The Ingredients Of A Good Content Brief

A solid content marketing strategy can do wonders for your business. From driving high-quality leads to ensuring consistency in brand tone and voice, there’s a world of benefits that come with regularly churning out great content that drives profitable customer action and real business results. 

However, when it comes to content production, simply going to your agency or creative partners and asking them to write a blog/whitepaper/opinion piece without any further instructions simply won’t cut it. Just like any other type of project, content also deserves a detailed, well-crafted brief so you can get what you need right off the bat. 

Want to reduce multiple rounds of edits and make the most of your content agency’s time and expertise? Here’s everything you need to know about putting together the perfect content brief that fits your business needs: 

The type of content and length 

The most basic ingredient of a content brief is the type of content you need for your business. 

If you’re not too sure of the different types that exist, the audiences they speak to, and the purposes they serve, here is a quick primer for you. Understanding the differences between social media copy, thought leadership articles and opinion pieces, op-eds, infographics, and data-driven whitepapers will help move things along quickly and help you in communicating with the content team you’re working with.

Knowing the length you’re looking for can play a big role in the type of content produced, and the more specific you can be about length, the better. Of course, there is a length difference between short-form and long-form content, but there is also a big difference in approach between a 300-word blog and a 1,000-word blog. As a result, you need to be clear about whether you want a 140-character tweet, 500-word blog or 20-page whitepaper. Each type of content has a structure that needs to be followed – while you do not need to go into great detail about this in your initial brief, specifying the type of content you need will help your content agency know what it is you expect and craft a structure for you. 

The target audience and preferred tone

There is a considerable distinction between the type of content enjoyed by Gen-Z youth and C-suite executives. If you’re trying to reach young people, you probably want to produce content that’s short, snappy and easily digestible. To not appear stiff or out-of-touch, it’s best to write in a way that’s friendly and approachable. But for business and expert audiences, you likely still want to sound friendly and approachable, but you’ll also want to come across as factual and experienced. Additionally, you might need to keep in mind the use of American English or British English, depending on the region you are producing the content for.

The target publication

Not all publications call for the same writing style or even the same content format – and it’s likely that you’ll want to create content for a publication that is widely read or visited by your target audience. For instance, if you’re trying to reach Millennial and Gen-Z audiences, it’s better to create shareable short-form content on TikTok or Instagram. 

Similarly, you wouldn’t ask your content agency to craft a series of fun listicles for a business magazine or corporate newsletter. If you zero in on a target publication for your agency to write for, it will be easier for them to create tailored content. 

SEO considerations

If you’re writing for the web or maintain a regular online blog, you’re probably concerned about boosting your brand’s organic presence and improving website traffic. As a result, you’re probably also concerned about keywords and keyword research.

If you want to do the research but do not know where to start, consider using a keyword research tool to find ideas relevant to your business. For instance, if you’re a beauty brand, simply run a quick search for “ beauty” on the tool and voilà, success! You’ll easily find hundreds of related keywords, as well as their relevance and the number of times people searched for them. Narrow it down to the top few keywords most applicable to your business, and indicate to your content partners that you want these words to be used frequently in the headlines and copy they write for you. 

Image requirements

Digital content typically contains a couple of images – anywhere from a blog with a header image and a couple of in-line images for illustration purposes to whitepapers heavy with infographics and graphs. Depending on the arrangement with your content partners, you can choose to provide them with in-house assets or instruct them on how to source and produce appropriate images to go along with the content. If you have existing design assets and graphics that need to be included, be sure to specify that in the brief, too.

Call-to-action statement

Content for the modern age isn’t complete without an impactful call-to-action statement that tells readers what to do next. This is tied intimately with business goals – are you trying to earn more leads, boost downloads, increase shares, or get more people to sign up for your newsletter ?  It’s always a good idea  to indicate in your brief your desired end result – whether it’s “Buy Now”, “Download Here, “Sign Up Today”, or some other instruction. When it comes to CTAs, remember, the shorter and punchier, the better!

Content production can be a relatively painless process – but only if you do the heavy lifting beforehand and put together a content brief that clearly communicates exactly what you want and need.

Want to create the perfect content brief but don’t know how? Write to us at [email protected] and we’ll brief you on the briefing process 😉

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