Creating appealing content constantly is an important yet difficult part of digital marketing. Without strategic planning and direction, content creation can become confusing and ineffective.
Currently, 82% of marketers employ content marketing and an incredible 72% of marketers believe content will be more influential next year than it is now!
Many content strategists have begun to outsource work to writers. It is popular since writing takes a lot of time. If you have an aggressive SEO strategy and a large content calendar, you’ll need to publish a lot of articles.
So, a standard procedure for marketers is to create content briefs so that writers know exactly what to write about.
But what is a content brief, and how do you write a good one?
What is a Content Brief?
A content brief is a document that highlights important aspects of a content project or campaign. It is created at the start of a content creation procedure to guide and align stakeholders. It acts as a foundation for authors, designers, and other team members involved in content creation.
The main objective of a content brief is to give a clear and consistent knowledge of the project’s objectives, target audience, key messages, tone, structure, and other relevant aspects.
The most successful content briefs provide the writer with a clear image of exactly what is expected of them, leaving no doubts or questions.
If you give a writer an excellent content brief, you will receive content that is very similar to what you would have produced yourself. And if you want to expand blogging like a company, you must get your content flywheel spinning.
Creating an effective content brief is an art in itself.
- If you give the writer too much information, they may feel overwhelmed.
- They may also believe they lack creative freedom, which can undermine their drive and the quality of their job.
- On the other hand, if you fail to provide enough information, you risk receiving an article that is so distant from what you meant that you can’t use it.
- There’s also SEO to consider about.
- Writers are not SEO experts.
- Experienced writers will have learned some SEO knowledge, but you must still explain in the brief how you want the content optimized.
Why are Content Briefs Important?
a. They provide direction and focus for content creation
A content brief defines the aims, target audience, primary themes/topics, and tone of a piece of material. This keeps the writer focused on the desired goal and audience.
b. They save both time and money
Detailed content briefs simplify the process of assigning and tracking requests by eliminating the need for back-and-forth correspondence. It also enables them to remain in sync with their projects and collaborate effortlessly across time zones.
c. They Improve Efficiency
With a defined content brief, authors may spend less time researching, interviewing, and deciding on the topic and direction of their work. The brief includes such information right away.
d. They Encourage Consistency
Content briefs offer rules for messaging, voice, vocabulary, and topics to ensure consistency, especially when numerous authors are engaged. This speeds up the editing process.
e. They Make it Easier to be Approved
Content briefs serve as a reference document for reviewers/approvers to check that the produced material is consistent with the brief’s stated aims, audience, and style.
What Should Be Included in Content Brief?
No matter what type of material you’re writing or the strategy you’re going for, you must include each of the following:
a. Suggested Titles and Headings: This is the title of a blog post or other piece of content. It should contain your primary keyword.
b. Establish goals: Determine the content’s purpose and objectives.
What should it achieve? Increased leads? More sales? What about brand awareness?
c. Audience Profile: Information about the target audience, such as demographics, location, interests, and pain points.
d. Key messages: The 3-5 key points you wish to communicate to the audience.
e. Article funnel stage: This relates to the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel, also known as the buyer’s journey. The funnel stage should have a direct impact on how the work is perceived.
f. Content types and formats: Include blog posts, ebooks, videos, and social media posts. Also consider tone, voice, and images.
g. Distribution Plan: Where and how will the content be shared?
h. Internal links to add: Provide the writer with internal links to add in their material. This will improve the user experience and keep people on your website longer.
i. A call to action: Give the writer a specific call to action that you wish to include in the content. This can help you increase conversions and reach your company objectives.
j. Success Metrics: How will you assess effectiveness? Traffic, engagement, conversions, or sales?
k. Timelines: The project schedule includes critical dates for drafting, modification, approval, and publication.
l. Budget: The available budget and production resources.
m. Review Process: The number of modifications expected. Approval process.
n. Legal Requirements: Any disclaimers or compliance requirements.
o. Brand Guidelines: Existing brand guidelines or assets to ensure consistency.
p. Background Resources: Any existing materials or research to help with content production.
One of the most fundamental rules for writing briefs is that they are structured. Even if your content brief starts as a brain dump, take the time to reorganize your ideas into sections and bullet points.
SEO Content Brief Template: Extras to Include
If you want to earn Google’s featured snippet placement or just rank higher than your competition, you must contain each of the following:
1. Meta Title and Description
Meta descriptions and title tags are HTML code elements that assist search engines in identifying the content of a web page. They are typically displayed whenever a page appears in search results.
2. Suggested links (both internal and commercial)
Linking to pages on your own company’s website as well as third-party sites improves SEO by creating additional connections to other related articles and pages. This is quite beneficial for search engine algorithms, which will want to better understand how to position your article when ranking for specific phrases.
3. Relevant Keywords and Volumes
Keywords also contribute to the overall picture of what your post is about. Their volumes evaluate the number of times a specific keyword has been searched for in a given period and may suggest its relevance to your target audience.
4. Carrying out Competitor Research
What are competitors saying about this subject?
How does your brand concur or disagree?
Most importantly, how can your content be better than theirs?
5. Redirect Information if Applicable
URL forwarding is a technology that allows a web page to be accessed at several URLs. When a browser attempts to open a redirected page, it returns a different page with a different URL.
Who Uses Content Briefs?
Content briefs are often used by content creators of every type, from large companies to solopreneurs.
The following are some major players who often benefit from using content briefs:
a. Marketing strategists
Marketing and SEO strategists are experts in keyword research, content strategy, and planning. Detailed content briefs enable them to express their views to authors beyond simple needs such as primary keywords and word count.
For writers, one of the most difficult aspects of creating effective content is understanding how their piece fits into a larger strategy. A great content brief allows authors to create content that is consistent with the content marketing strategy, performs better, and requires less back-and-forth with an editor.
Not every content work includes a specialized strategist. In such instances, the writer usually prepares the content brief. Sharing the content brief allows them to gain customer approval on the content before they finish drafting. Clients frequently offer simply high-level instructions, thus a successful content brief helps the writer to ensure that their plan meets the client’s.
Using the brief as a milestone for client evaluation is especially beneficial for a freelance writer working with a new customer, as neither party is completely aware of the other’s expectations.
Content Brief Templates From the Experts
Draft.dev’s technical content template
Mark Rogers is the Director of Content for Freshpaint. His briefs are focused on Freshpaint’s product, including a product summary, a boilerplate about Freshpaint’s HIPAA compliance, and an explanation of how the product “fits in” to the topic at hand.
Fio Dossetto’s ABCD template
Deel’s marketing-focused brief and editing checklist
Tools for Creating Content Briefs !
You can do it the old-fashioned way (write them yourself) or use one of a few tools that make content briefing relatively simple. Most content optimization (or on-page SEO) tools have a briefing feature.
1. GrowthBar: GrowthBar is a sophisticated AI writing tool that allows you to create content briefs in a matter of minutes and then write your piece using powerful AI.
2. Surfer SEO: This template includes sections for the content’s objective, target audience, competition, and other relevant information.
3. HubSpot: Another option is to use HubSpot’s Content Brief Builder. This builder asks questions about the content’s purpose and intended audience and then generates a template based on the responses.
4. Content Harmony: Content Harmony has proven itself as a content briefing tool. It does nothing else! However, it does produce stylish briefs at a fair price.
Understanding the significance of content briefs is the first step towards effectively using them in your content marketing efforts.
If you want a writer to generate an article that is as near to what you’re searching for as possible, you have to create an appealing content brief.
Making a brief does not have to be challenging or time-consuming. Over time, you’ll be able to build a template for most of the information in your short, you just need to update a few details for each item.
1. What is a content brief?
A content brief is a document that contains instructions and recommendations for writers when developing written content such as blog articles, white papers, or social media posts.
2. Who uses content briefs?
Many people and organizations use content briefs, including content authors, editors, marketing teams, project managers, and brand managers. They provide a common reference point for everyone participating in the content generation process.
3. What details should be included in a content brief?
A content brief should include information about the project’s scope, target audience, key messages, content type, structure, keywords, visual components, references, deadline, collaboration details, and any other notes or instructions.
4. Are content briefs just for written content?
No, content briefs can be used for a variety of content formats, such as written, graphic, and multimedia. The details provided in the brief will vary depending on the type of content being developed.