If you’re a content manager, you know the importance of creating a proper content brief. A comprehensive brief should include all the necessary factors that need to be covered in an article, such as target audience, tone & voice, backlinks, steps to follow, and more.
By creating a brief, you can ensure that your writers are on the same page and understand what is expected from them.
And not only that, building your content brief is a way to document your content creation. Did you know that 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content strategy? But the best brands do.
In this post, I’ll share the key details to create an awesome content brief for your writers so that they can write better. Keep reading to get the perfect blog post from your writers every time.
Creating an awesome content brief
To create a content brief, you need to start with a simple document and make it available to your writers so that they can refer to it.
Include the following details in your brief.
1. Target audience
The target audience is one of the most important factors to consider while creating a content brief.
And it’s important to share this with your writer because it will dictate who they will write for. For example, if you’re creating content about money management, you’d write about it differently for young people than you would for retirees.
Including a target audience helps writers to visualize their readers, and it will make the content more personalized – this will improve readership and engagement on your site.
2. Tone of voice
The tone of voice is another essential part of the content brief. This will set the overall feel of the article, so it’s essential to make sure that you communicate this clearly to the writer.
For example, if you’re creating a blog post, you may want a fun and casual tone; Or if you’re creating an informational page, you may want a more formal and professional tone.
So, include a tone of voice if you want your writers to deliver precisely the right type of content.
3. Keywords: primary and secondary
Your content brief should also include a list of keywords you would like the writer to focus on.
These should include both primary and secondary keywords, as this will help boost your search engine rankings.
It’s important to choose keywords carefully, as they need to be relevant to the topic and have enough search traffic to make it worthwhile.
Your writer will include the keyword in the title, subheadings, in the introduction, and throughout the text in a natural way. And knowing what keywords to use also helps them understand the intent of the post, which will make for better writing.
4. Internal links
Internal links are a great way to improve the user experience and provide more value to your readers.
Adding internal links helps search engines index all your blog content. And it engages your readers by directing them to relevant posts.
Make sure that you instruct writers to include internal links in posts. Mention how many links to add and what kind, and you can specify the exact posts to link to.
5. External links
External links are another great way to provide valuable information for your readers. These are links to posts and pages outside your website.
Including external links can show that you’re sharing authentic and trustworthy content. Especially when you link to news sites, prominent media publications, scientific articles, and statistics.
Mention how many external links your writer should add and also what kind of sources they should use when referencing other posts.
6. Steps to follow
Including specific steps for the writer to follow in their content brief is a great way to ensure that you get the best possible article from them.
For example, if you have a step-by-step guide. You can include details like the order of steps, which images should be used in each step, what text should be included, and any other relevant information.
Add this type of information, especially when the topic is confusing or vague. You’ll help save time and improve the quality of the write-up.
7. Checklist before submission
Including a checklist for writers to go through before submitting their articles is a great way to ensure that everything is ready for publication.
This can include things like ensuring that all the necessary keywords have been used, making sure the article is of high quality, checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes, and formatting the article in the right way.
8. Word count
It’s important to include a word count requirement in the content brief. If you’re writing a guest post for another website, you must respect their stated word count.
Nowadays, most publications ask for a minimum word count of 1000. And some ask for as many as 2500 words per post.
Providing your writer with a solid word count will help them plan their content better. A higher word count means that they will have the ability to dive into detail and add examples and context.
While a shorter word count will compel them to write more concisely and get to the point.
9. Number of images and types
Including the number of images and types of images is also essential. Visual content can be a great way to break up text and keep readers engaged, but it’s important to know how many you will need in advance.
You should also specify what types of images you would like (e.g., illustrations, photographs, screenshots, and so on). This will give your writers an idea of what they should be looking for.
Some editors and publications have strict guidelines about using stock images, screenshots, and original pictures. And they often require that you share the source of these images and ensure that you have permission to use them.
So, provide detailed guidelines about the visuals of your content.
10. Submission deadline
A deadline gives writers the ability to plan their content creation efforts.
Some writers do their content writing in phases. They build an outline in the first phase, build the final draft next, and take a day or two to edit their writing.
So, make sure you mention a deadline to help them get organized. Having a deadline is also important because it will ensure that your content production and distribution efforts are on track.
Bear in mind that writers may have other commitments which might affect their ability to meet your deadline.
So, when setting a submission date, ensure you provide enough time for any unexpected delays and hurdles.
11. Formatting guidelines
Every website has its own guidelines for structuring and formatting articles.
For instance, you may want to include specific headings and subheadings, separators between paragraphs, the use of colors and other visual elements, links to relevant sources, and other formatting elements.
Providing detailed guidelines about the format of your content will help writers know exactly what they need to do to make it look great.
These guidelines should also include instructions about how the article should be structured, what kind of flow it should have, and how much information should be included in each section.
Including all of these elements in the content of the brief will help writers write faster and more accurately.
This will help you maintain consistency across all of your content and ensure that each article looks and reads in the same way.
You also want to mention whether content should be written using UK or US English.
12. SEO guidelines
Today, incorporating SEO practices like using the right keywords in a post is essential to impact search engine results.
So, make sure you provide your writers with detailed SEO guidelines. This includes the main keyword they should focus on but also the secondary and related keywords they should include throughout their writing.
Also, mention related keywords and terms you think the post should include. You could even write about using specific terms in the headings and subheadings, the meta description, and the alt text for images.
Adding SEO instructions ensures that your post is optimized for search engines and for real readers.
It will also help your writers build posts that increase traffic and engagement on your site.
13. Expected standards of content quality
It’s a good idea to include guidelines about the quality standards you want a post to meet.
This means mentioning factors like:
- Good grammar and punctuation
- Adding information sources like links, references from reputed sources, statistics, etc.
Including these standards in your content brief will ensure that the post meets all of your expectations and is free from errors or inaccuracies. It will also dictate the standards you hold for writers, and this will affect the quality and consistency of your content.
14. Links to relevant articles and resources for research
While writers will do research on their own, they need references to help create content that matches your needs.
Include links to relevant websites, articles, or other resources in your content brief.
This will help writers quickly find the information they need and save them time during research.
It will also ensure that the content they write is reliable and accurate.
15. Format your content brief
The final step is to format your content brief.
In some cases, your content brief will be very detailed and have a long list of instructions to follow. It’s a good idea to format and structure your content brief, so it’s easier to read.
I suggest creating tables and highlighting important terms with bold formatting, italics, and highlights.
You could also include visual elements like images, screenshots, or flowcharts to make the brief easier to understand.
By following the steps, you can ensure that your content brief is comprehensive and practical. This will help bring clarity to the writing process and encourage writers to create content of high quality that meets your requirements.
Having a well-structured content brief will help reduce misunderstandings between yourself and your writer while increasing efficiency in the long run.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that content briefs should be updated regularly to keep up with changes in trends or goals of the project. With this in mind, take the time to review existing content briefs regularly, so they are always up-to-date.
Guest Author: Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.