Good content writing is one of the most valuable assets of any business seeking to have a strong online presence. And that is because content, in many ways, is the heart of marketing.
When putting together a content strategy or overview of content pieces required, you’ll need one vital thing: a content brief.
But… what is a content brief?
Put simply, it is a document outlining the content that needs to be created, providing all of the key information in one place. With it, the writer in question can get the task done to the exact specifications. The more detailed the brief is, the closer the final result will be to what you have in mind.
You can think of it as a set of instructions!
So… how do you write a content brief?
Here are our top steps that break down the process:
Confirm the idea
You shouldn’t try writing a content brief until you have a solid understanding of your idea, and what it entails. The more confident you are about the idea, the better you’ll write the content brief, as it will include the right details and requirements for the writer to take on board. You should also double-check the viability of said idea, by ensuring there are sufficient sources of information.
Once you have worked out the idea, and the intent behind the content piece in question, it’s time to apply SEO. You can do this by doing some keyword research so that the article is able to target the right audience. Including the primary and secondary keywords in the brief is vital so that the writer can properly include them, giving the content piece SEO cohesion.
Summarise what the content should cover
One of the main parts of the content brief should be a paragraph or two summarising the content that needs to be covered. Include details such as any call to action, and provide the overall vision for the content piece, so that the writer knows what to aim for as an end result.
On top of providing keywords and a summary of the content, your brief should provide any and all specifics needed such as the word count, the format, and any links that should be added. It’s also a good idea to include advice on the tone of voice, especially if you’re targeting certain audiences. And of course, the brief should detail the deadline, to ensure the content is created on time.
Sources and external tasks
To finish off your content brief, make a note of any specific sources of information that should be used by the writer, depending on what the content should include. If there are any external tasks, such as creating a graph or visual, for example, specify who is responsible for completing them.
Of course, writing a good content brief takes practice and skill. To help you out, here are some of our favourite tips:
Have the right amount of information
It’s important to include enough detail so that the writer is able to create the content to your expectations and vision. However, too much information can become overwhelming and stifling for the writer, which is why a content brief should master the art of summarising concisely.
Specify SEO optimization
Specifying SEO-optimised keywords in the brief is vital, but it’s not the only thing you can include to ensure the content is SEO-oriented. You can also provide guidelines for any meta descriptions that are needed, along with a structure for sub-headings and sections.
Including an example of what you want the result to look like is one of the most helpful things you can do for a writer. This is because seeing what is expected is the best way to ensure the guidelines and specifications are being understood correctly.
Provide a brand guideline
This can help guarantee that the content adheres to the tone of voice and writing style of the brand and that it is created with the specific target audience in mind. Having a guideline document can also help keep content consistent, as it can be added to different content briefs, regardless of who takes them on.
Whether you’re a business outsourcing content or a writer creating an overview for approval, the content brief is key to ensuring nothing gets lost in translation. It helps to get everyone on the same page, with a clear vision of what the content should look like by the end. All while providing important guidance on how the content should be sourced or created, throughout.