Content Brief: How to Make One and Track the Results

Content Brief: How to Make One and Track the Results

Are you trying to create content briefs for writers, but not sure where (or how) to start?

Content briefs are a great way of making sure everyone on your team is on the same page–even if you’re working with an extended team via consultants or freelance writers.

They provide your writer with a good outline of your vision for the post, page, or article that you want written.

But how do you come up with a quality content brief that accurately shows the writer what you have in mind WITHOUT taking so much time that you could’ve just written the piece yourself?

That’s exactly what we’ll cover today.

Because, in this post, we’re going to teach you how content briefs specifically help your marketing efforts and how to create briefs that work.

But first, let’s get clear on what a content brief is so we’re all on the same page.

What Is a Content Brief?

what is a content brief

Unless you are going to be writing every single piece of content for your brand yourself, you’ll need to create content briefs. These documents help you to delegate content writing to other people by laying out exactly what is expected for each piece.

A good content brief means that the writer has all the information they need to write a piece that:

  • Targets the right keywords
  • Fits your brand voice and target audience
  • Fulfills the desired purpose (educating, entertaining, selling, etc.)
  • Includes any necessary calls to action
  • Is formatted and structured correctly
  • Covers all the vital points
  • Contains any relevant information about your company

It also lays out your expectations for what the writer will deliver and in what format. So, you might include a word count and a summary of any additional needs, such as images, graphics, statistics, meta descriptions, and links.

How Content Briefs Help Your Marketing Efforts

how content briefs help your marketing

When you're outsourcing content writing, even if it's just to a member of your own team, a good content brief saves you time and money.

By clearly setting out the expectations and information needed to create the piece, it ensures that you and the writer are on the same page. And that means you are much more likely to get back something that fits your needs.

Content writers are usually great researchers. But they aren’t psychic. Rather than keep them guessing, provide a thorough brief and save them time in trying to figure out your needs. They’ll be able to get the piece back to you much more quickly.

This is especially important if you're paying by the hour.

But constantly having to go back and forth to answer questions, clarify requirements, and ask for revisions is time-consuming for you too. A clear brief will cut down on all of this, meaning you can concentrate on your other marketing efforts.

If you're working with lots of different writers, content briefs are vital in keeping the formatting and voice consistent across all your content.

Content briefs also help you with your SEO strategy. By including a list of your target keywords, and perhaps suggestions of headings too, you keep the content focused on improving your position in the SERPs.

This means you are unlikely to end up with a lot of content that is just filler. As you write your content brief, you’ll need to have a clear idea of how the pieces will help your brand’s marketing.

It can be tempting to fall into the trap of creating content just because that is what everyone else is doing. But needing to write a structured brief for each blog post and article will keep you focused on your end goal. And your marketing efforts will improve as a result.

How to Make a Content Brief

how to make a content brief

Hopefully, you are now clear on why content briefs are vital to your marketing strategy. But what does a good content brief include?

It helps to create a template for your content briefs so that you consistently include all the important information. What that is will vary from company to company.

But you are looking to hit that sweet spot between giving writers too little to go on and overwhelming them with so much information that they never read it all.

Some suggestions for what your content briefs might include are:

1. An Overview

This section is essential and should be a part of any content brief, especially when working with a new writer. It briefly lays out all the information they’ll need to write the piece, including:

  • Title
  • Approximate word count (or exact word count, if you are paying by the word)
  • Target audience
  • Type of content: blog post, article, white paper, social media post, landing page, email copy, etc.
  • Intent: inform, describe, entertain, engage, convince, sell, etc.
  • Tone of voice: formal or informal? First-person, second-person, or third-person?
  • Links to examples of your existing content, if any
  • Or your brand guidelines, if you have no existing content
  • A brief description of what you are looking for, including an outline of headings and subheadings
  • The deadline for the first draft
  • What format you want it submitted in

If you want the writer to source images, include links to other content, or write a call to action as part of the piece, you should explain that in your overview too.

2. SEO Section

Assuming that one of your aims is to get your content found via organic searches, you’ll also want to include a brief section on SEO.

This should include your primary keyword and a short list of secondary keywords. Don’t go overboard here – if your list of keywords is too long or overly specific, your writer will struggle to give you a piece that is also engaging for human readers.

If you have guidelines on keyword density and a linking strategy, include that here too. And you should also let the writer know if you are expecting them to write a meta description or alt. text for images.

You might also include a list of the top links competing for your primary keyword so that your writer knows what the competition is like.

And, as search engines become more focused on voice search and answering user queries, you might include a list of related questions. Indicate if these should be used as subheadings or should be included in the body text.

3. Research

This section doesn’t need to be lengthy – most writers will carry out their own research anyway. But if you want them to use certain sources, include statistics, or cite specific articles, you should put the details of those here.

You should also give them some guidance on how you want sources cited. Do you want external links in the text? Should they include a list of references at the end? How should they format it? If academic studies are required, which citation system do you want them to use?

And let them know too if there are sources that you want to avoid citing. That might be articles written by your main competitors or those that don’t have much authority, like Wikipedia.

4. Summary of Your Company

Finally, if you are working with external writers, especially for the first time, include some information about your company in your content briefs.

This should be kept short and sweet – no writer needs a run-down of your five-year strategy. But they will need to know what your company does, where it is based, who its customer base is, and any key features of relevant products or services.

Tracking Your Content Marketing’s ROI

Coming up with content briefs is one thing. Now you need to know if your content is doing what it’s supposed to: getting you conversions or sales.

The question is, how do you create marketing reports that gives you a clear (but fast) understanding of your return on investment (ROI)?

For that, there’s no better tool than Metrics Watch:

metrics watch homepage

Metrics Watch is one of the best marketing report software on the market. It allows you to quickly and easily create marketing reports that source your key performance indicators (KPIs) from your favorite channels, such as:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • AdWords
  • Facebook (posts and organic)
  • LinkedIn (posts and organic)
  • Instagram (posts and organic)
  • And more…

With its drag and drop builder, creating custom reports with all of your company’s or clients’ KPIs can be done in minutes–even if you have no coding experience or “tech skills.”

And the best part is that you can share these reports with the people who need them with the least amount of friction.

That’s because unlike most marketing report builders available, Metrics Watch doesn’t send reports via PDF or a 3rd-party URL.

Instead, reports are sent directly to your recipients’ inbox, automatically on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This gives the right people the data they need in a format they already know.

Ready to see it in action for yourself? Click below to start your 100% risk-free Metrics Watch account today (no credit card required):

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And that’s it! This has been an overview of content briefs, what they are, and how to create one.

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out the following resources:

These articles will have even more information for you on how to better track your marketing efforts to see a larger ROI.

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