How to write an influencer creative brief [checklist]

How to write an influencer creative brief. Start an influencer partnership off on a the right track with a set of guardrails which harness the best of structure and creativity.

As a marketer by the time you arrive at the stage of sharing your influencer creative brief you will have already have identified, vetted and selected your influencer through a data-driven process. You will already have undertaken actions to ensure:

Demographics:- The influencer’s audience maps on to your brand’s target audience in terms of age, gender, and where they are located in the world.

Engagement:- The engagement ratio between the selected influencer’s past branded and non-branded content has been analysed. Their sponsored content generates acceptable engagement levels for the purposes of your campaign.

READ: Influencer pricing: size over substance?

Content themes:- Best-performing themes for branded content have been identified. For example if your brand manufactures shoes make sure you’ve identified an influencer who can generate acceptable engagement rates which focus on shoes.

Selecting a fashion-industry influencer with a track record of generating high engagement rates when she produces images which focus on bags rather than on a pair of shoes won’t work, for instance.

Benchmarking:- The engagement rate of each of the selected influencer’s past branded and non-branded content has been analysed and outperforms fellow influencers in your industry vertical.

READ: How to build influencer marketing measurement best practice

You should feel confident having completed this data-driven process that you have identified the most appropriate influencer for your campaign. Have faith in your decision. Don’t give the influencer a script. Guidance is not the same as control. You need to be able to provide your influencer with a series of guardrails in order to get the most from the business growth partnership.

Be open-minded to feedback. Be prepared to tinker with some of elements of the creative brief following a creative briefing session with your influencer.

Here we have identified a checklist of 16 areas to consider when drafting an effective influencer creative brief.

Influencer creative brief 16 point checklist

General Overview

Provide the selected influencer with a concise overview of what your brand produces and what it stands for. Describe what position your brand occupies within the market.

Include links to your website and any other helpful collateral including corporate values and your mission statement. Include anything that would help your target creator to better understand you and your company..

Don’t fill the brief with marketing jargon. Don’t assume the influencer will understand any of your company acronyms or marketing speak. Write colloquially. Make the language accessible. Use the same language and tone that your audience will understand and act upon.

1) Influencer partnership context

Move from general scene-setting now to a high-level description covering the influencer partnership details. Equipping influencers upfront with a clear description of how they fit into this campaign goes a long way towards generating the best possible results.

 

Is this influencer initiative a stand-alone element or part of an integrated communications program? If the latter, what else is involved – Advertising? Media relations. Live event? Capture and share the information here in the influencer creative brief.

Answer succinctly questions such as:

  • Is the campaign about a particular product, service, or the brand in general?

  • Is payment a flat fee, payment in kind (i.e. complementary product or experience) or performance related?

  • Is it a social media campaign, an event or something else?

2) Campaign goals

Include the high-level campaign goal in this section of the influencer creative brief. Don’t get bogged down in the detail here. Sketch an outline of what the brand is aiming to achieve.

Is the goal to build brand awareness? Drive more sales? Nudge people into downloading an app? Prompting them to search for more information about a product?

3) Success criteria

Describe what success looks like from your brand’s point of view. Outline how you will measure the success of the campaign.

What data will you need from the influencer to help measure this success? Do you need to access any of their private data for numbers around impressions, engagements or perhaps Instagram Stories data? Always be upfront when outlining what you need in the reporting phase.

4) Creative style guide

Make sure the influencer can take away a unifying theme to ensure they stay on brand. Include pointers on colour, shooting style, mood, and personality.

Share examples of the creative look-and-feel of the post you have in mind. Be open to feedback, though remember these creators understand what resonates the most with their audience.

You do not want to limit the influencer and their creative freedom. However, it is a good idea to set some brief guidelines around the content theme and style you are after to ensure what is delivered aligns with your brand and vision.

You will know the influencer’s style of content before you get to this stage. You will have gone through a data-driven process of influencer identification, vetting and selection. But it is still a good idea to have it in writing to give them some direction.

5) Platforms and channels

Where will the sponsored content be published? YouTube? Twitter? Instagram?

Whose channel will the content be uploaded to? The influencer’s own channel? The brands? Both? Make sure you capture these points in your influencer creative brief.

6) Key messages

The aim isn’t to provide a script. That will usually result in stilted, inauthentic content which will fail to generate decent engagement rates with the target audience. Outlining key messages, however, help influencers include all the right talking points in sponsored content.

Is your brand newly launched? Is it easy to pronounce? Make sure the influencer knows how to pronounce it correctly and that she mentions the brand name in the sponsored YouTube video.

7) Campaign hashtags

Are there any campaign-specific hashtags? Is it optional for the influencer to use them or are they required? Be specific.

8) Social media handles

Some brands have multiple social media account profiles. Listing the specific accounts to be used in the campaign ensures the correct tag for each network. i.e. "mention us @handle in each post and tag us, too".

9) Call to action

What is the CTA for each piece of content? Again, be specific and capture it in your influencer creative brief.

10) Hyperlinks

Will the sponsored content include hyperlinks to other content? Do you want the viewer to visit product pages, or brand sites? If so make sure you include the links here. Consider using Bit.ly so as to record success rates of click throughs.

11) Location specific

Armed with the data analysed during the planning phase you will know, for instance, in the parenting vertical Instagram posts taken in the bedroom outperform those shot in the living room. Give the influencer an idea of locations you'd like them to shoot the post at that maximise engagement.

12) Incorporating brand colour palette

Are you keen to bring your brand’s colour palette into its sponsored content? Whether for background colours, graphics or what the influencers wear, if it’s important to you, capture it in the brief.

13) Disclosure

Ensure you remind the influencer of their responsibility to disclose. Give them information about disclosure guidelines relevant to the jurisdiction the campaign will run in.

14) Timings

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Outline key dates and deliverables in advance. Influencers need an accurate sense for when to start production and a timeline so they won’t double book. Are there any specific filming days which need to be agreed? Perhaps you’ve lined up an interviewee for a particular date? Maybe the interview needs to attend a concert or other event for the campaign. Include these times and dates.

Is there a need for an update meeting or call? Agree the times upfront for this too.

Are you co-ordinating this influencer campaign as part of a wider integrated communications program? When does the content need to be produced by?

Is there an approval process? If so, how long will the client approval stage take?

When is the go-live date? Is it a single day or is it to be staggered with several posts falling on separate days? Whatever the decision, capture the information here in this part of the influencer creative brief.

15) Deliverables

This is where you define the deliverables that have been agreed upon, as well as the expectations surrounding them, such as deadlines and due dates.

Get creative with your campaign deliverables and discuss the options with the influencer prior to putting together the final agreement. Influencers will often have some creative content ideas based on knowing their audience profiles intimately.

Provide ideal video length, what the video should cover, and what channels it should appear in. Will you have input into the thumbnail image accompanying the YouTube video? How about the content describing the video?

16) No-go areas

Describe any elements that are off limits for the influencer partnership. This section might include swearing, mentioning competitors, drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes during the video (if you represent a family-oriented brand).

Completing the influencer creative brief phase

The influencer creative brief is a document which informs and guides the relationship between a brand and influencer. It provides guardrails as opposed to a set of straightjacket rules.

At the end of this phase both you and the influencer will be able to operate an influencer campaign based on a document which captures both the flow & creative look of the influencer’s content. It should be a document which benefits from the consistency of a structure but which includes the influencer’s creative flair.


CampaignDeus is the leading independent provider of influencer marketing campaign data for Instagram and YouTube. Our platform identifies and classifies brand sponsored influencer campaign performance metrics, tracking hundreds of thousands of posts.

We use this data to provide Brands & Agencies with industry insights across verticals, benchmark campaigns against vertical & competitor averages, and equip clients with in-depth reporting and recommendations on how to make campaigns more effective. Get in touch for more details. 


Scott Guthrie works with companies to drive business growth in the social age through strategic insight and technical know-how. A former digital director of influencer relations at Ketchum, Scott is now an advisor at CampaignDeus. You can find Scott on LinkedIn and Twitter, or on his blog.