How to Write a Content Brief in 9 Powerful Steps

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

Are you looking for a way to streamline your content creation process and produce high-quality content that resonates with your audience? It’s not a secret that perfect content comes from great content briefs. And In this article, our digital marketing experts will show you how to write a content brief your team can use to produce blog posts that align with your brand and beat the competition online.

In these nine steps, you’ll learn how to define your audience, utilize data from keyword research, choose the suitable format and content length, implement powerful CTAs, and much more. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to create briefs that hit the mark every time and support your content marketing efforts. You’ll be able to satisfy search intents and create SEO content that performs well in Google. Reaching this level of content harmony is essential to achieve business goals in the digital age.

Table of Contents:
Learn how to write a content brief that gives power to your writers and helps them craft SEO-friendly content pieces that engage your audience.

What Is a Content Brief?

Think of a content brief as of document that outlines the critical information and instructions members of your content team will use when working on new blog posts or website copy. It’s like a roadmap for the content creation process that helps writers stay on track and work toward the desired goals. But you should learn how to write a content brief and use it even working alone.

It’s essentially a tool you can use to organize your thoughts and ideas before diving into the content writing process. Let’s check some of the elements that make good content briefs:

      • Article title
      • Topics and subtopics you want to cover
      • Primary keywords and their count
      • Internal links
      • External links
      • Examples of competitors’ content pieces
      • Estimated content length
      • Tone and style guide
      • The main characteristics of your target personas

Having all this information ready before writing a single word will help you create content that works well with both real-life buyers and search engines. If you’re working alone, you can skip some of these elements and focus on forming a content outline and content structure, performing keyword research, and similar. However, if you’re a team leader, your job is to provide your content writers with as much information as possible. Although briefs for different content types may vary in look, the goal remains the same – set writers in the right direction.

When Should You Use Content Briefs?

Creating content briefs is always a good idea, no matter the project you’re working on. However, if you’re low on time, you’re probably wondering if writing a brief is essential. Every situation is unique, and to help you find the answer, we’ve identified several situations in which having a content brief is a must:

When you’re working with a content team:

When you have a lot of different people creating content, it can be challenging to maintain a consistent voice and style. By creating a brief, you can ensure everyone understands the goals, target audience, and key messaging for your blog posts or other content pieces. 

When you’re outsourcing content creation:

If a freelance writer or an agency helps you with content creation, your briefs will help them understand your needs and expectations. You want your content to follow specific standards and brand guidelines, and learning how to write a content brief will help you achieve the exact content harmony.

When you’re creating complex or technical content:

Bringing complex subjects closer to the audience is one of the main reasons behind how content marketing drives sales. However, this is not always easy, as some content pieces require specialized knowledge or technical expertise. And content brief can help ensure that your content writers understand the subject matter and communicate it effectively to your target personas. And by creating a strong content outline, you’ll ensure every subtopic is covered.

When you must regularly produce lots of content:

Content briefs can help save time and improve efficiency. When you have a clear content outline, you can avoid wasting time brainstorming ideas or going down rabbit holes irrelevant to the end goal. You’ll be able to create blog posts more quickly and accurately.

If your content lacks quality:

Briefs can be incredibly helpful if you’re struggling with creating high-quality content. Once you learn how to write a content brief, you’ll get a clear roadmap that aligns with your goals. Briefs can help you improve your content structure and ensure your blog posts are informative and engaging.

How much time does it take to write a content brief?

How Much Time It Takes To Create a Great Content Brief

Writing content briefs may seem daunting, but once you learn how to do it, there’s no reason to worry. With the right tools, it takes us no longer than 30 minutes to create high-quality briefs when providing our website copywriting services in Chicago.

However, the time it takes to create a great content brief depends on various factors. Here are just some of them:

      • Your current understanding of the target audience
      • The number of keywords you want to target
      • The complexity of a specific topic
      • Content length
      • Content format

It’s important not to rush the brief preparation process. If you don’t understand your target audience well or could benefit from investing more time into researching a topic, remember that it’s not wrong if you spend hours or days preparing a brief. Prioritize quality over everything else!

Mind-Blowing Benefits of Writing Effective Content Briefs

Learning how to write a content brief is a must if you want to craft content your audience will enjoy. You can expect to see these benefits:

      • Clarifies goals and objectives: An effective content brief helps you define your goals and objectives. By outlining your goal, you can ensure that everyone on your content team will work toward the same goal. You’ll be able to create more focused and targeted content that drives results.
      • Saves time and money: A clear content briefs helps you avoid wasting time and money on content pieces that don’t work. You can create content that resonates with real-life buyers by identifying your target audience, messaging, and tone and going through a search intent classification process in advance. You’ll reduce the need for revisions and increase your content lifespan.
      • Improves collaboration: An effective content brief helps to align everyone involved in the content creation process, from content writers to designers and team leaders. It will result in a more cohesive and effective final product.
      • Ensures consistency: It’s crucial to ensure consistency across all your content, from blog post formats to social media to email newsletters – and content briefs can help. Outlining your brand voice, messaging, and tone ensures your content is always on-brand and aligned with your overall content marketing efforts.

Learn 9 steps for writing a content brief.

How To Write a Content Brief in 9 Simple Steps

As you can see, well-crafted briefs can help you get the most out of your content team. If you wonder how to write a content brief that delivers results, just follow these nine simple steps:

Find Keywords and Understand Search Intents

Keywords are the words and phrases people use to search for information on the internet. Relevant keywords in content help search engines like Google better understand what it’s all about. Content optimization for search engines can help you earn higher rankings, which usually leads to more traffic to your website. 

And what about understanding search intents? This refers to identifying what your target audience expects to find when typing keywords in the search box. Understanding the intent behind a search query is the first step toward tailoring your content to meet the specific needs of your audience. This can improve the overall user experience and help you reduce bounce rates.

Here’s a quick guide to finding keyword ideas and identifying intents when creating SEO content briefs:

      1. Start by researching your topic: Use keyword research tools to find commonly used words and phrases related to your topic. Learning more about keyword research services may help you identify the primary keyword, which you should then include in your article’s title.
      2. Consider the search intent of your target audience: Are they looking for information, a product, or a service? What do they want to learn? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you create content that resonates with real-life buyers.
      3. Analyze the competition: Look at the content that’s already out there on your topic. Identify the keywords and phrases that they’re using and think about how you can create better and more unique content. Performing a keyword gap analysis may help you find dozens of untackled opportunities.
      4. Include short-tail and long-tail keywords in your briefs: A mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords is best for reaching a wider range of people and polishing your SEO content.

Create Content Outline and Content Structure for Your Writers

Creating content outlines and structures will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your writers understand what you want to achieve with content pieces they’re about to create.

Let’s check an example of a content outline we created for this article using WriterZen:

Here’s how to create a content outline and structure for your writers:

      1. Define the purpose and goals of the content: Defining the purpose and goals for your article is the first step. For example, do you want to educate your audience on a particular topic, persuade them to take action, or entertain them? This will massively impact your content structure.
      2. Identify the needs of your target audience: Understanding your audience’s needs will help your writers create compelling content. This approach will help you build brand awareness and a loyal audience in the long run.
      3. Break down content into sections: It’s time to create an outline that breaks it down into sections or subsections. Your outline should include a clear introduction, main points, supporting evidence, and a conclusion. This will help your writers understand the content structure and ensure that they cover all the necessary points. Also, keep in mind that increasing the number of headlines (having one for each 250-300 words) will boost the readability of your content.
      4. Include formatting guidelines: Depending on the type of content you’re creating, you may need to include formatting guidelines. For example, if you’re creating a blog post, you may need to specify the length, headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
      5. Set expectations: Finally, set expectations for your writers. This includes deadlines, word count, tone of voice, and other requirements. Set clear and specific expectations to ensure there are no surprises later.

Add Essential Topics and Subtopics You Want To Cover

Think of a content brief as a roadmap for your content creation process. Without a clear roadmap, getting lost or going off on a tangent is easy, resulting in a disjointed or confusing piece of content. Including all the essential topics and subtopics in your briefs helps ensure your content stays focused and organized.

For example, suppose you’re writing a blog post about the benefits of exercise. In that case, you might want to discuss subtopics such as the physical benefits of exercise, the mental health benefits, and tips for incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Each of these subtopics would have its own subheadings and key points. Including all the subheadings in your content brief will make life easier for content writers, as they’ll always know which subtopics you want them to cover. They’ll be able to tackle each section individually and ensure they don’t miss any critical points.

Plan Your Calls-to-Actions to Achieve Higher CTR

A call to action (CTA) is essentially a prompt that encourages the reader to take a specific action after reading your content. It could be anything; from signing up for a newsletter, downloading an eBook, or purchasing a product. 

If you want any CTA in your content piece, tell your content writers through a brief so they can introduce it contextually. Making calls to action sound natural is much more complicated if you add them to a finished article.

Describe Your Target Audience to Help Writers Hit The Right Tone

Understanding your audience gives you a chance to tailor your content to their needs, interests, and pain points, ultimately making it more effective and engaging. 

Here are some effective tips for bringing your target audience closer to your content team:

      • Start with demographics: Begin by identifying basic demographic information about your audience. This includes age, gender, location, income level, etc. You’ll gain a clear picture of who you’re speaking to and their general interests and needs.
      • Identify their pain points: Consider what problems your audience is trying to solve or what challenges they might be facing. This will help you create content that addresses those specific pain points and offers valuable solutions. You can even use those pain points to make a headline more compelling.
      • Determine their interests: Think about what your audience likes to do, what they’re passionate about, and what kind of content they consume regularly. This may help you hit the perfect tone and keep them engaged.
      • Consider their stage in the customer journey: Depending on the stage of the customer journey they’re currently in, people may have different needs and interests. For example, someone just discovering your brand or the type of products and services you’re offering might need more educational content.

By understanding their target personas, content producers can deliver content in a way that consumers find helpful and engaging. So don’t rush the process and learn how to write a content brief with detailed information on your target audience.

Why is it important to set an estimated word count when preparing a content brief for your writers?

Include an Estimated Word Count To Ensure In-Depth Coverage of Topics

It’s hard to precisely determine an ideal blog post length. Just make sure it explains the subject in detail.No matter the length, it needs to remain engaging and on point. However, you should never leave your content writers to wonder how long an article they’re working on should be.

First of all, knowing the word count can help you plan out your content more effectively. It helps you understand how much information you can include without overwhelming your readers. You’ll be able to make your content as concise and to the point as possible, which is always good.

Secondly, estimated word counts can help you stay on track with your content calendar. If you know how many words you need to write, you can set reasonable deadlines for yourself or your content writers.

Let’s say you’re creating a content brief for a blog post about the benefits of meditation. By estimating the word count (let’s say, 2000-2500 words), you can ensure that you cover all the essential benefits without getting bogged down in unnecessary details. 

However, remember that you shouldn’t stick to the estimated word count if you feel your readers could benefit from more in-depth coverage of a subject. 

Also, experts from our SEO agency in Chicago suggest that word count might be a ranking factor, so aim to make your articles longer than at least 85 percent of competitors’.

List Out Internal and External Links According to Your SEO Strategy

Including a list of internal and external links in your content briefs is always a bright idea. This way, you’ll help content writers to find the best way to contextually introduce those links and make them fit naturally.

Internal links are links within your website that connect one page to another. They help visitors and search engines navigate your website and find important pages. A solid internal linking strategy helps you ensure search engines understand the importance of your pages. And with internal links, you can also provide readers with additional information they might find helpful. For example, let’s say you’re creating a blog post on the best hiking trails in a specific area. You could include internal links to other pages on your website that provide more information on hiking, such as equipment guides or safety tips. 

On the other hand, external links lead to other websites. They allow you to provide additional information and resources relevant to your content. Including external links in your blog posts is a powerful way to back up your claims. You’ll often find them helpful when you want to provide readers with statistics but don’t have the time or resources to research independently.

By mixing internal and external links, your content producers can create perfect content that will boost the credibility of your website. 

Show Competitors’ Articles So Your Writers Can Write Better Ones

By analyzing competitors’ articles, your writers can gain insight into what’s already out there and what they need to do to stand out. They can identify the strengths and weaknesses of each article and use that information to create something even better. 

For example, let’s say you’re a tech company writing an article about the latest smartphone. Let’s see how including links to competitors’ blog posts in your content brief can help your writers:

      • They’ll get a sense of which angles they need to cover and where gaps in the market might be.
      • Your content producers will see what type of visuals, data, and quotes have been used to make the article more engaging and informative.
      • It will help them avoid accidentally plagiarizing competitors’ content.

This will help your content creators produce something unique and valuable.

Provide Writers with an SEO “Cheat Sheet”

If your content ranks as high as possible on Google, you want your writers to follow the best on-page SEO content optimization practices. While content writers usually understand on-page SEO to some extent, not many of them are experts in this field. That’s why you should provide them with clear instructions on how you approach content optimization. This includes:

      • The number of times you want each keyword to appear throughout the article
      • Instructions on title and meta description lengths
      • Instructions on using headings and subheadings
      • The ideal number of images and tips for their SEO-friendly implementation
      • Estimated number of paragraphs (for example, 2-3 per heading)

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand how to write a content brief effectively. Remember that content briefs are crucial to any successful content marketing strategy. They help you and your team stay organized, focused, and aligned with your goals. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this article, you can create content that engages your audience, meets your goals, and leads to more sales.

And if you’re looking for professionals who can regularly produce high-quality content for your digital marketing channels, we at Alpha Efficiency might be able to help. Schedule a free call to learn how our content marketing efforts can drive your business forward.

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