Delivering clarity in your content brief
Last updated August 15, 2023
A content brief is a document that provides guidance to a writer on creating a specific piece of content. Depending on the type of content, such as blog posts, white papers, webinar scripts, or product pages, the final brief will vary. Nonetheless, the fundamental principles of a content brief remain consistent across all types.
Developing a successful content brief is a skill that requires expertise. However, if too much information is given, the writer might feel overwhelmed and unable to exercise their creative flexibility, potentially jeopardizing their motivation and job performance.
At Draft, we’ve had the chance to see a wide variety of content briefs. From our experience, we’ve found the following foundational elements are critical to getting back content that exceeds your expectations from our writers.
Anything else is a nice-to have and strongly encouraged, but also something our writers can collaborate with you on and seek clarity through the writing process.
1. What’s the key topic and the intent of the topic?
This translates into a clear topic and set of subheadings that are able to highlight the key talking points or messages you’d like to convey in the piece. Either by writing out, or even linking us a Loom video of you talking through your vision and goal of the piece. This can be incredibly helpful in helping our writers get an executive summary of what you’re hoping to achieve.
At minimum, we always encourage conveying the following right off the bat when putting through a content request:
- What topic would you like to write about?
- Who's it intended for?
- What are the takeaways you'd like the reader to achieve?
2. What’s the secondary business objective of the content request?
Are the supporting instructions you’re sharing clear and well aligned with the overall intent of the piece. For example, is this content piece designed to help with SEO strategies, or to act as a thought leadership / pillar piece for your brand.
Are you looking to beat out competitive pieces already published by providing more value, or are you looking to have the writer to take a unique spin or perspective on the topic that hasn’t been done before?
Giving the writer an understanding of how this content piece plays into the overall strategy of your marketing efforts can be helpful, and where it may live – Top, Middle, or Bottom of Funnel.
At minimum, we like to encourage:
- Existing content posts you can link or share to the writer from your brand/business that gives them an idea of your high level brand tone/voice and any unique brand guidelines
- Third party or competitive content that you're hoping the writer can emulate or beat
- Any unique research material that can help them with the above
3. To what degree do technical requirements need to be met?
Finally, when sharing technical requirements such as SEO keywords provide guidance on if they are intended to be easily incorporated without sacrificing fluidity or do they have to be forced for ranking / algorithm purposes.
Is the word length a suggested word length you’d be flexible in, or something that is fixed the writer must adhere to?
If you'd like royalty free images, any guidance you can provide on how many you need (we recommend 1 or 2 max.) and where to find them is also helpful.