Content briefs make sure writers have access to all the information they need to create content that goes above and beyond your expectations. They save you from the stress of receiving low-quality content as well as the slew of emails, meetings, rewrites, and frustrations that come with it.
Before we get into how to create a content brief, let’s explore what a content brief is, why they’re so important, and how they fit into a broader content marketing strategy.
A content brief is a set of requirements that guide the writer through the content creation process. The document presents them with the scope of the project as well other necessary information like word count, keywords, target audience, etc.
By all means, content briefs align your content creation with your content strategy, aiding the speedy production of content that consistently meets goals.
As you rush to add the newest SEO automation tool or enhanced signature system to your process-optimizing toolkit, take a step back and consider whether something as simple as a content brief can enhance your content production strategy.
Every team should be using briefs to refine their content creation process. Here’s why:
Writers who haven’t been sufficiently briefed are going to ask questions – and lots of them.
We all know what this means; Tedious back-and-forths, impromptu meetings, rewrites resulting in jarred workflows, and dulled creativity. All this does is make the writing process longer, and waste both their time and yours.
Content briefs arm your team with the answers to all of their questions before they’ve even asked them. Word count, topic depth, story angle – it’s all in one easily-accessible document. They can plan better, research better, and write to a higher quality with fewer workflow disruptions.
Extensive rewrites and revisions cost your business time and money. But whose fault is it when it happens?
It’s easy to blame the writer for content that isn’t up to scratch. But if you don’t provide your writers with enough information, they’re going to struggle to create content that meets requirements.
A comprehensive content brief provides clarity and guidance throughout the entire writing process. They’ll understand the angle you want, anything you especially need including, and should be able to turn out a solid piece the first time. This means that you can spend less time rewriting weak content and more time fine-tuning great content.
And say it is an error on the writer’s side – you can go back to the communications and expectations set out in your content brief to back up your feedback. Perhaps it can help you negotiate further editing costs, eliminate wasted time, or just save some embarrassment from your end.
Remote work is booming in the creative industry. Evidently, according to Upwork, writing and creative design are the two leading types of freelance job positions.
However, consistency issues can arise when you have a team of globally-dispersed writers and no internal resource of unified instructions for content creation. Without content briefs, individuals working on the same project can produce material that simply doesn’t match up.
Content briefs act as a single source of knowledge for your employees – freelance or otherwise – laying down the law for everything from tone of voice to image specifications. As a result, all of your writers can create consistent, unified content.
Unbriefed writers are going to struggle to meet deadlines. If they have to ask lots of questions or perform extensive independent research, it’s going to eat into their writing time. So, naturally, they’re either going to miss deadlines or else frantically rush to meet them, resulting in the submission of low-quality content.
Writers armed with a content brief can jump into the writing process without needing clarification. And, unhindered by confusion, they can produce high-quality drafts by the deadlines you set.
This ultimately improves your lead time. Generally speaking, the lead time definition is the time of any given process from beginning to end. Being able to provide accurate lead times is a great way to improve your content creation process overall.
Are you creating dynamic digital documents or static content? A blog post or a video? A whitepaper or a listicle?
While the type of content you’re creating will determine what goes into your content brief, here are four essential elements to include.
Typical basic requirements are as follows:
Who is the content for? Knowing the target audience can help writers sculpt their tone of voice, content structure, and content depth to suit audience preferences, pain points, and motivations.
Say you want a writer to create a blog post on how to make an electronic signature. Now, this simple topic can be approached in different ways depending on the target audience and their search intent.
A blog post targeting business owners might deep dive into the different types of e-signatures and how different solutions suit different purposes. A blog post targeting job seekers, however, may take a beginner-friendly approach and focus on using a simple tool like Microsoft Word to sign contracts.
Some businesses have more than one target audience. So, make it clear in the content brief which audience your specific piece of content is targeting.
According to a recent SEMrush study, SEO and content quality are the two most essential ingredients for a successful content creation strategy. For writers, this generally means juggling the creation of engaging content with the inclusion of required keywords, which can be hard to pull off.
To ease this process for your writers, provide them with the SEO information they need to succeed. This includes:
By being as clear and helpful as possible, you can make the process of on-page optimization run much smoother.
Regardless of whether you’re creating content for your own business or a client, you need to ensure that each piece of content fits authentically with the brand style.
Creating a content brief is a skill in itself. There are two things that you can do to ease the creation process.
It’s one thing to develop a killer content strategy. But putting it into action is another thing entirely. In the end, if done right, a comprehensive content brief will:
Above all, content briefs are an integral part of the content production process. We see this all the time at Turtl and PandaDoc, where a good brief is the difference between okay writing and a brilliant piece.
But a thorough brief is just the start. As mentioned earlier, investing in your content’s format can elevate your content and its engagement performance to an even higher level. Publishing your work using Turtl’s brain-friendly, interactive platform ensures it gets the attention it deserves. Turtl Docs are even editable after publication, for when that key detail gets left out of the brief!
So, what are you waiting for? Write up a content brief and book a demo to see how your digital documents could look in Turtl to give you an edge over your competition.
Meet the writer: Yauhen Zaremba
Yauhen is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, all-in-one document management tool for almost all types of documents, including this California bill of sale template. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.
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