How to Write Captivating Commercials and Promos

Lesson 2/11 - Creating Your Promo Brief


How to Write Captivating Commercials and Promos


Lesson Info

Creating Your Promo Brief

So let's talk a little bit about mistakes that happen or to avoid when you're creating business promos. So the first thing is, you don't wanna cram in too many ideas to one promo. Keep it clear and focused. If you've ever watched a commercial, and at the end, you're like, "I don't know what they were selling." I do that a lot during Superbowl. I'm like, I'm so confused, and then I literally Google the commercial and try to figure out what they were selling in the first place. So, that's probably not great, if no one knows what you're selling. The have no idea even what's happening. So you don't wanna cram in too many things, so when you're starting a promo, you just wanna have one point. What's the point of this? And I know most of you'll be like, "Well, the point is to sell this particular thing," but usually the point is even smaller than that. It might be to communicate one benefit or one concept of the thing that you're selling. We'll dig into that a little bit deeper, too. Too muc...

h information about your business and not enough emotion. So lots of times when you're promoting something you have to sell, I'll see we're assaulted with business information and stats and things, and you're like, "Whoa." (laughing) And then you still never even get to the actually offer because the person promoting it is trying to prove and stack all of their impressive credentials and things that they've done. I love that, and I love when people are happy about talking about themselves, and you should celebrate all of your successes. They just don't all belong in the promo. So this is just not the place. So instead of stacking out how your business is world class or something like that, you don't wanna do that. You can use other things in your promo to make them more exciting. Create those movie trailer moments, and we'll get into that. And not including an enticing next step for your audience. So I can't tell you how many times a promo exists and then there's like nothing, right? It's just like (monotone singing). It grinds to a halt, right? We don't know what they're asking us to do. We have no idea. Lots of times, I see this particularly in video content where there'll just be a website, and then you're like, "Okay." And then you just go visit the website, and then you're looking around and clicking around, and you don't really know. There's no clear call to action there. They didn't say, "I have this for sale, and go here," right? A specific link, a specific ask. Sign up here, enroll here, do this. Instead it's just like, check out our website, or maybe not. Sometimes it's just like, website on the bottom. So that's not good. You wanna have a specific ask, an enticing next step. And we'll talk about that. So, promotional briefs. This, like I said, will work for all of your businesses. It's also a great way to incorporate this for other pieces of your business beyond promos, as well. A creative brief is like a road map for your promotion, and I have a bonus download for this class that you'll be able to get, which will have the outline of the creative brief, so you don't have to stress and take tons of notes, and also, you'll just have that forever. Okay, so a creative brief is similar to writing a TV Bible. You guys are probably like, "What is TV Bible? "I have no idea what that is." So, when you create a TV show, one thing that you are paid to do after you sell the show is they ask you to create something called a bible. It's usually like a 40 to 60 page document. Your creative brief will not be this intense, so don't worry. But a TV Bible will list out everything that everyone involved in that production needs to know about your show. So, you'll put in the world, you'll put in the characters, you'll put in the tone, the theme. You'll put in actually outlines of each episode. So it'll be like, in this episode, and there's several paragraphs of what the arcs are gonna be and the plot's gonna be. So, it's basically something where everyone involved in this production can get on the same freaking page and make sure that the show looks amazing on air. So, your creative brief operates in the same way. It's just making sure that everyone is on the same page, because typically, it's not just us involved in any kind of promotion or launch. We're probably pulling at least one other person in. It could be an assistant. It could be a web designer. It could be somebody that's creating imagery for you. It could be a copy writer. There's many, many people we can bring in. Sometimes, like I said, it's one part time person you have for three hours. It could be somebody that's serving as a help desk, right? Customer service. Again, if you have this, the nice thing is everybody's on the freaking same page (laughing) about what the end result of is this. They know what to expect. They know what the feeling should be, even down to, like I said, customer service, if you have somebody answering E-mails for you, they need to know what this is. They need to know the vibe and the tone of your business, right? Because they need to show up that way. If there's a disconnect, I see this a lot. Where there's a total disconnect between whoever's answering those questions in E-mails and who your business represents. So if you're like, "I'm this spiritual, amazing goddess," like we have Laren here, then, and she shows up with this awesome energy, and then her customer service person is like, "Yo, what's up? "Like, why? "I don't understand your question." (laughing) That's gonna be a huge disconnect, right? And that happens quite a bit, because we don't always see how they're responding, and we don't train those people, and they're not on the same page. So, just to show an example. And don't worry, Laren doesn't have that in her business. (laughing) So, your creative brief must include what you want to accomplish with your promotion. So, end goal. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to happen? Do you want more leads to come in? Do you want actual sales to come in? Do you want people to just know about something that you have upcoming? Is it just being used as a branding mechanism, right, to share more information, so just know what you wanna accomplish, the end goal of that. How you want people to feel. This is even more important. What's the feeling you want people to get? Do you want them to be excited? Do you want them to be inspired? Do you want them to be amped up? Do you want them to be sad? Probably not. (laughing) But think about the emotion, right? Do you want them to be happy? Whatever that is, it is so different for all of our businesses. Some of us help people to feel more calm and relaxed, some of us inspire people. Some of us encourage people to go for their goals. Some of us want people to feel lighter, right? There's so many things that we can wish for people and how we want them to feel in our business, and particularly in our promotions. And then also understanding who the ideal audience is for this promotion. So, again, this can go terribly wrong if we're trying to reach everyone, we're actually reaching no one. So, have a really clear vision of who is the appropriate person for this product, service, class, whatever you're selling, whatever your offer is, right? Who is that person? And then make sure you're pasting that here, right? You have a clear understanding who you're trying to reach. Now, if you have multiple audiences, then you need to create a promotion specific to each of those audiences. That's why, for small business owners, I recommend you try to scale it in. If you have a big team and you're working, that's different. You can go crazy with different audiences, but if it's you're a solo game, you're the only one, or maybe there's two of you, don't drive yourself crazy. Just really try to hone in and target one audience, maybe two. You can expand and grow from there, but just don't burn yourself out. And then, also your brand attitude. So, a lot of times, this aligns with how you want people to feel, so it's okay if that's the same exact thing, or if it feels a little different, but what's the attitude? How do you show up in the world, right? Are you joyous? Are you airy? Are you exciting? Are you sexy? Are you truth-smack, tough, right? There's so many ways that we all show up, so what is our attitude? And sometimes that brand is us as the human, right? And it's kind of like, "Yeah, I know what my attitude is," or sometimes the brand is a brand, right? We are creating something outside of ourselves probably for the reason of wanting to sell it off someday and not having it be a part of us. If that's the case, fine, but you still need an attitude around it. Okay. So, here's a little bit of a sample creative brief we're gonna go through, and this is for, I have one class that I teach every year, and it's all year long, so it's like a big class, and it's called Obsessed. And so I'll just walk you through a little bit of this so that you understand what this would look like when I'm trying to create a promotional creative brief around this. So what do I want to accomplish? Well, simple. I want people to sign up for my five-day preview class of my year-long Obsessed class. So what I do, is I don't really do much promo when my class is open for sale, because I've done that in the past, and it often doesn't work. So, what I do is I funnel everyone into an appetizer experience, right? They get a taste of my class. They spend five days with me. They understand what it's like. They understand what my feedback is like. They're hanging in my world, and then they make the decision to buy. So I don't promo the actual buying piece. I promo the preview. There's no risk in that preview, right? It's free. They can sign up. I don't care who you are. You can come in, right? If you hate me, then, you know, you can leave. But lots of people love it, so it's good. We welcome all. And then, from there, those are the people, much more more intimate that we get it out. I don't do promos for those people. Those people do get messages, right? Certainly I'm following up with them and hoping they'll join me for a year, but they don't get promos or teasers. I save all of that personally for my preview experience. That doesn't work for all of you guys, right? Not every business can operate that way. This is just my specific example, but I just wanna show you that I'm very clear about what I wanna accomplish with this promo. So I'm not trying to accomplish sales of my class. I'm trying to accomplish sign ups for a free preview class. So there's a big distinction and difference, and it informs how I would promote this. So how do I want people to feel? Well, I want them to feel like running their business is like a toe-curling guilty pleasure, right? That's my entire business, in fact, not just this particular offer, but a problem that people come to me with a lot, is that they're burnt out, and they're stressed, and they hate their business, and they wanna just throw it all away, and so the way that I plug in, is obviously, I have a strategy background, marketing background, writing background, but I also help them just make things feel more freaking fun. And that's what I care about. I want everything to just be more pleasurable for them, or guilty pleasure. So, this is how I want people to feel. There's a big distinction, though, between me saying I want people to feel like their business is fun and I want people to feel like there's a toe-curling guilty pleasure, right? There is a difference between those two things. Cause fun can mean a lot of different things. Toe-curling guilty pleasure is like, you probably all have a very similar picture in your mind of what that is, so specific is good for feelings. You can use the broader terms if you want, but I like getting even more specific. So as specific as you can get about that feeling. Who is my ideal audience? So, like I mentioned, burnt out entrepreneurs in the first one to three years of their business who barely have time to shower much less enjoy anything in their business, so. (laughing) So, that's a pretty clear ideal audience. And then, my brand attitude, which, like I said, sometimes this is the same exact thing. So I'm using guilty pleasure again, but I'm also a bubbly person, and I'm my own brand, so this is about me, and then I also love binge-worthy. I love that feel of I want them to binge on my content. I want them to binge on my promos. I want them to binge on my class. I want people to stay up all night. And I get that, by the way. That's something I hear a lot, which is so exciting. I'll have people E-mailing me being like, "I was up 'til 2 a.m. and I was binging" and I love that. So, that's what I want to evoke, and I'm very specific about that so that I can create promos that delight people in this way. All of yours will be complete different as to how you want, how your brand attitude is, 'cause you're all different. Alright, so we're gonna do a couple of examples. I'm not gonna make any of you do anything horribly difficult in this or even know the right answers. We're just gonna riff back and forth and brainstorm, so this is completely relaxed, and just run a couple folks through the creative brief process to see how it works. So, does anybody wanna volunteer and have some fun? Hey, I'm Anna. Awesome, so we're gonna get started with this. 'Kay. Let's just run through this a bit, and run through the questions. Cool. Again, very relaxed. Don't worry about saying the right answer even. Okay. That's not what this is about. This is all just very rough and fun because no writing is good when you do it on the first try. So, (laughing) just to give everybody that little note. Alright, so what do you want to accomplish with your promotion? So think about one thing you wanna sell, and then what do you wanna accomplish with that? Do you wanna sell that thing? Do you just want more people to know about it? Do you wanna do some kind of free experience? Do you wanna sell a workshop, whatever it is. A service? Just tell me about that. Okay, I think the thing that I'm focused on selling right now is getting people to book longer sessions with me. Awesome. Family photography sessions so that I can get more meaningful moments for them. Awesome, alright. So, does that mean that people have the option to book a mini-session verses a longer session? No, but just, this may seem long to some people, but two hours is kinda my standard, and I'm trying to get more of half-day so we can get just kind of the normal stuff that a family does throughout the morning. Okay, awesome. But you like having both of those offers. I mean, I'd love to kick the two hour, you know? I mean, I'd love to, but I think I'll lose clients. Okay, I don't wanna go off on a super tangent on that, but just, you think about that. (laughing) Thank you. Especially because you don't seem particularly excited about it, so I'm wondering Oh you can tell? Why you even wanna sell it. (laughing) So, okay, perfect. So how do you want people to feel in this promotion? So, you're going to essentially be talking to people about these longer sessions, right? So with this, how do you want them to feel? Do you want them to feel happy, or jubilant, or excited, or like you said, meaningful, if it's all about meaningful. What do you think? How do you want people to feel in this experience? Yeah, I think I want them to feel a little nostalgic. Okay. Awesome, I like that. Nostalgic is great because it can evoke a lot of fun promotion ideas, right? Cool. Of evoking old memories or sparking old memories, or even making things feel a little vintagey if that fits with your business, so that could be really fun. Okay. And then who is your ideal audience. So, again, it doesn't have to be perfectly described like we have this succinct thing on a slide. Just riff with me. Yeah, well, families, for the most part. I mean, I photograph other events, too. But I think, yeah, that's worth focusing on. So And then tell me something about this family. Pick one family that you loved photographing. Tell me something about them. Okay. They have regular traditions throughout the day that they may not consider to be special but when they're documented, maybe they would see them that way. 'Kay. So that's a really important distinction, right? So first, when you say family, it's like, "Well, that's a lot of people," (laughing) right? And then that's how are, you're getting all those two-hour people too. But if you have a family, and I would even argue, we'll put this here for now. I just put family who loves tradition, but doesn't know it yet, right? Or tradition is inherent, right, in their everyday routines, but I would even kinda scrap that second part, 'cause I think the families that are gonna book this actually know they like tradition. Okay, yeah, that's fair. Right, they are like the family that's like, "Every Christmas eve, we do this," if that's what they celebrate, right? Or like, "We mark the first snow by this." Or, "We make warm chocolate chip cookies and do this." So I think you can think about that. It may not be the right answer for you now, but it does seem like, if they value tradition, they're gonna love nostalgia, and then they're gonna book longer sessions, so we're just kind of leaving everything up and getting super clear so that your promos aren't like all family. (laughing) Like all of this, 'cause then you're gonna get all the people that wanna wear the same thing in the photo and book an hour session. (laughing) Yeah, yep, been there. Still there. So that's not what you want. Yeah. Okay, and then let's talk a little bit about your brand attitude. Remember, that can be this, but who are you? How do you show up as the photographer? I basically wanna be their best friend right away. Awesome. That's kinda my jam. So BFF. Yeah. (laughing) So, I love that, and I would even push it maybe further to say you show up like a member of the family, right? I like that. So if that's what they value, right? And then nostalgia's in here, and they're gonna book longer sessions which means they need to really like you, 'cause they're gonna spend a lot of time with you. True. Then I would even maybe push it to the next thing. And even put it on your clients. Just say, "My clients refer to me "like a member of the family, you know?" So that you're not like, "I'll be in your family" (laughing) in this super-creepy way. I would totally do that, too. (laughing) Which, by the way, that would be okay too. 'Cause sometimes that works. Some people would really laugh and appreciate that. But it's up to you, right? But I would just push these things a little bit further. But do you see the clarity of each of these pieces and why that's so important? It's simple, but there's very distinct pieces that you have to work in. Yeah, I like it. Yay, thank you. Alright, we're gonna play with somebody else, and if no one has their hand raised by the time I turn around, I'm calling on you. Okay, Nikki. (laughing) Alright. Okay, so, we're gonna back up to, okay, so what do you want to accomplish with this promo, Nikki? So I want to sell basically remote, private training but specifically, accountability, so they tell me what their goal is. I help them define it, and then they check in weekly. And, or, basically, when someone reaches out to me and has me write fitness programming for them around whatever it is that they're struggling with, or whatever their goal is, but all distance coaching. Distance coaching. Yes. Okay. And that second person you just talked about, though, that would be more of a business, right? Like a business is hiring you? Or is this all human? No, it'd be like-- One human. Yeah, it'd be like one human comes to me, and they're like, "I need a program for XYZ." Great, perfect, alright. So how do you want people to feel in this promo, and also in this experience? This distance coaching, like you said, there are all these pieces of accountability, right? You're hanging out with them, I assume for a long time? (laughing) Yep. Really getting to know them intimately. So how do you want them to feel? I want them to feel empowered. Yay. I want them to feel like they're in control of their choices, so they get to make the decisions. I'm not telling them what to do. I'm just helping them figure out what it is that they want and helping them stay on track. Okay. Versus I'm broken, please fix me. Awesome, okay, I love that. So they're gonna be empowered and in control of their bodies and their health. That's really exciting. There's a line in a TV show I like, that was like, "It's about power and control," and it just reminded me of that. (laughing) I was like, "Ooh, that just really exciting." Okay, so. And then who is your ideal audience for this? They're usually somewhere in the 35 to 55, but they're gonna skew a little bit younger, because they have to know how to use a computer to work with me, probably. Okay, tech. And usually, they have some sort of fitness background, so they've done enough crazy fitness that they've injured themselves, so they know that they're kind of over the quick-fix lose 10 pounds in 10 days. Whatever it is that people are selling now. They're over that. And they also want more of a boutique experience, so they're not someone who's looking for some super-cheap download this program. Perfect. I think this part's the key. Not that you can't use the other pieces, but this is the real key emotional part, is the over the quick fix, which also leads back to this, because if they're gonna work with you for long extensions of time, they're not looking for the quick fix, right? So you wanna focus a lot of your promotion around that specific piece. So that'll welcome in more of these people. Alright. And then brand attitude. So, give me a little juice about that. Irreverent. I don't believe in Love it. I don't believe that people need to make their own yogurt for the sake of fitness. That's crazy, so. (laughing) So all the things that people have been told they need to do, they probably don't need to do, and I don't buy into any of it. I'm a nihilist for even the stuff I teach. And then humor, clearly, (laughing) and entertainment, so. Yeah, I mean, I think we just nailed. (laughing) I think you just nailed all of that out loud. We were very clear about your brand attitude, so that's awesome. Okay, so then, exactly, so now you have these really clear, distinct things. Your brand attitude, super-clear on. I love this with the empowerment. I love how clear you are about the end result, but then, like we said, really hone in on that being over the quick fix, or use your humor to make fun of quick fixes. Anything that you wanna do. Whatever heats you up. You can use all of these things as promos, but I would use that for this, because all of it feeds in, and at the end of the day, that's what we want, is to welcome in those people. Awesome. Alright, let's just pick one more. Alright, yay. I was just gonna call on you, too. (laughing) We're here. I know. So, what's the first question? Okay, hold on, we're gonna go back. Okay. So we can look at it. Alright. So I would like people to sign up for my five-day preview class. I have a course that I'm coming out with called School of the Sovereign Woman. Okay. And so I'd like a preview for that, the signup for that. Okay, so it's a preview. And this is a free experience? Free five-day, yep. Alright, cool. Alright, and it's for women, correct? Mmhmm. Okay, so then, how do you want people to feel? I want them to feel powerful, clear, and possible. Ooh. That could almost be a promo in itself. Right? Just those words as a teaser? Like Game of Thrones, Winter is Coming, and you're like, "What's winter?" (laughing) What's happening, right? But then, it's exciting, cause you're like, "I wanna know what happens." Alright. And then, who is your ideal audience? And so obviously, we know Women. (laughing) But tell me more. They're usually mid, late, usually mid-30s, mid-30s and up, but sometimes younger, and they are seekers, spiritual seekers, but they have, they're ready for that next step. They're tired of superficial kind of tactical strategies that aren't getting to the depth of their power, and they really are ready to kind of look at why they feel disconnected from their power and to step into, and maybe take bigger risks than they've been asked to take before, and so they're ready, but they also know that they don't wanna do it by themselves. They're kind of scared of what's on the other side, so they want to be guided. Okay, so have they been women that are desperately seeking the right spiritual path? Have they gone down many different paths by the time they get to you? Yes. Okay. So they're not brand new seekers. Right, okay. They've been on the path for a while. And the paths, how do they feel about the paths? I mean, do they just feel like disconnected? Do they have, I don't wanna say an angry feeling in any way, but, it just was unfulfilling for them? It was fulfilling in the moment, because when they started seeking, they were kind of in crisis, and so it helped them get through that crisis, and now they're like, "Okay, but what else is there now that "I'm out of crisis? "I'm really ready to feel powerful and not in crisis." Okay, so those things seem to be quick-shots for their spirituality, but you are the one that actually goes to the depths of their soul, right? So they don't need those quick shots. Exactly. So that's really key, right? Because I think the fact that they've gone through this before, and it's not even that they had a bad experience. It's that they just knew it was like an energy shot, but then it had no depth after that. Exactly. Like just went away, and now they need another shot, or another hit. Exactly. Where yours will not be that, because it's this baseline, depth of your soul healing, empowerment, et cetera. Powerful, clear, possible. Okay. And then what's your brand attitude? This is a little difficult for me to name, That's okay. but I want them to feel like I'm their guide. I'm right there with them every step of the way, but not in a co-dependent kind of way. That because I'm helping them get their own answers, so I'm not like a guru on high that's disseminating the information, but I help them figure out how to source their, be their own source, so I don't know. Yeah, so you're like the power source (laughing) in a way, right? And you're guiding them to it. Yes. So, I mean, maybe you're more of a guider. You know, that's how you're showing up. Guiding them to this energy source. And like you said, it is sometimes hard to encapsulate in a word, but I also see other things in you. I mean, you as a human, right? So, when you work with clients, do they every say, "Laren, you're such" this. Or, "You're so" that. Does that ever come up? Yes. It's okay if you can't think of it right now. Yeah, but it's very much about being present with them. Perfect, so I think that's perfect. Okay. So, that's an attitude, though. Is that you are showing up like you're always very present in the moment. You're also emulating that for people, I imagine, right? Mmhmm. Helping them embody, to be present, in the moment. Absolutely. So I think that's a piece of it. Doesn't mean that that's all of you, but I do think there's a piece there, and also, realize that even though maybe you don't feel like their power source, I think they're gonna feel like you are, at least in the beginning phases, right? So don't get so caught up in, no no. I'm not your source of power here, 'cause I get it. At the end of the day, that's not what it is, but I do think that there needs to be some piece of your brand attitude about this power source or light or energy, whatever word you wanna use. I love that. So that that seeps into all of your promotions, even if you're not that person. You're just the guiding light or someone bringing them to that, it still needs to be there. Okay. Right, so we'll have a piece of that presence and power. Right? (laughing) I like that, okay. Yay. (laughing) Nailed it.

Class Description

Commercials, teasers and promos are a great way to publicize your business. But taking on the task of creating advertising that looks professional and grabs people’s attention can be intimidating. The last thing you want to do is put out ads that are amateurish or tacky.

The good news is you don’t have to hire an expensive agency to create compelling commercials. This class will walk you through all the steps of how to do it yourself, from coming up with a clever concept to producing your ad on a tight budget.

As a brand and marketing consultant for businesses and a successful writer for movies and TV, instructor Melissa Cassera will show you how to use screenwriting tools and techniques to develop dynamic, award-worthy promos that drive sales and win clients.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Understand visual engagement and why it’s important to show, not tell.
  • Create an effective hook so your audience will pay attention and remember your ad.
  • Add emotion to your commercial so it stands out from the rest.
  • Develop a commercial brief.
  • Avoid using clichés and go for the unexpected instead.
  • Strike the right balance between entertainment and sales pitch.
  • Write an awesome tagline.
  • Master the art of the tease to add an air of mystery without being confusing.
  • Incorporate audience involvement to increase engagement.