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The Art of the Influencer Brief

Geo West
March 3, 2021

Everyone knows that the best work follows a strong brief, yet still many brands and influencers find themselves frustrated with miscommunication, misunderstanding and misjudgment when it comes to delivering on a campaign together. Here are the main points to consider when crafting your brief for an influencer partner, to ensure amazing, impactful content with no nasty surprises!

The basics of any brief are the when, where, what, why, how, and these should be agreed in advance of contracts being signed so that expectations of the partnership have been mutually agreed, way before you get to the briefing phase. 

- When do you need the content to go live? - work with the influencer to understand their audience’s most active days and times to ensure the best engagement possible. 

- Where do you see the deliverables being posted? - listen to the influencer’s guidance on which channels are currently performing best for them in your product category. 

- What is the product, its benefits, and the key message of the campaign? - a few sentences is more than enough. Avoid lengthy press releases and product origin essays.

- Why should the customer care? - is the product brand new, do you have a limited offer on? Campaigns with enticing incentives see much greater returns.

- How does the influencer’s audience participate? - provide a clear call to action to drive the customer through the purchasing funnel.

You are the client, not the director

A common misstep in influencer briefs is brands overprescribing the creative output they are expecting. Remember that you have chosen to hire this influencer because they are the expert in creating content, and know their audience (and what engages them) better than anyone. Every influencer and their audience relationship is unique, so what has worked in the past on other partnerships isn’t guaranteed to perform in the same way with this one. Take the time to listen to your influencer’s insight and expertise and craft your brief around this. 

You are the product/launch expert, and it is this expertise which should be shared in the brief. 

Include: concise information about the product and how to use it

  • What are the key ingredients/actives/features and why are they important? 
  • How should the product be used/demonstrated - e.g. “Mask should be left on for 10 minutes before rinsing”, or “Ensure all protective covers are removed before switching device on”

Don’t include: creative production dictation

  • A storyboard, or a frame-by-frame shotlist 
  • A script beyond brief key messaging and product details
  • Direction on setting, background, sound, wardrobe etc. 

The most powerful brand partnerships are a result of collaboration where the influencer has been trusted to play to their strengths. In short, if you want to have detailed creative control over the content, then you should be producing it yourself instead of calling upon the services of an influencer (but remember, it’s been proven time and time again that influencer content outperforms brand content, so your budgets are far better placed in the hands of influencers).

Avoiding legal hot water

The chances are that you’ve come across product claims regulations through your other marketing channels, and they are equally important where influencer marketing is concerned. Claims guidance will be one of the most vital elements of your brief if you are to protect your brand and the influencer from legal trouble or credibility threat. 

Make sure your claims guidance includes:

  • Phrases to avoid in your product category, e.g. “avoid direct claims to results such as my hair is longer and healthier and instead use evocative terms such as feels and looks healthier
  • Information about relevant restricted categories in your geographical market, such as prescription medicine guidelines, alcohol consumption regulations, gambling restrictions etc.
  • Relevant examples of responsible portrayal of your product, for example false lashes should be foregone in content which promotes mascara
  • Advice on correct disclaimers, if possible using a pre-approved disclosure statement from your local advertising standards body. E.g. “All posts must contain the following caption Please enjoy responsibly, and check out www.exampledrinkguidelines.org for more information” 

You are the expert in what is and isn’t safe to say about your product in an advertising capacity, so share as much information on this as you can within the brief to protect both parties from legal liability.

One clear call-to-action (CTA)

It sounds obvious but this is where a lot of brands tend to overcomplicate briefs leaving both the influencer and their followers confused. Too many CTAs dilute the campaign’s effectiveness as the influencer attempts to include them all in their content and audiences aren’t sure what is expected of them. 

  • Start with your objective. Is it to build anticipation for an impending launch? To increase your social audience? To drive traffic to your product page? Your one call to action should be crafted in a direct response to your campaign KPIs ( in this case; link to data form, tag through to brand channel, swipe up to shop, respectively)
  • Include a relevant incentive to help drive that KPI, ensuring all terms are super clear e.g. 50% off for the first 100 sign ups, or 20% for first time customers until the end of September 2021
  • Provide the influencer with the resource they need in order to display the CTA, whether that’s a link, discount code or profile handle  

To achieve the results you want from a campaign you need to first decide what it is that you actually want to achieve, then ensure you are arming your influencer with the detail they need to bring that to life.

By keeping your briefs brief you ensure that nothing important is missed, and by collaborating with your influencer instead of dictating to them, your campaign stands the strongest chance of success. 

 Make sure to register for our Art of The Influencer Brief webinar on 3/17!

 Want more? I offer in depth training videos on topics like this one, including navigating the industry regulations and crafting watertight contracts, on my website happycat.agency/courses

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