Improve Your Content Writing Process With a Detailed Content Brief

In SEO by Marco Martin

One of the main ways a business may communicate with and expand its audience is through quality content. The actual process of producing this content may often contain several steps during which misunderstandings between the writers and the client may occur. 

Writers rely on a concise set of information that will inform them of what the content is all about and what needs it should satisfy. However, there’s far more to it than a simple header. 
You’ll need a concise content brief to get your thoughts across in detail, so everyone’s working to the same end.

What is a Content Brief?

A content brief is a document that contains the requirements and recommendations that may be used to guide a writer in the drafting process. Generally, a content brief contains the target keywords, title, required length of the content, and pointers as to what needs to be covered. 

Depending on how in-depth one wants to go with a content brief, it may contain information on the target audience and the intended result.

Who Creates a Content Brief?

This can be handled in a few ways, depending on the relationship between the writing team and the client. Commonly the content brief is created by marketing strategists and passed on to the writing team.

Why Do I Need a Brief?

No matter what kind of content is required or what medium the content can be found on, it will require some content brief. The writing team may not be included in client or brand strategy meetings, so they would need the same information that you have to craft the right material.

A detailed brief allows for seamless and speedy content creation as it brings a level of organisation to the process. This is also a great way to keep both the client and the writer in the loop with the project.

A Single Source Of Information

There is no such thing as too much information, certainly not in the world of content. 

Content briefs make it possible for a writer to access all required information in one place and in a methodical manner. This eliminates the need to dig for information within company communication tools and emails.

Streamlining Communication

The constant back-and-forth communication between the writer and the client can be minimised with the use of a detailed content brief. If the content brief is on a live document, both the client and writer may have access to the sheet. This reduces the time it takes to gain approval for the content or any last-minute changes.

Getting The Right Information Into the Content Brief

We have all experienced briefing a content idea, and the final product is miles from what was initially planned. This may be due to a break in communication or a lack of crucial information that could be used to keep a piece of content on the right track. One of the primary purposes of the content brief is to pass over necessary information and to serve as a guideline for the content.

Some vital pieces of information are:

  • Subheadings
  • Questions the content should answer
  • Important factual information
  • The purpose of the content

A content brief will save a business time and money by reducing the risk of a possible rewrite of content and eliminating the time spent filling the gaps of information that a writer may require.

The Ideal Content Brief

1. Target keywords

For the content to be effective in driving traffic to your website, there has to be a set of keywords that you identify as beneficial. These will be words or phrases with a high search volume that match the intent of your article. In order for the content to do well within search engines, primary and secondary keywords are essential.

2. Topic Ideas + Subtopics

Topics can be derived from analysing strong keywords and checking the search intent for the chosen keywords. We may go into more detail by identifying subtopics within the potential content. This will allow the content to rank well for supporting keywords as these serve to thoroughly answer the question that the article covers.

3. Content Synopsis

A synopsis can be used to offer more detailed guidance for the writer. This will assist in the content sticking to the original briefed idea as well as making the content creation a bit easier. This may save time and get that content out faster.

4. Word Count

A common practice is to include a word count for a piece of content. Finding the ideal word count is the trick. Analysing the closest competitors’ articles may give you a ballpark figure of how long your content should be in order to feature in the SERP.

5. Purpose of Content

Identifying the purpose of the content will assist the writer in the feel of the content itself. A writer may use this pointer as a means to structure the content so that it’s either more direct (for sales pages) or more informative (for informational purposes).

6. “People Also Ask” Questions

“People Also Ask” questions found on the Google results page serve as a great way to target the search intent of a topic. This gives us insight into the more common questions being asked in Google around a specific topic. Targeting this search intent is a great way to improve the performance of a piece of content.

7. Calls-to-Action

One of the primary uses of content such as business blog articles is to direct users to a product or encourage them to complete an online form. Providing clear calls-to-action for a writer will ensure that potential customers are not lost after reading your content.

8. Style Guide

Different types of content have different purposes. This often means that the content itself may need to be structured differently from the conventional blog article. Including a style guide in your content brief will help the writer convey the right tone of voice and brand personality.

9. Internal and External Linking Opportunities

Having a healthy link profile will always benefit a content piece from both a user journey and Google’s perspective. This can be crucial for readers to access more information or to send a user directly to a product on the website.

10. Competitor Articles

Knowing what your closest competitors are doing is a huge advantage. One can draw inspiration from them, as well as identify potential gaps that your content could fill.

11. On-Page SEO Optimisation

Having SEO optimisations such as improved header tags, keyword targeting, image alt tags, and optimised anchor text for links implemented early on will always benefit a piece of content. However, this is also something that can be added to content after it has been written.

Structuring Your Content Brief

How you choose to structure a content brief is between you and your writing team; there’s no single “right” way to do it. The main point here is that there are many templates you could use, but you can also build your own custom structure that suits your and your team’s needs. 
Do you need assistance with your content? Are you battling to rank well for important search queries? If so, we’re here to help. Please feel free to get in touch with us.