How To Create the Perfect Content Brief (And Create Better Content!)

A lot of time can be spent (aka wasted) trying to figure out what your content should say, how it should feel, and what message should come across in your blog or website. Unless you use a Content Brief.

content-brief

If you’re a business owner using another business to create copy for blogs or websites or emails (which you definitely should because content matters!), then you need a quick and efficient way to communicate the ideas in your head to the company providing your content. No one knows your business better than you but nobody eIse is in your brain, either.

This is where a content brief comes in.

A lot of time can be spent (aka wasted) trying to figure out what your content should say, how it should feel, and what message should come across in your blog or website.

Looking for help creating a Content Brief in the Super Support Hub? No problem! We’ve got a resource for you here in our Support Documentation.

The Benefits of a Content Brief

A content brief can help pinpoint the message, tone, and voice of your content from the very beginning of the content creation process, saving both you and your content creator a lot of time frustration.

We’ve done this for ourselves and it’s helped our customers pinpoint what they want to talk about on each page of their content and helped us turn around their content more quickly.

Why content briefs?

  • They make it easier for writers to do their jobs
  • They eliminated endless rounds of revisions
  • They eliminate back and forth between client and writer asking and answering questions
  • Businesses can expect better content
  • Writers aren’t in your head
  • You know your business best
  • They set clear project expectations

The specifics of a brief will depend on the content but here are some of the elements we’ve included in our content brief.

The Elements of a Content Brief

Available Content

Do you already have content written that you need updated? Or do you have previous blogs you need replicated? When creating a content brief, it’s a good idea to have a section for any content that will help the writer do their job more effectively.

This could include:

  • A link to old website where the information is accurate
  • White papers
  • Marketing materials

Don’t reinvent the wheel (or make your writer do it), if you already have some content created, hand it over.

Ideal Audience

In this section, you’ll describe your ideal audience for this piece of content. Communicating with college students is very different than communicating with senior citizens or parents. Include as much demographic information here as possible including age ranges, occupations, activities, hobbies and anything else you might know about your audience!

Buyer Stage

Different types of content help nurture different stages of the Buyer’s Journey. Everyone has slightly different versions of the Buyer’s Journey but essentially, these stages represent where a buyer is on their journey to purchase. If you’re not familiar with the concept, HubSpot does a great job of summarizing it.

Here are the stages we use to help this make more sense;

Problem Aware: They are aware they have a problem, but not how to solve it
Considering Alternative: They are aware they have a problem and are looking into different ways to solve it
Evaluating Competitors: They now know HOW to solve their problem and are comparing different companies that can help them
A Customer: They are already a customer and this content is meant to nurture your relationship

Whether you’re creating an About Page for your website, a landing page, or a blog post, it’s good to know where your audience is in this journey and create content that will help them move to the next step.

Not every piece of content will be for only one stage but telling your writer what stage of the journey you’re looking to connect with will help them use the right language. For example, a first time customer visiting a webpage called, “What We Do,” probably doesn’t want to be bombarded with “Buy now!” messages. They just learned who you are and what you do, they’re NOT ready to buy yet.

Content Brief

This is the meat of your content. What are the key points you want to communicate on this piece of content? The more specific you are, the faster your writer can work.

Bullets are welcome and even encouraged, just get the information down.

We get it, it’s not always easy to write or type out all the things in your head in a way that will make sense. This is where it could be helpful to utilize tools like Loom or otter.ai to communicate your ideas.

Loom lets you record your screen and yourself at the same time so you can talk out your thoughts and show relevant information at the same time.

Here is Loom video on how to create a content brief in our Super Support Hub (pretty META, huh?).

If you don’t want to do a video, otter.ai lets you record yourself talking and transcribes that recording into a transcript that you can then simply and copy and paste into the content brief.

There are a lot of ways to get the information down, so make sure you don’t skimp, the more information the better.

Content Reference (Inspiration)

Everybody at one point or another has seen a piece of content and thought, “Whoa, I want to do something like that on my site.” This is your chance to show off your dream page or share that blog you love. Any inspiration provided will help the writer really capture the essence of what you’re trying communicate.

Need inspiration? Check out our free Swipe File with 100+ website & content examples!

Call to Action

Tell us what you hope the ideal customer does after reading this page.

Call?
Email?
Subscribe?
Chat?
Download?

This should be a verb…it’s a call to action, after all.

Helpful Content Brief Items

These are some the main items you should have on a content brief in order to help a writer write about your business. But here are a few more items that might be helpful.

Miscellaneous: Chances are, there’s going to be something to add that isn’t included in the sections above. Add a miscellaneous section for questions, additional information and more.
Tone & Voice: What the overall tone and voice of your site or this piece of content? Should it be funny? Serious? Informational? Do your visitors appreciate sassy or direct and to the point? This is definitely something your writer should know before getting started.
Attachments: If you have pictures, charts, or documents that will help the writer do their job, include them!

Content is an important piece of your website. Hiring someone else to do the writing if you don’t feel comfortable is a smart move, but you need to set them up for success by giving them the information they need to create quality content. A content brief can help you do that.

Have better things to do than manage your website?

Allison Spooner

Allison Spooner is a professional content creator and author. She helps tell the stories businesses can't tell themselves and writes snack-size fiction for those that think they don't have time to read. https://snacksizefiction.com/
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