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The dos and don’ts of writing an influencer brief


By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

June 20, 2024 | 8 min read

Everything you need to know when briefing a content creator, from the presentation, the format, length and contract type.

Influencer in front of a camera and flash light

Everything you need to know when briefing a content creator / Pexels

Writing a brief for an influencer requires an entirely different approach from other briefs. They should inspire an influencer, not overwhelm them with information and rules.

We asked experts in the influencer marketing space for their tips on how to properly brief an influencer and, crucially, asked them what marketers should avoid doing.

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Imogen Coles, managing partner and UK head of influence, Ogilvy: “There are three essentials to writing an influencer brief. Firstly, it’s about inspiration, not a company history. Remember that you’re trying to inspire creativity; you’re not trying to list out everything your company has ever stood for because the influencer doesn’t care.

“Secondly, user friendly is everything, so you need to remember that an influence of brief is often being used during the moment of production – design your brief like a Pokemon card.

“Thirdly, freedom within a framework. You need to allow the influencers to interpret your brief in their own personality; otherwise, why work with an influencer anyway.”

Chris Spearman, head of delivery, Fourth Floor: “Always watch and understand the channel before you write your brief. Understand how the creator and the audience will work in conjunction with your requirements to make content that has shared value for all sides. Briefs should be part of a collaborative process, understanding that the creator knows their audience and content best. Sticking too rigidly to brand guidelines risks undermining the success of the campaign by placing the creator in an inauthentic position.”

Holly Jackson, global director of professional services, Traackr: “Clearly lay out the details of the campaign: is it organic/gifted or sponsored? What are the usage rights of the content created? When should drafts be submitted, edits confirmed and content live? Which platforms should they post on, are there any specific links, social tags or messaging to include?

“Try sharing a mood board to help share your creative vision, highlight some of their past content that you love that you feel could work well in your campaign or share general messaging guidelines to help get their creative juices flowing.”

Quentin Bordage, founder and chief executive officer, Kolsquare: “Adhering to legal constraints becomes more and more crucial for influencer marketers these days as a lot of countries are introducing specific laws and frameworks. A template helps ensure that all influencer activities are clearly outlined with respect to legal requirements, highlighting the necessity of declaring paid partnerships. This not only aligns with global compliance standards but also fosters trust among consumers, positioning influencers as credible agents of change.”

How to brief each tier of creator

Jamie Ray, founder and chief executive officer, Buttermilk: “The role of each tier of creator is nuanced: VIP, mega and macro creators tend to be more about big splash moments, mass reach and mass awareness; they also tend to be more expensive so that the brand messaging can be more mandated here.

“Lower tiers, such as mid and nano, benefit from being more connected and engaged with culture and their communities, so they should be given more creative freedom. It should be about inspiring them rather than telling them what content to make."

What to avoid when briefing influencers?

Lucy Robertson, head of brand marketing, Seen Connects: “Make sure you ditch the script. It might be tempting to be too prescriptive when briefing key messaging or USPs, but ultimately, if you’ve chosen to partner with a creator, there needs to be a level of trust that their content will hit the mark when done in a way that feels true to them. Remember, they know what their audience will interact with better than anyone, so pass on a few key points, but keep it light touch. The phrase ‘let creators create’ exists for a reason.”

Vik Khagram, head of influence, Ketchum: “Long and lengthy briefs. I have spoken to many agents and agencies and a lot of them will strip the brief right back before giving it to their influencers. A 15-slide document filled with unnecessary jargon and overly branded words is a recipe for disaster. Briefs should be informative but also casual and fun for the influencer to be able to take the key points and turn them into their own. Brands need to learn to let go and we, as marketers, need to push brands to be more brave and give more freedom to the creator.”

Imogen Coles, managing partner and UK head of influence, Ogilvy: “Don’t change the brief after you’ve briefed them. For example, if you want them to include something else, they can’t just reshoot that one sentence; they need to reshoot the whole piece of content. Understand that that often incurs an additional cost, which is only fair because they’re reshooting for you.

“Don’t provide a brief if you aren’t paying them. If it’s a gifted piece of work, don’t over-brief somebody or expect content.”

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How to write an influencer contract

Mark Bassett, vice-president of creator integrations, BenLabs: “When we talk about the briefing and contracting phases, it’s crucial to understand that they serve distinct purposes and need to be treated as separate steps in our collaboration process. Following the briefing, the contracting phase cements the terms discussed. Contracts are not just formalities; they are fundamental to ensuring both parties, the creators and the brand, are protected. This phase locks in deliverables, timelines, compensation and legal protections.

“It’s crucial that the contract clearly outlines the expectations and responsibilities of both parties. This not only protects everyone involved but also ensures that both the creator and the brand are aligned on what’s expected, minimizing the potential for misunderstandings.”

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