FUSE FRIDAYS: An ode (rant) to a brief

And so it’s my turn to write a “FUSE Fridays” article. It’s a great little exercise that each member of the team contributes to but I confess that my struggle to find a topic to match such a broad brief usually leads to procrastination, frustration and a missed deadline (as I write this, it’s already a day overdue).

Content-wise, there’s just so much out there and being a Content Strategist means that A) I’m reminded of this constantly and B) I absolutely loathe content for content’s sake.

Just yesterday, for instance, I was reminded that every minute, YouTube users upload 300 hours of new content. Every. Minute. Does that mean anything to anyone? Yes. It means that I can’t possibly write about anything that hasn’t already been covered a million times nor share an opinion that hasn’t already been voiced ad nauseam.

This isn’t a great realization to have when you’re already past deadline.

So I’ve decided to dedicate the last 150 or so words of this article to the art of briefing. A good brief is something very near and dear to my heart (my old boss in New York wouldn’t even talk to some people unless they had given her a brief first. So bad ass.) But it’s also a dying art form and losing popularity in this go-go-go, I-needed-that-yesterday culture.

I decided to pay homage in the form of an ‘Ode to the Brief.’ But then I looked up what an ode is exactly: ‘…An elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual…’

Um.

Well I certainly would like to praise and glorify briefs. Check. But by way of an elaborately structured poem? Maybe not.

So instead of an eloquent, elegant ode, I’ll just use my last 100 or so words to rant away like a drunk uncle at a child’s 1st birthday party.

Briefs, in my opinion, are far and away the singular most important part of any project or campaign. Writing and presenting someone with a solid brief is like directly handing them the keys to your own happiness. Or conversely, by not prescribing to someone what would achieve your goals, you are metaphorically putting them in a car in the middle of nowhere without a map, phone or final destination. They will be lost forever to die alone in a vast wilderness of business objectives and target audiences… or worse… give you some slides for your preso that just aren’t very good.

So please, please, friends, colleagues, countrymen… take time to brief. Think about what you want from the person you’re briefing. Ask them if they have a briefing template you could fill out for them. Think about what information you would want if you were the recipient. Think of the briefing document as the what-would-make-me-happier-and-make-my-job-easier document.

The world will be a better place, I promise. OK, rant over.

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