareness stage, your target is gathering basic information. This means that videos, blogs, eBooks and “Questions to Ask Vendors” serve the best educational purposes.

At the consideration stage, you’re moving into territory where it’s appropriate to present your business and/or technical case for consideration. Webinars, case studies FAQs, whitepapers and third-party reviews are appropriate tools at this stage.

Buyers who’ve reached the decision stage are prime for a free trial, ROI analysis, demos, and consultations leading to estimates and quotes.

By pre-defining your intended audience with this level of granularity, your writers, producers, videographers and creative directors can tailor their respective content initiatives with greater efficiency that delivers optimum results.

Another way to look at the marketing challenge in a world awash in content is to remember the old science and engineering measure of the signal-to-noise ratio: you strive for a desired signal level to overcome the background noise. It so happens that a great creative brief is key to sending audible marketing signals in a noisy world.

So before your next foray into content marketing, start with an audience profile informed by a killer creative brief.

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