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How To Write A Content Brief Template

Creating content that resonates with your target audience and meets your business objectives requires careful planning and execution. One of the key elements of this process is the content brief - a document that outlines the key details and objectives of a piece of content. 

However, creating a detailed content brief from scratch for every piece of content can be time-consuming and lead to inconsistencies. This is where content brief templates come in as a solution.

In this article, we'll explore the key components of a successful content brief template and provide tips and examples to help you create your own. If you're ready to take your content strategy to the next level and create a content brief template that works for your business, keep reading!

What you will learn

  • A content brief template is a crucial tool that can help you streamline your content planning and creation process.
  • Tips for creating an effective content brief template, such as using a standardized format, including relevant research and references, and incorporating external and internal links.
  • Examples of different brief templates and how you can use them to create high-quality content that resonates with your target audience.

What is a content brief template?

A content brief template is a document that provides guidelines, requirements and up-front information to guide the writer in creating content. It's an essential tool for ensuring that content creators have a clear understanding of the project before beginning - saving time by helping outline the creation process and setting expectations for quality. They're also important for making sure content has purpose; written with goals like helping creators understand it and meet reader needs while optimizing search engine results.

Templates include information on the content format, primary audience you’re trying to reach, the purpose and objectives of the content, the tone and style, the key messages or themes to be conveyed, and any specific guidelines or requirements for the content.

Content brief templates provide a structured format that ensures consistency and clarity. With a template in place, you can avoid the need to begin anew for every piece of content. This also helps to prevent important details from being missed and ensures that you’re in alignment with your overall marketing and business objectives.

Why is a content brief template important?

But why exactly is a content brief template important? Here are the main benefits of having a template in place:

  • Save time and reduce the risk of errors or inconsistencies: Creating content briefs from scratch every time can be time-consuming. Template standardization ensures that your briefs are consistent in format and structure, which can in turn help reduce the risk of errors or inconsistencies.
  • Ensure consistent language and messaging: By providing guidelines for tone, messaging, and brand guidelines, content brief templates can ensure that all content created is consistent in language and messaging. Consistency in these areas is important for building a strong brand identity, increasing brand recognition among your audience, and ultimately, driving sales. In fact, brands that maintain consistency have seen an increase in revenue by up to 23%
  • Create high-quality content: 75% of large organizations and 54% of medium ones are choosing to outsource their content creation. This results in less control over content quality, which is something that a standardized template can help you with. With a standardized template in place, your writers - whether outsourced writers or in-house - will receive detailed instructions and guidelines that ensure adherence to your required quality level.
  • Drive your SEO efforts: A brief template can also help writers create content that will drive your SEO efforts. According to a study by Databox, the most important components of a content brief are related to writing content optimized for search engines. That includes your primary and related keywords, outline, and internal and external links.

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Ultimately, a content brief template is an essential tool for creating quality content that resonates with the intended audience, meets your objectives, and maintains consistency with your brand voice and messaging. By providing clear guidance on the style, tone, and structure of the content, a content brief template can help you to create content that is engaging, effective, and contributes to the success of your content marketing efforts.

How to create a content brief template

In this section, we will guide you through the steps to create an effective content brief template that will provide your writers with all the information they need to create great content. So let’s get started!

1. Provide the primary topic

To start with, you will need to provide the main topic of your article or piece of content to the writer. This is self-explanatory but is a crucial step to ensure that the writer has a clear understanding of what the content is about and they can stay focused on the main subject.

The primary topic goes beyond the article title; the suggested title might change after the draft is ready. Providing the primary topic in your content briefs is essentially identifying the main subject or theme of the content piece that is going to be created. 

This topic should be specific and clear. For example, if you were creating a content brief for a blog post about "The Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health", the primary topic would be "Yoga for Mental Health". 

2. Explain the purpose

In addition to the primary topic, you must share the objective of the article in your content brief. This provides direction and tone for the writer and helps them understand what you want to achieve with your content.

Explaining the purpose of your content is essentially defining the reason for creating the content piece. In “The Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health" example, the purpose to produce content could be: To educate readers on the mental health benefits of practicing yoga and to encourage them to try yoga as a form of self-care. This tells the writer to focus on creating educational content.

3. Include the target audience and buyer stage

Details like the target audience and the buying stage can help the writer understand whom they are writing for and alter their language accordingly. This is especially important for a freelance writer, as they may not have a good understanding of your business and its audience. 

By including this information in your brief, you can ensure that the writer will be addressing potential customers' questions and concerns at each stage of the buyer journey, helping them make informed decisions and increase the likelihood of a successful conversion.

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4. Identify search intent

Identifying the search intent in a content brief involves understanding the reason why someone might be searching for the topic of the content piece.

There are generally four types of search intent that people use when searching online. These are:

  1. Informational: When someone is looking for information about a particular topic, such as the definition of a word or concept, the benefits of a product, or the history of a country. 

Search query example: "What is a content marketing strategy?"

  1. Navigational: When someone is trying to find a specific website or web page, such as by searching for a particular brand or company website. 

Search query example: "Facebook login page"

  1. Commercial: When someone is looking to buy a product or service, but is still researching their options and evaluating different choices.

Search query example: "Best laptops for graphic design"

  1. Transactional: When someone is ready to make a purchase or take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to a service, or making a purchase.

Search query example: "Buy iPhone X online"

Browsing the search results page will help you diagnose search intent in your briefs, helping your writers create content that fulfills that intent. The buyer stage you identified in the previous step will also provide valuable insights into the keyword intent. 

5. Mention the business purpose

Next, you should also define the specific goal or objective that the content will help achieve for the business. This could be to drive traffic to the website, increase sales, establish thought leadership, build brand awareness, or any other business objective that the content is meant to support.

Ideally, your blog posts should show readers how your products and services can help them, but in an organic and helpful manner. Including the business value of your topic in your brief can be helpful for your writer, as well as help you identify which kinds of content are performing well for you. 

The business purpose you identify can help you create more relevant call to actions (CTAs). By including a call to action in their blog post templates, Brafton saw an 83% increase in blog revenue, despite the website traffic remaining almost the same. 

6. Tone of voice

Getting the tone of voice right in each piece of content will help you build consistency across channels and make your brand recognizable. That’s why it’s important to define the style or manner in which the content should be written to match the brand's personality. The tone of voice can be friendly, professional, authoritative, humorous, or beginner-friendly.

Different types of content will require different tones of voice. You want to convey the right tone to match the subject matter and engage your audience. 

If you define the tone of voice as beginner-friendly and approachable, the content should be written in a conversational style that engages the audience and makes the brand more relatable. While a technical article may require a more professional tone. So make sure to specify the tone of voice you want your writers to use in your content briefs.

7. Outline your article

Not every writer will be an expert matter on the topic they have to write about. An outline will help your writers understand the talking points and the structure of your content. You can insert relevant subtopics in header tags like H2s and H3s and elaborate on talking points in the form of bullet points. 

This will ensure that the main points are covered in a logical and organized manner and that the blog post is optimized for search engines. 

8. Include the most important keywords

Make sure to incorporate the findings of your keyword research into the content briefs. This way your writers can create SEO content that is optimized to rank well and attract the right audience.

Specifically, your content brief should contain the keywords that are relevant to the topic, including both primary and secondary keywords. These semantically relevant terms and phrases can help engines to better understand the intent and context of the content and improve its visibility in search results.

For example, if the topic is "Best Coffee Shops in New York City", some semantically relevant keyword suggestions might be "cafe", "roastery", "cappuccino", "pour-over", "cold brew", "coffee culture", "coffee beans", "coffee tour", and "coffee history".

By including these semantically relevant keywords in the content brief, you can help the writer to create content that is not only optimized for the primary keywords but also provides a broader context and relevance to the topic. 


Google will reward content that is highly relevant and beneficial for the reader. That’s why you should make a note that it's important to use these keywords in a natural and meaningful way - rather than simply stuffing them in for the sake of SEO - in order to provide a valuable reading experience for the audience.

9. Provide metadata

The metadata is included in the header of a webpage and helps search engines understand the context of your content. As such, it may or may not be the writer’s duty to write the metadata. If it is not the writer’s duty, provide these yourself to ensure you are creating SEO-focused content.

If it is the writer’s duty, mention the keywords to insert in the following places for on-page optimization:

  • Page title: This is the title that appears as the headline in search engine results or social media posts. The meta title should accurately reflect the content of the page, be compelling and attention-grabbing, and include the primary keyword or key phrase for the page. The ideal length for a meta title is around 60 characters.
  • Header tags: Use H1, H2, and H3 (also H4 and H5 if necessary) tags to structure the content and incorporate the target keywords to provide search engines with valuable information about the structure of your content. Moreover, heading tags makes it easier for readers to navigate your content, improving the user experience.
  • URL structure: It's essential to ensure that your primary keyword is included in the URL as it helps search engines understand the relevance of your content to a particular search query. For example, if your target keyword is "content brief template," your URL could be something like "https://www.yourwebsite.com/content-brief-template." 
  • Meta description: This will appear under your page title on search results. The meta description should provide a clear and concise summary of the content, include the primary keyword, and persuade users to click on your page. Although meta descriptions can technically be any length, Google generally truncates them to approximately 155-160 characters on desktops and around 120 characters on mobile devices.

10. Provide references for research

While the writer is responsible for conducting their own research, you can help them by providing links to relevant articles, including competitor articles or other resources that you deem important for the topic.

This approach ensures that the writer has access to reliable sources that can assist them in creating accurate and comprehensive content. These links can serve as a starting point for research, giving the writer a clear editorial direction. 

11. Provide links

Typically, the writers are responsible for internal and external linking. However, it can be helpful to include them in your brief since you probably understand your keyword clusters better.

By including internal or external links in your content brief, you can ensure that the writer understands which pages or resources they can link to and which ones they should not. This can help to establish a consistent linking strategy throughout your content, making it easier for readers to navigate your website and for search engines to understand the structure of your content.

Another benefit of providing links in your content brief is that it can help to eliminate the risk of writers giving away backlinks and driving traffic to your competitors.  

12. Provide content length

Providing a suggested word count range in the content brief can be helpful for writers and for your SEO efforts. However, it’s also essential to communicate that the suggested word count is not a strict requirement, but rather a guideline to help the writer achieve the goals of the post. 

This would give the writer a clear understanding of the expected depth of the content, and they could plan their research and write accordingly. It can also help to streamline the writing process and ensure that the content piece is delivered on time and within budget.

On average, the ideal length of a blog post is between 1,500 to 2,500 words. However, the length of your blog post should be determined by the value it provides to your audience, not a specific word count. In some cases, shorter content pieces may be more effective at conveying the key message, while in others, longer content pieces may be necessary to provide a comprehensive and in-depth treatment of the topic.

When providing an average word count in your content brief, it's also important to keep in mind the preferences of your audience. Some readers may prefer shorter, more concise content, while others may be more interested in in-depth analysis and detailed explanations.

Key takeaways

  • A content brief template is a document that outlines the key details and objectives of a content piece and provides writers and other stakeholders with all the information they need to create quality content that meets your goals and resonates with your audience.
  • Using a standardized format for your content briefs can help streamline your content planning and creation process, saving you time and resources while ensuring consistency across all your content pieces.
  • The key components of a successful content brief template include the primary topic, the target audience and their buying phase, the desired tone and style, keywords, word count, important research and references, as well as strategies for internal and external links.

Conclusion

Creating a content brief template is an essential step in producing high-quality content, consistently. By providing a clear direction and objectives to your writer, you can ensure that your content accurately represents your brand and speaks to your target audience. Including details like the primary topic, target audience, buyer stage, and keywords can help your writer create content that resonates with your readers and performs well in search engine results. 

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can create comprehensive content brief templates that will help you achieve your content marketing goals.

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics