What’s a content brief? A content brief is a set of instructions to escort a writer on how to draft a piece of content. That piece of content can be a white paper, a blog post, or a landing page, or any number of other initiatives that want content.
In the absence of a content brief, you threaten to get back content that doesn’t meet your expectations. This will not only annoy your writer, but it’ll also require more revisions, taking more of your money and time.
Typically, Best success quotes make content briefs are written by someone in an adjacent field — like product marketing, demand generation, or SEO — when they want something pretty specific. However, content teams usually don’t just work off of briefs.
What makes a content brief SEO-focused? An SEO-focused content brief is one among various types of content briefs. It’s unique in that the aim is to guide the writer on developing content to target a specific search query for the goal of earning traffic from the organic search channel.
What to include in your content brief
Primary query target and intent. It isn’t an SEO-focused content brief in the absence of a query target! Using a keyword research tool like Moz Keyword Explorer, you can provide thousands of keyword ideas that could be significant to your business.
Format. Dovetailing nicely off of intent is format. In other words, how should we form the content to give it a good chance of ranking for our target query? To use the same keyword example, if Google “types of visual merchandising,” the top-ranking articles contain lists.
You might identify that your target query returns results with a lot of pictures (common with queries including examples or inspiration). This better covers the writer identify what content format is likely to work best.
Topics to cover and related questions to answer. Pick the target query assists the writer know the big idea of the piece, but stopping there signify you risk writing something that doesn’t comprehensively answer the query intent. That’s why you love to include topics to cover / related questions to answer section in your briefs. This is where you list out all the subtopics you have found that someone searching that query would probably need to know.
Funnel stage. This is fairly similar to intent, but I think it’s good to include it as a separate line item. To fill out this portion of the content brief, ask yourself: Is someone searching this term just looking for Inspiration? Information? Looking to evaluate their options? Or looking to buy something? And here’s how you can label your answer:
Top-of-funnel (TOFU or “problem aware”) is an appropriate label if the query intent is inspirational/educational/informational
Middle-of-funnel (MOFU or “solution aware”) is an appropriate label if the query intent is to evaluate, compare options, or otherwise signify that the searcher is pretty much already aware of your solution.
Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU or “solution ready”) is an appropriate label if the query intent is to make a otherwise convert or purchase.
Audience segment. Who are you writing this for? It seems like such a key question to answer, but in my experience, it’s easy to forget! When it comes to SEO-focused content briefs, it’s easier to assume the answer to this question is for whoever is searching this keyword! but what that fails to answer is who those searchers are and how they fit into your ideal customer profile (ICP)/company’s personas.
If you don’t understand what those personas are, question your marketing team! They should have target audience segments readily accessible to send you.
This will not only assist your writers better understand what they should be writing, but it also assists align you with the rest of the marketing department and cover them understand SEO’s connection to their aims.
The goal action you need your readers to take. SEO is a means to an end. It’s not only enough to get your content ranking or even to get it earning traffic/clicks. For it to make an influence on your company, you’ll need it to contribute to your bottom line. That’s why, when developing your content brief, you not only require to think about how readers will get to it, but what you need them to do after. This is a good opportunity to work with your content marketing and larger marketing group to understand what actions they’re trying to drive visitors to take.
Ballpark length. I have a firm faith that the length of any subject should be dictated by the topic, not arbitrary word counts. However, it can be helpful to offer a ballpark to ignore bringing a 500-word blog post to a 2,000-word fight. One tool that can make coming up with a ballpark word count easier is Frase, which among other matters, will reveal to you the average word count of pages ranking for the target query.
Internal and external link opportunities. Since you’re reading the Moz blog, you’re likely already intimately familiar with the importance of links. However, these details are commonly left out of content briefs. It’s as plain as including these two line items:
Relevant content we should link out to.
Existing content that could connect to this new piece. List out any URLs on your site that mention your subject so that, after your new piece is live, you can go back and include links in them to your new piece.
The second item is especially significant, since adding links to the new post can cover it get indexed, and initiate ranking quicker. A swift way to find internal link opportunities is to utilize the site: operator in Google.
Competitor content. Search the target query and pull the top three-or-so ranking URLs for this section of the content brief. These are the pages you need to beat. At risk of developing copycat content (content that’s essentially a re-spun version of the top-ranking articles), it’s a good plan to instruct your writer on how good to use these. I like to involve questions like:
What’s our unique point-of-view on this subject?
Do we have any unique data we can pull on this subject?
What experts (external or internal) can we ask for quotes to include on this subject?