Why good briefing is the secret to good content

Courgette and pistachio loaf sliced on a white plate

What do you think when you hear the words “a nice cake”? Are you imagining towering layers of vanilla sponge and white buttercream, all beautifully topped with fresh berries? Or maybe a gooey chocolate creation, with drips of sticky caramel running down the sides? Maybe you’re picturing a dense carrot cake, packed with walnuts and coated in a moreish cream cheese icing, or slices of a lemon drizzle loaf, lying temptingly on a serving platter? The point is, if you asked 10 people to describe “a nice cake”, you’d get (at least) 10 different answers. To illustrate this point, we put the question to some of the team at HCA.

Suzanne Ashley-Tagoe, Senior Producer, chose this monochromatic beauty below. She said, “I love how light and fresh this feels, the tighter crop gives this shot impact and makes me want to grab a fork and tuck into a slice.”

Black and white cherry and pomegranate cake

Account Manager Chloe Patmore loved this lime and cherry dessert and said, “This is a fun, summery one with the bright, poppy colours. I like the element of surprise inside with the different coloured layers and while this would be easy to make it’s still an impressive looking cake.”

Green and pink watermelon coloured pillar cake

And finally Lydia Bowden, Video Producer, chose this fresh-looking lemon drizzle cake and said "The propping, lighting and aperture settings for this shot make it for me. I also love lemons."

Lemon drizzle loaf on a platter surrounded by lemons

These are three "nice cakes", for sure. But they are also three completely different cakes, which leads us to our point: to ensure high quality, relevant content, the secret is in the briefing. 

How do you brief well?

Here are a few questions we could've asked to improve our brief for a photo of a "nice cake":

  • What occasion is the cake for – a birthday, an anniversary, just for fun?
  • Which colours should the cake feature, and which colours should it not?
  • What time of year will the cake be eaten?
  • Is there a part of the country or world you want to evoke with this cake?
  • Should the cake look homemade, or more professional?
  • How many people should the cake serve?
  • Should the cake be photographed close up, or wider?
  • Do you want the cake to feel vibrant, stylish, comforting, indulgent, healthy?

As you can probably tell, what all of these questions have in common is that they are about the specifics surrounding the cake. And that is the secret: a specific brief is a good brief.

The phrase 'good content' is very subjective, as we all differ in what we like and dislike when it comes to creativity. But covering as many specifics as possible when you're being briefed to create content (or when you're writing briefs for content) is the number one most important way to ensure you're happy with the finished product, whether that's images, articles, videos and more. That's why, at HCA, we're all about the details. Good content comes from good briefs. And getting good briefs is easy, as long as you know what to ask. 

We'd love to help you make sure your brief is nailed every time1 Get in touch with our creative teams today. 

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