Writing a good content brief is the first and perhaps most important step to building a successful written content marketing campaign that your clients and their customers will love. Click on the button below to use and customize our proven content marketing brief template or keep reading to build one from scratch!
When a client knocks on the door of your marketing or content agency, you’ll first want to set up a content strategy with the help of thorough research and SEO.
Following this research, content pillars are mapped out into content plans and then scheduled into content calendars. This is where a content brief comes in to brief your writers. The content brief makes sure that your content is being created with the strategy in mind, and becomes the link between the research, the planning, and high-quality content creation that drives traffic and grows your reach. Content marketing briefs are specifically set up for written content that might take the form of blog posts, relevant articles, videos, podcasts, e-books, webinars, and other media.
Implementing a content writing brief will improve your marketing efforts and offer these 3 benefits:
If you are a content strategist, you might be aware of that frustrating feeling when a piece of content comes back from a writer not at all aligned with the project objectives. Your writer however is frustrated as revisions pile up more work due to miscommunication from the start. Content briefs end this frustration from both sides and align strategists and writers on the bigger picture, ending once and for all the dreaded back-and-forth.
Content briefs and content brief templates help your team of strategists to get quality output at scale with consistent results. Thanks to full alignment with campaign goals and campaign specifics, as well as efficient content-brief setup thanks to proven templates, your team of strategists and writers are set up for high-quality content production at scale.
To ensure your clients are getting the most out of their investment in content, it’s paramount to produce content on time, on strategy, and on budget. So to avoid scope creep, do not leave the entire production of your content pieces in the hands of freelance editors or writers, as they may not have an insight into the “why” behind what they are doing. This is where content briefs set up by content strategists can make all the difference and is worth the investment.
Here at HolaBrief, we believe that after numerous research and testing we came up with the perfect content and article brief outline for content creation, content outsourcing, and product development.
We’ll walk you through the most important criteria that we believe should be included, and explain further how to achieve the best result. Later on, we provide you with a free downloadable content brief template, so read on:
In this section of the brief, describe the campaign in detail, giving an overall summary of what is and what isn’t needed.
Make sure you cover what the content campaign is about, what the vision for the campaign is; any specific details your writer or editor needs to know, like Do’s and Don’ts, deliverables, important logistical information such as legal constraints, and of course the deadline of the project.
This section should answer these 2 questions:
A crucial part of the content brief – that too often is overlooked – is to describe the goal of the content piece you want the writer to create. Is the goal to create a high-value resource to capture leads that are further along the buying funnel? Or do you want to offer educational content with little mention of your service or product?
In any case, make sure your writer is fully aware of what the intended goal is and how they should be selling your service to optimize the content and its CTA.
Don’t assume that any writer you work with already knows the audience you are targetting, because no one knows your target audience quite as you do. This section is to make sure your writer is up to date on which audience you are targetting and why. If you are working with a professional writer, they will make sure everything they write about is targeted towards your specific audience, from topic to keyword suggestions and in-post examples.
In HolaBrief you can set up your custom User Persona or Buyer Persona within your content brief that will answer these criteria:
Editors or writers work with many different clients. So also here, don’t assume they also know your competitive landscape. It is crucial however for them to know, to make sure they don't link to any direct competitors.
In HolaBrief we have an interactive competitor diagram that can be easily filled out with a drag-and-drop interface to map direct and indirect competitors for more clarity and inspiration. Try it for free!
When briefing your writers, they should also be up to date on your brand voice. Is it a more professional, expert approach created to appeal to more experts in your industry? Or can it be friendly and approachable with a touch of humor?
Maybe you even have a list of adjectives that describes the tone of voice clearly for your writers or you set up a brand-voice spider diagram in HolaBrief. Whatever you choose to use, know that the tone matters!
Every content campaign needs different requirements that cross interdisciplinary teams, from creative to videographers, to developers. Including specifications from the start will help you provide a high quality content piece that also fits the client’s budget, timeline, and most importantly, business goals. Technical requirements for a content brief can include:
This is an absolute must for any content brief. Otherwise, how can your writer know for which kind of keywords you’d like your piece of content to rank for? Try using a mixture of your seed keywords + long-tail keywords.
For this criteria, you first want to do some research into the main frustrations and questions your target audience has. Ask on social media or research your direct competitors' content. Maybe your writer might even have topic suggestions that could elevate your content piece to a higher level.
This one is tricky as many different platforms state different numbers. As a rule of thumb, the optimal length should correlate with how broad your topic is. If it’s an expert niche topic, then it needs a longer read. If however, the piece talks about a broader topic, there is no need for too much detail. Keep in mind the average length for Google’s first page results is around 800 words.
Should there be links to other articles, or to certain content or products? List them here so your writer can shape the content around it instead of pasting it in later.
How should the result be delivered? Is it a simple Word document the writer sends you via mail or should they upload it to your briefing platform like HolaBrief for example where you can easily upload files?
Also, make sure your writer is up to date on any milestones your content campaign will go through like meetings, revisions, final delivery date, etc. This will keep them motivated and productive!
A well-written content marketing brief should at least contain the 7 sections we described above. What else should be included are examples of content you like and sometimes even a visual direction for images they can use. Anything short of that and you run the risk of creating a content piece on shaky foundations with too many revisions resulting in scope creep.
If you are looking for a good example of a content brief for any type of written campaign create a HolaBrief account and discover our many proven brief templates which you can customize to your own needs and requirements.
Here’s a small sample of what you are going to get:
Creating a well-written content brief takes time, collaboration, and effort. Thanks to our years of research with 1000s of agencies, you now have proven brief templates at your disposal! Building your content marketing brief inside a living document using HolaBrief, this step becomes much more efficient. No excuses anymore for setting up content briefs at your agency!
Each department can add, comment or edit parts of the brief (at the same time) before it’s used as a blueprint for the writers or sent over for review to the client. They don’t even have to create an account in HolaBrief, so getting input from your clients has never been easier.
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