Hey content marketers! Content brief is a great way to increase the chances of producing high-quality content. Unfortunately, many marketers just don’t know how to write a good one.
Have you ever wondered what great content briefs include?
How to create a content brief that will produce the articles that rank and bring organic traffic?
Not from time to time.
But each and every time!
We are sharing our experience and know-how on all the nitty-gritty details of the content brief. So let’s jump in.
What is a Content Brief?
A content brief is a detailed list of requirements and recommendations that guides a writer as they produce content. Writers, editors, and content strategists use briefs in the content creation process to provide a clear understanding of the expectations, context, and desired outcome. It helps to guide your content’s creation in an organized, efficient manner.
(Did you know that the word brief dates back to the 1200s? It ultimately derives from the Latin brevis, which means “short.”)
No matter whether you’re working alone, in internal or external teams, small or big teams. It brings value whatever your case is.
Without a content brief, you run into the risk of receiving content that doesn’t meet your needs. You are letting your writer operate in the dark… or to put it in different words, you are letting them create the content that they think might be useful. A lot of guessing here which usually doesn’t contribute well to quality and the desired outcome.
Content brief usually includes elements such as word count, target personas, brand’s voice and tone, headings, questions to answer, and many more.
But before going into these details, let’s talk about where SEO is in all of this.
What is an SEO Content Brief and how does it differ from Content Brief?
SEO content briefs can do wonders for SEO, but what is an SEO content brief you might ask? Well, an SEO content brief is a specialized type of content brief that is focused on creating content optimized for search engines. It’s designed to produce content that can rank well for specific searches and earn traffic from the organic search channel.
Compared to content briefs it will put more emphasis on SEO research and guidelines. If you are creating content to deliver value to your audience and you want it to be found in organic search then this is the topic you should dig deeper in.
What Are The Benefits of SEO Content Briefs?
If you’re not creating content briefs, you’re making a mistake. Here’s why:
A content brief puts your entire team on the same page.
When everyone is clear on the goal of the article, it’s easier to achieve it.
By setting out the specific objectives and content details for each article you can make sure that everybody understands it in the same way and the expectations are clear. This makes all the stakeholders stay aligned and the content creator will not stray from your goals and requirements.
Using a content brief can help less experienced writers create content at a higher level, which is beneficial for both the writer and the reader.
Content brief supports delivering content on time
Having a brief for your content can assist writers in getting drafts back more quickly. They understand what you expect from them which means they don’t need to guess.
This means delivering faster and more on target.
In a nutshell: better SEO content at scale.
Improve Your Content’s Search Rankings
Writers’ primary skill is… guess what… writing. They usually know a bit about SEO, they learn your industry fast but still, they are not an expert in any of those.
If you’re scaling content by working with a large number of authors, you can’t expect them to know or understand complex SEO nuances. With a content brief, you are increasing your chances to develop content that meets both your target audience and Google’s needs.
Reduce Content Production Costs
A content brief can help reduce content production costs. If the writer gets a specific and well-defined outline then this reduces time and money spent on fixing a weak draft.
It is extremely helpful if you outsource content creation to an external content writer.
All the critical information in one place
An SEO content brief is a detailed document that provides all the information needed for a writer to create the content you want. It includes specific details on what the article should cover, as well as keywords and other relevant information that can help boost rankings.
This will ensure that you’ll get a piece that covers all the key points.
Your copywriter (and editor) will work 2x faster.
There’s no room for rewrites or changes when you have a tight content brief. Critical information is communicated upfront, and everyone is on the same page.
You can even use it as a checklist to make sure your search engine optimization (SEO) is on point.
How to write a Content Brief
What should you include in your content brief? There are quite a few elements.
We can group them into general suggestions and SEO guidelines for writing content.
So let’s dive into general suggestions:
Title or rather working title
The content brief should include a title. It doesn’t have to be exact. It needs to show the direction of what you want the content to be.
Every piece of content that you create has a target audience and it’s important for the writer to know who they are writing for.
Why? First of all, you need to know who your target audience is in order to create content that appeals to them. For instance, you will be writing in a completely different style when you target C-level executives versus teenagers.
Target audience is a key component in creating quality content because it can make or break how well people receive your article.
Brand Voice and Writing Style
You shouldn’t overlook the importance of brand voice and writing style when creating brand-related content like articles or blog posts. Including brand voice and writing style in your brand’s content briefs ensures that the narrative surrounding your brand reflects its true identity. Is your brand voice witty, professional, casual, or maybe straightforward? It will all impact the flow, usage of words, and the way the writer conveys the key message.
The content brief should explain your goal for the content in question so that the writer knows how to construct and optimize the article and its CTAs. Do you want to educate people, convenience them to consider your product, or maybe guide them?
Suggested word count
Content length is an important factor to consider when creating a content brief. Make sure that your topic can be effectively covered in the word count you have allotted. Going over or under your word count can negatively affect the quality of your content. Word count can be also helpful to avoid bringing a 500-word post to a 2,500-word fight.
While there isn’t necessarily a “correct” word count for an article, it’s generally recommended to aim for around 1,500 words. This will give you enough space to cover your topic thoroughly, while still keeping the article length manageable.
Pro-tip for suggested word count:
- Check what is the industry standard length of the keyword or topic you want to rank for.
Examples of Content You Like so-called Inspiration
It’s ok to share some links to content that you find valuable for the writer to follow. It might give them better direction and understanding of your industry.
Related questions to answer
Usually, people have various questions regarding the topic. Let’s take the content brief as an example and look at sample questions around it:
- How do you write a content brief?
- What should be included in a content brief?
- What is content brief SEO?
- What makes a good content brief?
- What is an example of a content brief?
- How to write a content brief?
- What does a brief look like?
- What’s the hardest thing about writing a content brief for an article optimized for SEO?
Yada yada yada… There are quite a lot of them. Some are very specific, some are general.
You can find those questions through Google People Also Ask, Google Suggest or Quora.
Outline and main key takeaways
This is the heart of the content brief. Something that if done right makes a huge difference for the content creation process. The same rules apply to blog post outline as well as an outline for website content.
What is the outline’s role in the content brief? Let’s go back to school. Whenever you were writing an essay you were expected to divide your content into certain logic sections. The same rule applies here.
A content outline is a crucial part of any blog post or article. It gives a structure and helps organize thoughts into different sections before you start writing. Usually, they take the form of headings and subheadings.
It provides the writer with the context and they can make sure they include all the necessary information.
A content outline can be turned into a table of contents once the article is ready. It makes it more clear to readers what they can expect from your content, which can help you rank higher in search engines like Google.
Pro-tip regarding outline and main key takeaways:
- Look for ways to stand out from the competition. Make yourself familiar with the skyscraper technique. It comes really handy here.
- Use headings and subheadings.
- Keep them short and concise so that people don’t get bored with reading through too much text on one page.
- Make headings meaningful.
- Use keywords or make it clear for the writer to use them.
SEO Guidelines for writing content in the Content Brief
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) guidelines are important because they help companies rank their websites on the first page of Google.
By using them you ensure that the content is optimized for search engines. As a result, it will be easier to rank well on Google and bring the traffic you want.
SEO professionals should keep SEO guidelines in mind when creating blog posts or articles.
Some people might say that keywords are passé and they are not working. Sure Google doesn’t want you to stuff your content with keywords. Believe me, keywords are still working and they are fine.
Include the primary keyword in the content brief.
Why it is worth using keywords when creating content
SEO would not be possible without keywords because they are what people search for most often when looking for something online. If you use the phrases your audience search you are increasing your likelihood of being found by your audience.
In a nutshell, use the primary keyword that has search volume and is relevant to your audience.
How can I identify the keywords I should use
It is also important to use SEO tools to find keywords and check how competitive those keywords are. In order to find relevant secondary keywords, SEO professionals can use tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs.
Where should the keywords be included?
Include keywords throughout the article. Use the primary keyword and its variations several times throughout the article. It will help to improve SEO rankings and ensure that the page is found by potential customers.
Pro-tip on keywords:
- Don’t favor keywords with high volume over high intent match
- Don’t try to jam keywords into articles. Put value over keywords.
- Include keywords in the title and meta description of an article.
- Placing the primary keyword at the beginning of the title, as well as in the first sentence of the article, will help to improve SEO rankings.
While the primary keyword is the most important, it is also important to include secondary keywords in the content brief. Secondary keywords can help to improve SEO rankings, help to ensure that the website is found by the right people, and provide them with the information they are looking for.
Topics cannot be overlooked in brief.
Google raised the bar and is trying to understand more complex searches and how they connect to each other. Thanks to topics, Google can understand the website from a much broader perspective and provide solutions that aren’t an exact match to the keyword put into the search.
Instead, topics and topics alone can provide the answer; the user gets what they want.
So if you have any terms, phrases that are relevant for this topic, even the broader ones, they are worth mentioning in the content brief. Using them will mean that the content is more relevant.
Title and Meta description
The first time someone sees a website is on the search engine results page (SERP). The meta title of a webpage is what will show up on the search engine results page (SERP) as well as on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
SEO guidelines state that the meta title should be between 50 and 60 characters long, including spaces. SEO professionals can use SEO tools to check if a meta title is too long or too short as well as the competitiveness of the keywords used in the title.
The primary keyword, as well as other relevant keywords, should be included as well as a call to action.
The meta description is what will show up on search engine results pages (SERPs) and social media. The meta description should be between 150 and 160 characters long, including spaces. SEO professionals can use SEO tools to check the length of a meta description as well as the competitiveness of the keywords used in the meta description.
Including keywords in the meta description is important for SEO, but it is also important to write a meta description that is compelling and encourages potential customers to click on the website. The meta description should also include a call to action. Including a call to action in the meta description will help ensure that companies reach their target market and convenience them to take certain actions.
Internal links are links on a webpage that allows the company to link to other relevant pages of their own website.
Using internal links is beneficial for SEO as they can increase user experience by making it easy for people to navigate the website and find relevant pages on their website. Besides, internal links influence SEO rankings by making it easy for search engines to crawl the website.
When an internal link sits within an article, it’s called deep-linking because it’s linking further down into information than where the external link is found. This makes for a higher SEO ranking and more reader engagement with your content.
Pro-tip regarding internal links:
- Include Internal Links With Descriptive Anchor Text
External links are links that are on your website that point to other sites. You can also think of them as “links out” on your site that link to other places on the internet.
Some people are afraid of using external links within their website as they fear that they are directing the traffic out of their website.
I prefer to think about it in a different way.
It just shows your competence, know-how, and your willingness to deliver value for your user. I’m not saying that you should direct the user to your competitor page (sure you can do it if you want) but show relevant pages, that broaden the topic.
Pro tip regarding external links:
Include a number of images and visuals you are expecting to be used.
Visuals are images that give a representation of words or ideas. They can be in the form of graphs, images, drawings, etc. Visuals allow for easier understanding by readers – especially when they present abstract concepts – because they provide an image instead of just numbers which may not make sense without context for what they represent.
Pro-tip on visuals:
- There is no magic number for how many images should be included. You can use the rule of thumb and say to use an image every 500 words.
- Good practice is to look at top 5 SERPs on the topic/keyword you are writing and verify how many images they use.
When should I use a content brief?
Whenever the content is being created! Every time!
If you are writing yourself, a content brief is great for structuring your ideas, thoughts, research, and approach. If you are cooperating with the writer, it is even more important as the content brief conveys the crucial information to include in the article or any other piece of content.
In a nutshell, a content brief is the best way to deliver content that achieves its goals.
Content brief template – is it worth using one?
Yes, yes, yes.
The content brief template makes you focus on what is important. It’s like a checklist that guides you towards your goal.
It’s great to experience a writing flow and get creative. So if you are writing just for that you don’t need a template. You can go with the flow.
However, if you want for the content to be found, if you want it to create great value for your audience, if you want to drive traffic through the articles you’re writing, it’s not only an art. It’s a science. And template can bring you closer to that.
Creating content briefs is a great way to save time, get better results, and improve your Google rankings.
The key to success with these documents lies in knowing what you need them for before you create them. We’ve laid out the steps that will help answer any questions you have about how to use content briefs effectively.
What kind of content brief works best for you? Let us know!