Content Quality vs. Creative Freedom: How To Brief Your Influencer

Photo credit: Dylan Gillis

There are some who still believe that to create an influencer-driven marketing campaign, they must submit to handing over their business’ voice to an outsider in the hope that they will deliver the right message about their brand. In this week’s post, we’re here to tell you that not only is that a totally false assumption, but that the most successful and satisfying collaborations tend to involve clear and concise communication about what is expected from the very beginning.

In saying this, the best results also stem from having faith in your chosen ambassador and their creative freedom, so it’s important that you not run the risk of micromanagement. To ensure that brands and influencers are on the same page for the duration of a campaign, it’s important that influencers are briefed effectively, with any targets, specific requests, and restrictions outlined from the beginning. Below, we’ll explain to you how to nail your brief so that you can achieve the results you want yet still commission unique, creative and relatable content that surprises both you and your customers for the better.


1. Identify Your Message And Goals

To best communicate these tips to you, let’s imagine that you are an up-and-coming sustainable fashion label based in Berlin, and you are about to launch a new collection of clothing that uses ethically-sourced materials and employs local designers and manufacturers. You are hoping to communicate this launch to a new audience in a number of other German cities and have decided to seek the help of influencers to do this. 

Firstly, you need to understand what message it is that you are trying to send. In this case, as sustainability and local production is a foundational principle of your ethics and practices, you would want to communicate this in your content. You also want to show your audience that you have a new collection that is due to be released. So already, we see that your message is to tell a unique story about your brand, while your goal is to build awareness. It is also likely that you want to boost sales. 

From here, you can then understand what key performance indicators (KPIs) you will be using to gauge your success. In the case of awareness, you will be looking at the impressions as well as the engagement generated from content featuring your products, and perhaps even the Share of Voice that a campaign-specific hashtag is attaining. Understanding your message and goals is essential to the influencer campaign process, and without it, it will be impossible to measure your success. 


2. Understand Your Audience

Before you continue, it’s worth taking the time to realize if there is anything about your brand that may either entice or marginalize any users. For example, while it is likely that you will appeal to the growing market of sustainability-focused customers, are the designs of your clothing more likely to attract a female 16-25 demographic or a male 25-35 market? Are there slogans or images on your clothing that could be controversial and are likely to cause a backlash with certain followers?

By understanding the audience you wish to pursue, you can ensure that you can access them with the help of an ambassador who has a proven ability to communicate with them in an honest way.


3. Create a Mood Board

Just because you are employing someone else for their creativity, this doesn’t mean that your ideas about how you want your products to be displayed or styled are invalid. Take some time to collect images of other brand’s campaigns that have inspired you, or even screenshots from films, music videos or television shows that possess an atmosphere or mood you would love to express. It’s also worth thinking of what kind of environments you would like to have your products displayed in. If you save a collection of images, you will then be able to share these as Inspirational Materials section if you use Collabary’s Campaign Manager tool, which we will go in to shortly.

Keep in mind that this should always be for inspiration only and that you should never expect your ambassadors to create extremely specific or unrealistic content – unless they have proven an ability to do so. If you request that an influencer replicate your strict creative demands, you are likely to alienate them and stifle their creativity. At the end of the day, a brief is worth nothing if your influencer feels too restricted. Express your ideas and mood, but learn to take a step back in the process to a certain degree.


4. Creating The Campaign


Now that you have a clear understanding of what your message is, what your goals are and some ideas on how to execute this, it’s time to start creating your campaign. Collabary’s Campaign Manager tool allows you to build your campaign from the ground up. 

First, name your campaign, and add your budget.


Then, select your campaign time frame. Add some background about your brand and the message you want to portray, as well as any goals that you want to achieve with your campaign as outlined in steps one and two above. You don’t have to be too specific here, this will come later.

In the following section add your do’s and don’ts. This is your opportunity to list your specific requests about what you want to see in the content and things you expressly want to avoid. Again, while it’s great to be specific here – don’t go overboard in suggesting things that may limit your influencer’s creativity.


In the inspirational material section, add images from your mood board, then add members of your brand’s team that you wish to help you in your influencer selection process.


Once you have saved this, you can then use Collabary’s Discovery too to search for influencers that you wish to approach. You can filter your searches based on content categories such as fitness or fashion; the social media platforms you want to target; the size of an influencer’s audience and their audience demographics including age, sex, and location; and even the tone of their content. 

In the case of the sustainability brand, you could select your category as being fashion, then add the keyword ‘sustainability’ before limiting your country of search to Germany. You may want to toggle the size of their follower count depending on your budgetary restrictions. From here, you will be able to see a list of influencers and their engagement rates, prices, demographics and much much more. Keep going through and add any influencers that suit your needs to your shortlists.


4. Make Your Offer

Once you have shortlisted your desired influencers, you can use the Campaign Manager to contact each of them and explain what it is you are looking for. This is where you need to be very specific. Specify your deliverables – for example, three Instagram stories including your products with your brand page tagged and three feed posts including a unique hashtag, all spaced out in one-week intervals for a specific three-week period.


You may want to add links to landing pages or voucher codes included. Feel free to list what items you want to be featured in what posts and when exactly you want these to go live. These influencers will be able to see your campaign and form a better understanding of who you are and what you are after and be able to accept or deny your offer. 


5. Elaborate Further

So you’ve found influencers who’ve accepted the collaboration. In the lead up to and during the campaign, all communications can be made through the Campaign Manager to ensure that there is always an understanding between both parties.


We suggest you voice any other specific concerns before they begin the content creation stage. It may also be important to include a warning that all content that they submit will need to be approved based on whether or not they have met your brief and feedback rounds may be requested.

This is important for your own peace of mind, as you also deserve to receive what it is you have asked for. If your collaborator has clearly ignored a very specific request of yours, it is important that you feel comfortable asking for the issue to be rectified and that the influencer is not caught off guard by being requested to do so. However, we would like to differentiate that while being clear about what it is you expect and what you want to see and not see is very valuable, being specific about the minute details of the creative execution is likely to jeopardize your relationship. If the influencer has met your brief and you personally don’t like what has been created, this may not give you the right to ask for a re-do.

In saying this, let us point out that if you have followed our advice, this is highly unlikely. You probably chose your collaborator/s for two reasons: 

• you liked what they have achieved with their creativity in the past and 

• they delivered results. 

During the campaign, express your excitement, send praise and constructive feedback, be flexible and open to new ideas – just don’t pester! 


What’s Next?

If you are interested in perfecting every aspect of your influencer marketing campaign, including the brief, please get in touch with us at We have a whole team of experts that would love to hear from you!