How to write a briefing note
Whether it is for information or instruction, the briefing note must be concise (limited to the essentials of the message to be transmitted), but complete. The message must be clear, covering the famous 5 W’s. Here are some tips on how to write a briefing note.
1) When you write a briefing note: be simple
Use language that is easy to understand. Think about the audience that will be reading your briefing note and who is affected by the issue. Use language they can understand, avoiding technical jargon they may not understand.
2) Remember the classics
Answer the right questions so you don’t forget anything. Who, what, when, where, why, and how should inform the reader of everything they need to know.
3) Pick an angle
Once you have chosen the subject to write a briefing note, you must be aware that you will not be able to cover all aspects of it. The chances are that you will end up with an article that is difficult to construct and, in the end, confusing for the reader. An article is built on one angle: choosing one means addressing only one aspect of a subject.
4) Mind your readers
Attracting and engaging the reader is an art that uses a few useful tricks you can learn. When you write a briefing note, always remember the audience you are addressing: What topics might interest them? How do you approach them? What information do they already have on the subject? Find a common thread: It structures the article, avoids repetition, provides a plan.
5) Share links
When you write a briefing note, you can expand what you want to say by including links to other information that supports and complements your briefing note. Does the company you are trying to highlight have web pages where more information can be found? Yes? Great! Put in the references to those pages.
Remember that when you write a briefing note, the priority will always be the information. Once you have understood and exercised this knowledge, your prestige as a journalist will be a powerful weapon when you go out to get the story.