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How I Write Great Content Briefs In 10 Minutes (+ Template)

Last updated on May 19, 2023

Content briefs are used to illustrate the purpose of a content piece and determine who it will be aimed at. They help writers understand the goals of an article and improve the chances of effectively communicating these goals to readers.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about content briefs, including why they’re important, how they’re used, how you can create your own and a downloadable SEO content brief template to get you started.

What is a content brief?

A content brief is a document that outlines the main points of what you want your writer to produce. It helps you give them direction and make sure they stay on track with writing the kind of content that you need.

When do you need a content brief?

You might use a content brief when:

  • You want to manage expectations with your writer on the content and be on the same page.
  • You’re working with inexperienced writers who need more guidance than someone who knows how to write for your business already.
  • You have a proven article writing playbook that works, but want this writer or agency to follow it so there are no surprises later down the line (i.e., no matter what happens in their life, they still deliver exactly what was promised). And yes, these things do happen sometimes! (We’re all human.)
  • You’re dealing with freelance writers or agencies who have different processes than yours, so outlining expectations upfront helps everyone stay organized and focused throughout the project’s lifecycle—from start-to-finish delivery!
  • You’re writing content using an AI writing assistant.

Why is a content brief important?

I’ve learnt the below lessons the hard way. 

  1. It helps manage expectations with the writer: A content brief helps you come on the same page as the writer on what you expect the fractional content writer to cover in the article, how it should be written etc. It’s a way to manage expectations so there are no surprises later when the writer delivers the article.
  2. SEO brainstorming: It helps you brainstorm on how to create a great piece of content that ranks #1 on Google.
  3. Make your content process organized: Once you have spent some time on an outline for your article, it becomes much easier to write the article from there (and meet your expectations) than if you write the article first and then make edits based on what you want the final edit to look like.

A good brief will help make your process organized and efficient, which means less stress for everyone involved. I highly recommend creating one to move fast in an organized way.

How do you create a content brief?

It’s time to create a content brief! Good SEO content briefs are an essential part of the content creation process. They outline what you want your article to do, how it’s going to do it, and who it’s going to be written for.

Here are some tips on how to write a good brief:

  • Start by listing out the key outcomes you want from this piece of content
  • Write down the benefits for readers and for your business
  • Think about what makes this piece of content unique, different or better than existing ones. If there’s no reason why someone would want to read it, then don’t write it!
  • Address any pain points that might exist around this topic (e.g., “I want to write about X because I think people are struggling with Y”)

Like I’ve mentioned before, content briefs can be as short as you want and can be as long and detailed as you want. Ideally, you want the content creation brief to be detailed enough that every expectation is covered, but you also want it to be short enough that it doesn’t take a lot of time to create for you.

That’s why I decided to share two content brief samples with you:

  1. Simple & short version – For early stage marketing teams, solo marketers & early stage founders who are strapped for time.
  2. Long & detailed version – For established marketing teams, SEO managers, specialists who want the writer to meet the expectations to the tee.

To make it fun and easy to understand, I took this article as an example for how to create a content brief.

Feel free to copy this!

Simple content brief template

Here is a simple article brief template that I’ve used for years. It’s pretty basic and should be easy to understand.

TitleHow to create a content brief (+ template)
Primary Keywordcontent brief template (500 volume, 7 difficulty)
Outline / Topics to cover1. What is a content brief
2. When do you need a content brief?
3. Why do you need a content brief?
4. How to write a content brief?
5. Examples of content brief
Reference Articles

Detailed content briefing template

Here is a detailed content brief example:

TitleHow to create a content brief (+ template)
Description / summary of what you want in the article1. What is a content brief
2. When do you need a content brief?
3. Why do you need a content brief?
4. How to write a content brief?
5. Examples of content brief
Reference Article (s)
Primary SEO keywordcontent brief template
Secondary SEO keywordscontent brief
content brief examples
content brief pdf template
Target AudienceBlog managers, early stage founders, marketers
Word count~1500 words
Internal links
Call to ActionPromote my 1:1 consulting service:
Gated contentNo. Later, I can add a download content brief template.

Content brief terms you should know

  1. Title: This should be clear and direct—you don’t want readers getting stuck wondering what they should be reading about. A title should answer the question: “What is this article about?” If you can’t answer that question in two words or less, then it’s probably too long.
  2. Description / summary: This is where you have an opportunity to sell yourself on why this article will be worth their time—especially if it’s going to take them some time to read through all of it!
  3. Reference articles: Reference articles are useful because they help our writers understand what type of content you’re looking for so they can create something better than what’s out there on Google today!
  4. Primary SEO keyword: This is the primary keyword you’re trying to rank for: [keyword 1]
  5. Secondary SEO keywords: These are all the semantically related keywords & topics you’d also like to rank for with this article: [semantic KW 1], [semantic KW 2], etc. Quick tip: Try to find semantically related keywords 😉
  6. Target Audience: Who is this article being written for? Example – Content Marketers, Founders etc.
  7. Word count: This is to manage expectations in terms of how in depth you want to cover. Example – 2000 words
  8. Internal links: Should the article link to any of your existing articles?
  9. Call to Action: Should the article have a call to action (CTA)? If yes, share the copy, screenshots, product etc.
  10. Gated content: Gated content is a form of content marketing that involves creating a piece of content that’s only accessible to subscribers when they enter their email address. You can add a complimenting checklist or ebook or PDF or something else.

Content Brief Examples

Here are four content brief examples:

  1. Content Marketing Institute‘s content brief
  2. Zapier‘s content brief
  3. Narrato‘s content brief
  4. Content Folks‘s content brief

I’ll keep adding more examples as I find them.

Related Reading: Top Content Calendar Notion Templates

Use content briefs to move fast

By taking just a few minutes out of your day, you can create powerful documents that help streamline the creation process while ensuring that all of your writers have an idea of what they’re supposed to produce!

Madhav Bhandari
Madhav Bhandari

Tech marketer with 10+ years in B2B driving millions in revenue. I nerd and write about productivity, B2B marketing, entrepreneurship, blogging and AI.

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