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How to Create an Outstanding Content Brief [Free Template]

How to Create an Outstanding Content Brief [Free Template]
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    A quality brief can make the difference between a mediocre result and a text ready to be published. Spending time developing a content brief template will save you hours of editing and multiple corrections.

    This is particularly relevant when you delegate content creation to third parties. To be productive, you need to make sure that the pieces will meet all your expectations. Creating a template can be a great advantage when you write the articles yourself because it will help you organize your ideas and stay focused.

    Our project manager, Anna Wezwraj, shared the secrets to creating an outstanding content brief with us:

    “A content brief should contain all the important details that the participants of a project should know. Its format should be simple and user-friendly for those involved. It should also be brief but very complete. It should summarize all the information needed to develop a piece of content. It should specify aspects such as length, metadata, keywords, preferred style and indication of unwanted content or prohibited references.”

    She also emphasized the desirability of providing the general structure of the article or attaching examples of successful copy, “A reference piece will surely help to better understand the client’s needs.”

    Free Download: Content Brief Template

    This free content brief template is a great starting point for building your own custom content briefs.

    Content Brief Template Screen

    Useful data for creating a content brief template

    1. Suggested or working title and subject

    Providing a title suggestion will help the writer understand the topic or angle for approaching the topic. It is important that you inform the writer in the content brief template:

    • What is the purpose of the piece?
    • What angle or perspective should you adopt?
    • What is the message you want to give your audience?

    Defining the topic of your publications is a crucial factor for the success of your content. If you are short on ideas or have doubts about the interests of your audience, you can find inspiration in:

    • Your competitors’ content: analyze what keywords they use and try to identify content gaps;
    • Research what are the most frequent search terms on Google and the most frequent queries about your industry on forums and pages such as Quora;
    • Use a content ideation tool to spot trends and breaking news in your industry;
    • Conduct a survey through your social network platforms to identify relevant topics for your audience;
    • Optimize and rework the content published by your competitors, adding updated data and valuable information;
    • Ask your writer to provide suggestions, based on his or her experience and knowledge of the industry.

    2. Examples of competitors and links to similar articles

    There is an old saying: “Setting an example is not the main way to influence others; it is the only way.” The phrase is sometimes attributed to Einstein, but its authorship has not been proven. Nevertheless, it is certainly a recommendation worthy of a genius.

    It is much easier to explain to your employees what the expected result is if you accompany your words with a concrete example or two.

    Provide samples of well-written articles with the structure, tone of voice and messages you are seeking to achieve. Draw on both your own copy and that of your competitors to guide the writer in creating new pieces. Include these in your content brief template.

    3. Word count: recommended extension for SEO

    Although experts have debunked myths about the ideal length of content pieces, it is advisable to set certain parameters. Of course, quality is more important than article length, but each format has its standards. Reading on digital platforms is very different from reviewing texts on paper.

    By specifying an approximate word count, you will also be informing your supplier, more or less, of the depth of the content. That is, the level of detail with which the subject should be covered.

    That said, it is worth citing the results of the most recent State of Content Marketing from SEMrush. The research indicates that articles longer than 3,000 words outperform shorter articles in terms of traffic.

    Although it may seem contradictory, both statements point in the same direction. The higher performance of long articles is the result of a more extensive development of the topics covered. Remember that it is not about writing more but about writing better.

    4. Objective

    Reserve a prominent space in your content brief template to state the objective of the project or piece. What is the aim to be achieved with this content? The writer should be aware of the purpose of the content and the expected outcome. It is a common mistake to overlook this information.

    A post aimed at generating leads should have a direct and obvious call to action. On the other hand, if you want to generate organic traffic, your brand’s approach should be more subtle. Share this information with the writer for better targeted and more effective content pieces.

    5. Target customer

    Don’t forget to include a profile of your target audience in your content brief template. Better yet, if you have defined your buyer persona, share this description with the writer. Knowing who you are talking to is vital in order to tailor your message to the audience’s language and adopt the right tone of voice.

    Apart from the demographic description of your potential customers, provide information about:

    • Buyer’s personality
    • Purchase motivations
    • Needs satisfied by your product or service
    • Points of contact with your brand or company
    • Niche details

    6. Keywords

    Keywords are the fuel that will allow you to move to the top positions in search engines. It is imperative to research which terms rank best and to define what your primary and secondary keywords will be.

    It is also advisable to indicate the desired keyword volume in the content brief template. It is important to clarify that there is no perfect density, as these are parameters that change frequently. Currently, the WordPress plugin Rank Math recommends a density between 1 and 1.5%.

    Be sure to include keywords in headings, body text, URL and meta description. Use the keywords with the highest volume in the headings to improve your ranking. For headings, incorporate the average volume ones and leave the lower volume ones for the body text.

    7. Metadata

    Metadata are tools used to inform search engines about the content of pages or files. In this sense, they function as a kind of index that allows information to be classified and located. It goes without saying that they are essential elements for SEO.

    There are some considerations about these tags, especially related to their length. In the case of the meta description, it should ideally be between 140 and 160 words. Meta titles should not exceed 65 characters for display on computers. On mobile devices, the maximum is 50 characters. If you write longer texts, the search engine results page will not display the excess words.

    Include a line in your content brief template specifying the data. If you work with an expert content production service provider, you can delegate the creation of metadata to them.

    8. Tone of voice

    Brands, like humans, have (or should have) an unmistakable voice of their own. The tone of voice is a reflection of the brand identity and, therefore, must be consistent. It manifests itself through the words, turns of phrase and expressive resources used in its communications.

    Tone of voice can help you build emotional connections with your audience and differentiate yourself from competitors. It is important to hit the right tone for this to be successful with your audience.

    Your content provider should know how your brand speaks so as to produce authentic and credible copy. In your content brief template, you can describe, in broad strokes, the style. Be aware that these are often vague terms and subject to interpretation by the recipient. So the best way to convey this information is to provide examples of previously developed content.

    9. Language

    If your company operates in several markets, you should include a section in the template indicating the preferred language for your content brief. This will avoid misunderstandings, especially if you work with a supplier that can provide writing services in different languages.

    Moreover, in order for customers to identify with your brand, you should also pay attention to regional speech variations. Thus, wherever applicable, it is advisable to specify whether there is a need for adapting content to British or American English, general Spanish or Latin American.

    10. Delivery date

    Deadlines can be a real source of stress for publication managers. Set realistic dates, considering the time you may need to edit copy and request adjustments. Place this information prominently in your content brief template.

    11. Description or outline of the content piece

    Developing an outline of the publication is highly recommended. It is important that the writer is fully aware of your expectations. If you have a pre-designed format, add it to your content brief template and fill in the details.

    When you work regularly with a writer, you can provide this information verbally, supplementing it with general brush strokes regarding the treatment of the subject if necessary.

    12. Specific instructions

    In this section of the content brief template, you should indicate specific considerations of the project or article. This is a space where you can, for example, warn about sources or content to be avoided, indicate prohibited words and specify the number of internal and external links. Not only will this save you correction time, but it will also optimize the content creation process.

    Although these recommendations are more than sufficient to aid you in creating a content brief template, we want to make it even easier for you. Download our template and fill in the fields with your project information. You will get a customized brief template in minutes.

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    Although these recommendations are more than sufficient to aid you in creating a content brief template, we want to make it even easier for you. Download our template and fill in the fields with your project information. You will get a customized brief template in minutes.

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