Creating good content is not just a matter of putting words on paper. Even the best copywriters and content creators need guidance and direction. To create content that delivers the outcomes you desire, it needs to be structured, well-considered, and able to deliver value to the reader.
Anyone who commissions, edits, and approves content knows how frustrating it can be to review a piece that just isn’t up to scratch. Or when the writer just hasn’t grasped the direction you wanted to go or the goals you have for the article.
Briefing content creators can be a difficult task. A vague or misunderstood brief usually results in unsuccessful or unsatisfactory content. And if your content creator didn’t fully understand their instructions, then the brief is (at least partially) to blame.
With so many various factors at play, the only answer to these problems is a content brief.
Putting in the time and effort to create a top-notch content brief is one of the most effective ways to guarantee excellent content. It gives your content creators everything they need to put together exactly what you are looking for, giving you peace of mind at the same time.
So what do you need to include to make your content briefs perfect? What are the critical elements that will keep your copywriters on the correct path? And what exactly do content briefs look like?
This article will give you everything you need to create high-quality, concise briefs that deliver exceptional content every time.
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What is a content brief?
A content brief is a guide you give to your content creators when you’re commissioning work. It is a document that shows writers (and other creators) how you want the content put together. It sets out the parameters of the content you aspire to create, what it should aim to achieve, and what you want to have included.
The best content briefs must set out everything you want your writer to include without overburdening them with detail or smothering their creativity. A content brief should be clear, concise, and specific, setting out your expectations and helping your commissioned content creator, well, create great content. It should provide a framework for the piece, highlighting the most important aspects and providing useful suggestions, but not micromanaging.
Content creators appreciate a good brief, as it makes their life easier, and well-briefed writers tend to be more motivated to do a great job.
With a proper content brief, your content will deliver more value to your audience, perform better, and save you enormous amounts of time and effort.
How to write a content brief
Writing a good content brief is all about balance. You should provide enough information to get the job done without creating a briefing document that is too long to be useful.
Almost all content editors and commissioners are writers too. So when you are putting a content brief together, just think about what you would need to know if you were writing this piece.
A content brief doesn’t need to be long. In fact, getting all the relevant details into as short a document as possible is one of the best skills you can have when producing a content brief. But it does need to provide detail in some key areas.
What should a content brief include?
There are eight key elements that every content brief should include, no matter the type of content, industry, or length. These are the elements that add up to make content deliver from an SEO point of view.
How long a piece of content is makes a big difference to how well it performs on search engines. It also has a huge impact on how your creator will go about putting it together. So a good content brief must specify how long the content should be. Studies show that, on average, content around 1,100 words long performs best on Google. The word count will vary depending on the topic, the audience, and several other factors, and things like relevance and quality are more impactful when it comes to SEO. Nevertheless, length is important. You will also want to be guided by your focus – broad topics will be shorter, while more specific titles will suit a longer read more.
Providing the topic you want your content creator to write about is a fairly fundamental part of preparing a content brief. Whether you’re elaborating from successful competitor content, responding to audience demand, or using ideation tools to discover high-performing ideas, your writer should understand your article’s focal point. This doesn’t mean that your topic has to be incredibly detailed. If you don’t have a strong preference or are working with a trusted strategic content writer, it may be best to let their creative vision take the lead.
Keyword research is a crucial part of good SEO content, so providing your content creator with relevant keywords is important. You will need to carry out comprehensive keyword research before putting the brief together, including a seed keyword and long-tail keywords. It is worth including the search volume so your writer knows which ones to focus on and which to include in headings, meta descriptions, and so on. It is best to limit yourself to around 1-2% keyword density, otherwise, the flow and readability of the piece can take a hit.
Tone of voice
Of course, a content brief isn’t only about SEO performance. Content needs to be coherent with the appropriate brand identity (whether you’re commissioning for yourself or for a client), so tone of voice is crucial. If you’re working with a new writer or introducing someone to a new client, a short explanation of who they are and how their brand should sound is imperative.
Content briefs that let the writer know of the article’s intention tend to be the most successful. Including your content creator in any part of the conceptualization process will produce optimum results, so letting them know the goal of the piece is an absolute must. Knowing what the intended result is will help a good writer tailor the content so that it evokes the reaction you need it to.
It’s an easy mistake to make, and it’s one that many content editors fall victim to. But just because your writer is familiar with the topic and the sector doesn’t mean they know who the content should be specially targeting. The intended audience for a piece matters enormously, so give your content creators as much information as you can to allow them to write for that demographic. This can be the maker or breaker of your content’s success.
Many clients will want certain links included in their articles for link building. This helps increase your content’s importance, and attracts more traffic to other pages on their site too. You should include these in the content brief, alongside anchor text, so that your writers can fit them seamlessly into the article.
Examples of competition
A great way to help shape a piece of content, particularly if your topic or focus is wide, is to provide examples of other content you like and competitor content that performs well. Not only does this give your writer an idea of the style of content you like, but it also provides them with insight into your competition.
A robust content brief is the most effective way of ensuring that the content you commission comes back to you in as perfect a form as possible at the first time of asking. A solid brief will make life easier for both you and your writers, and provide you with content that reads well and performs exceptionally.
For more tips, tricks and resources that will help you craft killer content that flies you to the top of Google, visit our website.