You hire an experienced freelance writer to produce content promoting your business. The writer delivers the content, but it's nowhere near what you expect.
What went wrong? Was the writer not good enough?
Many of us have experienced this situation. The root cause is usually a poor content brief. The writer might be good at researching and writing engaging content but doesn’t know your business or industry inside out, nor do they exactly know what you want. A content brief provides all the information necessary for your writer to understand your business and deliver content that meets your expectations.
Content creation is crucial for business growth. Regularly publishing useful content is essential to attract customers, build trust, and boost sales. 82% of content marketers agree that a content brief helps you create the high-quality content your audience wants to read. A poor content brief—or worse: no content brief—hinders your writers in delivering great content and delays the writing process with frequent rewrites.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how to design an effective content brief that will drastically improve your working relationship with your writers and get you better outcomes.
A content brief is a document that provides instructions for the writer to deliver compelling content—like blog posts, case studies, ebooks, or product pages. It is a document that clarifies your expectations and is especially important to produce high-ranking SEO content.
A good content brief familiarizes your writer with your business. It provides the information necessary to write a compelling article that will educate your audience and drive them to take action. It usually includes basic requirements like word count, title, and keywords while highlighting the goal, target audience, and essential guidelines to create compelling content. It provides all the information the writer needs to get a good first draft, reduces the number of revisions, and saves precious time.
The key elements that make a good content brief are:
Good content briefs are also an important factor in drawing talent. Top writers rarely prefer to associate with organizations that don’t follow a clear process or provide well-written content briefs. Here's a good content brief example:
A good content brief should incorporate all the elements listed above. So let’s take a closer look at each one.
A writer cannot write good content unless they understand its purpose. Help your writer become familiar with your company by providing a brief description of what you do and what you’re trying to achieve with the content piece.
Target audiences are people you intend to connect with to promote your product or service. Understanding audience helps the writer decide the tone and craft the right message, which drives engagement.
Each piece of content is created to serve a particular purpose. Hence, word count in line with SEO-best practices plays a key role in targeting specific audiences, so be upfront with your writers about article length.
Further, a style guide maintains your brand’s identity and voice when working with different writers. Provide your style guide to writers to ensure consistency. If you don't have one, it's important to create a style guide.
Strategically using keywords is essential to produce an SEO-friendly piece that increases organic traffic. Primary keywords help writers understand the core Google search query that readers have entered before finding the article. Keywords let your writers know what phrases to use and how often to use them.
Secondary keywords give the writer information on what else to include to capture organic traffic on related searches the reader might have made before finding your article.
A survey conducted on content marketers has rated keywords as a must-have element in a content brief.
Effective keyword research is crucial for ensuring that good content finds its audience. Letterdrop’s keyword research tool suggests keywords to use to improve your content.
The Overview is where you can provide all your miscellaneous details. Points you want to cover, loose structure, and other information that only you know. This is probably the most important part of the article since it gives the writer knowledge that’s unique to your company. Anyone can do research online and create a blog post that’s an amalgamation of other articles. But that’s not uniquely useful, so Google will never rank it as highly as something that is. By sharing your own unique insights, you’ll be the only person on the internet answering these questions well and will be ranked appropriately high.
Make sure to share your earned secrets—things you can't find elsewhere on Google—things you only know from spending thousands of hours with your customers and other stakeholders in your industry. This is what helps your content stand out—strong opinions and insights that no one else has.
Include any personal experiences here as well. Things like customer interviews, case studies, and problems you’ve solved at your company. These shared experiences can help readers relate to you better and help you come off as an expert.
Your writer might be very good at researching, but it’s still helpful to set expectations by sharing reference articles that capture your intent. If you want to include a few selected statistics or refer to a particular article, sharing those links can help your writer understand what you’re looking for. Include statistics from original surveys performed by your company or links to third-party surveys that can strengthen your argument.
The primary aim of content creation is to reach out to more people and build an audience. SEO is one of the best organic channels for audience building. Suggest tips to improve your SEO, such as internal links, questions to answer because they’re featured on the search results page, content structure (headings and subheadings), and visuals to include in the article. Provide SEO tools to help your writer create content that can reach the top of search results. Letterdrop has an SEO analyzer that can do this for you.
People don’t want to read content jammed with text. Visuals make your content more appealing and help your audience recall information and remember you. They’re also great for sharing on social media and are often cited by others, helping you generate backlinks. This helps improve your domain authority. A 2021 survey by Orbit Media Studios demonstrates how visuals influence search results.
Competition is everywhere, be it in business or writing content for your business. Any content on the internet has to compete with hundreds of pieces of similar content. So it's important to understand the approach of the top competitors to deliver better content.
Review your top five competitors and analyze factors such as word count, keyword usage, and section headers. This gives a clearer picture of how you can deliver content that ranks better. Include this information in the content brief to assist your writer in creating content that can compete with others. But remember that, at the end of the day, your message matters most. Don’t get bogged down in details and technicalities. Instead, focus on good storytelling and provide useful information that answers your reader's questions better than anyone else does.
Letterdrop tools help you easily analyze your competitors and create high-ranking content.
Expressing the point of your article in a single sentence helps your writer stay focused. If a writer understands the takeaway that the reader needs, then that writer can direct all their energy and arguments to drive that point home.
You can also generate a content brief using Letterdrop. Here's an example of how this tool helps you create one.
The content brief varies depending on company goals and the target audience. However, designing a good content brief paves the way for good content creation. The next time you develop an idea for a piece of content, make sure all the elements essential for a good content brief are included. Your writers will thank you, and you'll be happier with their output.
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