Creating the right content is a crucial ingredient to a successful digital marketing strategy, and without it, all your hard work will go to waste. Even with high numbers of traffic and a low bounce rate, interesting and relevant content is required, otherwise your website will struggle to benefit from the strategy you have in place. Therefore, it is important that you don’t rush content creation and make sure that you get it right.
To create the best possible content, many companies use skilled outsourcers, which means each piece of content needs a content brief. However, in many cases, content can only be as good as the brief the writer is provided with. So, it is important that you create an informative and clear brief that conveys exactly the type of content that you are looking for. With that in mind, we have put together the ultimate guide to writing a content brief and everything that it should include to ensure the best content for your strategy.
Without fail, every content brief should include the content length so that the writer knows exactly how many words they have to work with. While you may not think that it matters how long a piece of content is, it can make all the difference to website traffic and readability. Users are largely attracted to content that looks good and offers them the information they are looking for. Therefore, if you make content too short, then it may not be detailed enough, but if your content is too long then it may bore users and lead them to click off the site.
So, it is important to convey to the writer how long you want the content to be. If your content is part of a link building project, then you may need to contact the placement site to find out their content length guidelines.
A content brief is not complete without the inclusion of keyword suggestions. If you do not include the keywords that you want in the piece of content, then the writer won’t be aware of which keywords you want the piece to rank for. Therefore, we recommend that you have completed all necessary keyword research ahead of creating your brief, so that you know exactly what keywords should be included to help strengthen your optimization strategy.
Tone of Voice
Every website, company, and brand has a different tone of voice, which refers to the type of language that is used. It is important that the tone of voice is consistent among different pieces of content, even if the writer differs. Therefore, each content brief needs to make the tone of voice clear to the writer. There are many different tones of voice, from highly technical and educational, to fun, approachable, and easy to read. The tone of voice will largely depend on the audience that your content is aimed at. We would recommend including a previous example of the tone of voice you are looking for.
It is also important that you make it clear to the writer what the intended purpose of the content is. For example, if it is part of a wider campaign or strategy, then be sure to include this within the content brief. For a lot of website copy and content, the intended result is to drive traffic and encourage engagement. Therefore, if you can make this clear to the writer then they can make the most of techniques such as CTAs. This will not only help to drive users towards your website and content but give them a path to the rest of the content that you have available.
No matter how good a piece of content is, if it does not engage the reader then it is unlikely to attract and hold their attention. For example, a big block of text isn’t that appeasing to the eye. Therefore, you should consider how you can make it more visual and include this in your content brief. Whether you have a design team on hand to create an infographic to help support the content that is being created, or you want some images featured in the text, you should include them in the brief.
However, if you do want images to be included then you should state in the brief the sort of images would be suitable and where the writer should source them from. For example, Unsplash, Shutterstock, and Pixabay.
While it would be nice if there was no competition for the topic or subject that your content is based on, with over 1.7 billion pieces of content currently on the internet, this is just not the case. Therefore, as part of your content brief, you may want to consider what competition is out there and the impact that this competition could have on the effectiveness of the piece.
Providing a section in the content brief about competition could include some of the keyword research that you are targeting, as well as similar content that has already been published by competing websites.
Even though a good writer will spend a considerable amount of time researching a subject before writing quality content on it, it doesn’t mean that you can’t steer them in the right direction. If you know the angle that you want the piece to take, then providing some extra reading will help the writer to create what you have in mind. The more research and background you provide, the higher likelihood that the finished piece will align with your requirements.
The research that you provide can include links to competitors content, recent statistics, related blog posts, and recent studies. Adding a few extra research resources to your content brief doesn’t mean doing all the work for them. Instead, it means you are giving them a jump start to create the best piece possible.
You should never make the mistake of assuming that a writer does not need a brief when creating a piece of content for you. Instead, by learning how to put together a detailed and accurate brief, more effective content can be created to support your existing strategy.