Creating a good content brief helps ensure you get the content you need to grow your business and attract and entertain your audience. It also makes sure your content creator understands the following:
- Who your business is and what it stands for.
- How your brand communicates.
- What you are trying to achieve.
- Who your audience is.
- What stage in the buying cycle your reader is at.
- What information needs to be included and prioritised.
- How the content production process will run e.g. deadlines and points of contact.
Providing your content team with a great brief helps them deliver the most effective content and it helps ensure the production and publishing process is as streamlined as possible. Ultimately this saves you and the writer time and money and helps maintain focus on the most important goal – delivering original, valuable content that performs. Without a good content brief the writer will struggle to understand what you need from the content and will be forced to fill in the gaps themselves. Subsequently, the chances of you being satisfied with the results are pretty slim.
What should a content briefing include?
A good content briefing should include the following:
- Word count.
- Content type; eg. blog, whitepaper, e-book.
- Document format e.g Word.
- Language (US English, UK English etc).
- Key information about the company including products and services, history, customer types. An elevator pitch or sales sheet is also a valuable inclusion.
- Suggested title.
- Search terms/keywords.
- Purpose of the content.
- Target audience/customer persona.
- Tone of voice/style guide.
- Relevant sources.
- Contact information/details of commissioning editor.
Want more information about communicating who your customers are? Check out our tips for creating effective customer personas.
The writer might also benefit from additional information such as a suggested outline, information to prioritise, ideas on a call to action (perhaps one that has worked well in the past), or some links to content that they would like to emulate (or not). Anything that will help them write the best possible content for you.
Generally, it is better to give too much information rather than not enough, but try not to overload your writer with dozens of resources to refer to and stacks of instructions. Three hours of trawling through research materials is unlikely to put them in the right mood to create fabulous content for you! Above all else, think about what materials and information you would need to talk authoritatively about your company and offering and what you stand for, then supply them in a digestible format to your content team. If you’re new to writing content briefs, try to put ample time aside to get it right in the first instance. Once you have developed a good template you can repurpose and refine it for future briefs, saving you time and no doubt delighting your content writers!
If you’re unsure about whether your content brief covers everything the writer or agency needs, just ask. Your content team is committed to helping you and your business succeed and will be more than happy to work alongside you in this important part of your evolving content marketing strategy. And remember, if you get really stuck, just ask an expert at your content marketing agency who will be happy to guide you through it.