The Art of the Content Brief – Part Two: How Writers Can Follow a Detailed Brief

Any travel content writer with even a little experience will attest that a clear, detailed and unambiguous client brief is hugely appreciated. After all, it makes the writer’s job so much easier. The more you can know about the wants, needs, goals and preferences of a client, the easier it is to write content that meets – and ideally exceeds – their expectations. Clients and editors expect writers to know their requirements inside out, and having this information written in black and white – and available for repeated reference throughout the writing process – is a huge help.

Yet, just as important as having a good client brief, is knowing how to follow it effectively. At World Words, we have a wealth of experience in both following client briefs and creating our own editorial briefs for writers, so we know how to make the process as straightforward as possible. From reading the brief again and again – and again! – to making sure you take style guides seriously, here are our top tips for following a travel content brief to the letter…

(This is part two of our mini series on a travel briefs. Last month, we offered advice on how to write a great brief).

Man writing outdoors

Receiving a long and detailed brief from a client can sometimes feel a little intimidating. But trust us – it’s a good thing. The more you know about the wants and needs of your clients, the more likely you will deliver work they’re satisfied with first time. Providing you know how to follow a brief, that is. Here are our top five brief-following tips.

Read, read and read again
The most useful thing a writer can do when faced with a new brief is quite simple: read it. Ideally multiple times. As you go through it, highlight any points you think might be likely to slip your mind during the writing process. Once you’ve written the content, read it again to make sure you have included all of the points requested by the client.

Look beyond the brief
Clients are generally not writers. If they were, they wouldn’t be hiring you. So bear in mind that the brief may not outline all their ideas and objectives perfectly. Use some critical thinking to consider what the client is trying to achieve and how the content will be used. Keeping this in mind will give your writing a real sense of purpose.

Know thyself
It’s not always easy to switch off your own stylistic quirks, but as a travel writer you may often end up writing to a brief that requires precisely that. The key is to be hyper-aware of your own writing idiosyncrasies. If some of your favourite phrases would be out of place in the kind of content requested in the brief, be vigilant to prevent them creeping into your writing. You can even do a search for specific words or phrases once you’ve finished writing.

People with map and laptop

Take style guides seriously
A company style guide can be every bit as important as the brief itself when it comes to meeting the client’s expectations. Before you begin, read the style guide through at least once and make a note of any preferred spellings or style requirements that wouldn’t be instinctive to you. If you know in advance where you’re most likely to trip up, it will make your final proofreading that much simpler.

Learn from others
If links to examples of existing work have been included in the brief, follow them very carefully. In cases where a complex content structure is involved, you might find it easiest to open one of the provided examples in Word and just type your new piece over the top of it. That way, you know you’re delivering work in a format the client knows.

Want to find out more about producing great travel content? Check out the other posts in our travel writing advice section. Or else keep up to date with our latest tips and tricks by following World Words on Twitter.

A version of this article was originally published in December 2017 on the World Words site. Read the original.

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