12 Steps to Create an Awesome Content Brief
Table of Contents
Understand Your Audience
Define the Purpose
Identify Key Themes
Set the Tone of Voice
Establish the Format
Outline the Structure
Detail SEO Considerations
Set a Deadline
Determine the Length
Highlight the Call to Action
Specify the Review Process
Include Visual Instructions
Within the realm of digital marketing, content holds unparalleled prominence. It has the power to inform, persuade, and captivate, acting as the bridge that connects businesses with consumers. However, creating standout content doesn’t happen by chance; it requires meticulous planning, creativity, and a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve.
That’s where a well-crafted content brief comes into play. A content brief is a roadmap for your content piece, outlining your objectives, target audience, messaging, and other crucial elements. It ensures your content creators are on the same page, leading to more effective and cohesive content.
Let’s walk you through the 12 steps to create an awesome content brief:
1. Understand Your Audience
Identifying and understanding your target audience is the first and arguably most important step in creating a content brief. Who are you writing for? What are their interests, concerns, and values? What problems are they trying to solve? The more intimately you understand your audience, the more tailored and relevant your content will be.
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of your audience is crucial for crafting content that deeply connects with them. This should go beyond just basic demographics to include their interests, challenges, and motivations. Develop audience personas and use them to guide your content. The more detailed your understanding of your audience, the more targeted and effective your content can be.
2. Define the Purpose
Every piece of content should serve a purpose. Whether it’s to inform, entertain, persuade, or inspire, the purpose of your content will dictate its tone, structure, and style. Be clear about what you want to achieve with your content and ensure this objective aligns with your broader marketing goals.
The first step in creating a content brief is to define the objective or the goal of your content. This should be aligned with your overall business and marketing goals. Is its purpose to generate traffic to your website? Increase brand awareness? Generate leads? Clearly defining what you want to achieve helps to guide the rest of the content creation process.
3. Identify Key Themes
Once you know who your audience is and what your purpose is, the next step is to identify the key themes or topics your content will cover. These themes should be directly relevant to your audience and should help fulfill the purpose of your content.
Keyword research is a critical step for SEO. It can help you understand what your audience is searching for, what terms they use, and what kind of content is currently ranking for those keywords. Incorporating these keywords into your content can help it rank higher in search results and increase your visibility.
4. Set the Tone of Voice
The tone of voice is the personality that comes through in your writing. It can be formal or casual, authoritative or friendly, informative or entertaining, or any combination thereof. Your tone of voice should be consistent with your brand and appropriate for your audience and purpose.
The tone and style of your content should be consistent with your brand voice and appropriate for your audience and the content's purpose. A more formal tone might be suitable for a B2B audience, while a more casual and conversational tone might work better for B2C.
5. Establish the Format
What format will your content take? Will it be a blog post, an infographic, a video, a podcast, or something else? Different formats lend themselves to different types of content and audience preferences, so choose the one that best fits your objectives.
Different content formats resonate differently with different audiences, and are more effective at different stages of the buyer’s journey. Blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, etc. have their own strengths and are suited to different purposes. Choose the format that best aligns with your objective and your audience's preferences.
6. Outline the Structure
Provide a rough structure for your content, outlining the main sections or points you want to cover. This not only helps to ensure that your content is well-organized and coherent, but also makes the writing process more efficient.
Outlining the topic and structure of your content provides a roadmap for the content creation process. This should include the key points that the content will cover and the order in which they will be presented. This helps to ensure that the content is organized, coherent, and flows logically from one point to the next.
7. Detail SEO Considerations
If you're creating digital content, SEO should always be a consideration. Include a list of keywords that your content should incorporate, any SEO-friendly headings or subheadings, and any other relevant SEO considerations.
Plan ahead for how and where you'll distribute your content. Different platforms have different audiences and require different content formats and lengths. Your distribution plan should also take into account your objectives: for instance, email newsletters can be effective for lead nurturing, while social media can be great for increasing reach and engagement.
Each step plays a critical role in the overall process and adds to the final outcome, which is creating compelling, targeted, and goal-oriented content. These are only the basic steps, however, as each one can be expanded upon and refined based on the specific needs of your project or organization.
8. Plan Your Visual Content
Visual content can dramatically increase engagement and help communicate your message more effectively. Outline any images, infographics, videos, or other visual content you plan to include in your content piece.
In today's world, where users are constantly bombarded with information, visual content is an effective way to stand out. It's easier to digest, more engaging, and significantly more likely to be shared on social media.
For instance, infographics can be an excellent way to present complex information in a visually appealing and easily digestible format. Videos can provide a personal touch or demonstrate a process, while images can support your text and make it more engaging. However, it's crucial that your visual content aligns with your brand aesthetic and supports your message.
When planning visual content, consider the main points you want to get across and how visual elements can support these points. Think about where visuals will have the most impact within your content and describe what those visuals should entail.
9. Set a Word Count or Length
Define a target word count for written content or a length for video or audio content. This can be a range rather than a specific number, but it's helpful to have a guideline.
Defining a target word count helps manage expectations for the writer and can also guide the level of depth required for the topic. While longer content can cover a topic comprehensively, shorter content might be more accessible and digestible, catering to a different audience with a shorter attention span.
For video or audio content, length plays a significant role in audience engagement. As a rule of thumb, keep your content as concise and focused as possible.
10. Include Call to Action
What do you want your audience to do after consuming your content? This could be subscribing to your newsletter, purchasing a product, or just leaving a comment. Be sure to specify this in your content brief.
A call to action (CTA) guides your audience on what they should do after consuming your content. This could be anything from encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter, buy a product, or engage with your content by leaving a comment or sharing on social media.
Your CTA should be clear, concise, and compelling. It's often most effective towards the end of your content but can also be included throughout the content where appropriate.
11. Specify the Deadline
Establishing a clear timeline is crucial. Specify when you need the content to be completed and any milestones along the way. Remember to leave time for revisions and editing.
Setting a deadline for content creation keeps everyone on the same page and helps manage the content creation process more efficiently. Make sure to allow ample time for all steps involved in the process, including research, creation, revision, and editing.
12. Compile Reference Material
Include any materials or resources that can assist the writer or creator in producing the content. This could be similar pieces of content, brand guidelines, or specific research sources.
Providing reference material can be a valuable resource for the content creator. This can include similar content that you admire, research papers, data sources, or anything else that might inform and inspire the content.
In the same vein, providing brand guidelines can ensure the content aligns with your company's voice and aesthetic. This might include specific guidelines about language and tone, visual aesthetics, and formatting preferences.
By providing a clear, detailed content brief, you're setting your content creation process up for success. And with this, you're one step closer to producing content that resonates with your audience and achieves your business goals.