Content Marketing

What is a Content Brief? The Ultimate Guide

Ultimate Guide to Content Briefs

A content brief is a document that outlines a set of requirements and suggestions that serves as a blueprint for the writer and helps ensure that the content meets the expectations.

A good content brief should include information such as the topic, content type, format, and angle, the research and sources to use, the primary keywords and SEO guidelines, and a content outline.

It also includes other details like information about the target audience, the tone of voice, and other requirements that must be met.

Depending on the audience the content is targeting the components might also differ. For example, in the case of B2B content briefs, there may also be additional information such as details about the competitive landscape, industry trends, legal considerations, and so on.

How Is a Content Brief Different From a Creative Brief?

The main difference between content briefs and creative briefs lies in their focus and application.

Content briefs provide detailed guidelines for content creation, focusing on objectives, target audience, tone, outline, and other content details. Content briefs are typically used for long-form written content like a blog post, guide, whitepaper, or ebook.

Creative briefs, on the other hand, outline the overall creative direction, goals, and requirements for various marketing projects such as ad campaigns, creative design, copywriting, and web design, emphasizing visual or conceptual aspects, including design elements and creative concepts.

6 Benefits of Using a Content Brief

The 6 main benefits of using a content brief are the following:

  1. Ensures consistency: Content briefs establish a clear direction and a set of requirements, ensuring that content remains consistent in tone, style, and messaging across various pieces and platforms.
  2. Streamlines content creation: By providing content creators with a clear set of instructions and guidelines, content briefs help streamline the production process, reducing the number of revisions, edits, and feedback rounds.
  3. Aligns with marketing objectives: Content briefs ensure that content is created with specific goals in mind, effectively targeting the desired audience and supporting overall marketing objectives.
  4. Improves content quality: A well-defined content brief serves as a reference, helping creators produce high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that resonates with the target audience.
  5. Enhances collaboration: With a shared understanding of the content’s purpose and requirements, content briefs facilitate better collaboration between content creators, editors, and other stakeholders.
  6. Supports SEO strategy: SEO-focused content briefs often include target keywords and SEO guidelines, ensuring that content is optimized for search engines to help drive organic traffic, and improve the visibility online.

Who Creates the Content Brief?

Content briefs are typically created by the content strategist or content marketing team, in collaboration with other stakeholders.

They are developed before starting a new content project, and regularly updated to reflect the current content creation processes and objectives.

Who is the Content Brief Made for?

A content brief is made for content writers, editors, and other stakeholders involved in the content creation and marketing process. It provides them with the set of requirements and information to produce consistent, goal-oriented, and high-quality content.

Content editors benefit from content briefs as they ensure consistency in tone and style across different content pieces, making the editing process more efficient.

Content managers and strategists, use content briefs to align content efforts with overall marketing objectives, ensuring the right messaging reaches the target audience.

SEO specialists rely on content briefs for optimizing content for search engines. 

What Should Be Included in a Content Brief?

A well-defined content brief should include the following elements:

  • Deadlines
  • Brand, writing, and tone of voice guidelines
  • Content topic
  • Content type, format, and angle
  • Goal
  • CTA (call-to-action)
  • Target audience
  • Search intent/customer journey
  • SEO page title
  • SEO meta description
  • Preferred URL
  • Primary keywords
  • Secondary keywords
  • Word count
  • Internal links to
  • Internal links from (after publishing)
  • Sources
  • Visuals
  • Competitor examples
  • Content outline

Content outlines are arguably the most important component of a content brief, as it provides a clear structure to follow and help keep the content focused on its purpose.

To learn more about content outlines and how to create them, check out the full guide on how to create effective content outlines.

How to Write a Content Brief

Creating content briefs requires careful planning and research to ensure that the content created meets the requirements of the project.

The main steps for writing a content brief are the following:

  1. Choose the topic
  2. Determine the search intent
  3. Specify the goal
  4. Define the target audience
  5. Research the competitors
  6. Determine the calls to action (CTAs)
  7. Provide a word count estimate
  8. Create a content outline
  9. List internal and external links
  10. Specify visuals
  11. Note down on-page SEO details
  12. Provide brand guidelines
  13. Specify writing guidelines
  14. Set important deadlines
  15. Share the content brief

Interested in learning more? Here’s a full step-by-step guide: How to Write a Content Brief.

Content Brief Examples

To get you started, here are 5 content brief examples that you can use for inspiration.

All 5 content briefs are created for the same topic: “Content Marketing for SaaS Startups”.

They are listed in the order of increasing complexity and level of detail.

1. Simplest Content Brief Example

You can get a copy of this content brief in PDFWord, or Google Docs.

2. Basic Content Brief Example

You can get a copy of this content brief in PDFWord, or Google Docs.

3. Intermediate Content Brief Example

You can get a copy of this content brief in PDFWord, or Google Docs.

4. Advanced Content Brief Example

You can get a copy of this content brief in PDFWord, or Google Docs.

5. Most Complex and SEO-Optimized Content Brief Example

You can get a copy of this content brief in PDFWord, or Google Docs.

Want more reasoning and my thoughts on each of these content brief examples? Check out the full article on these content brief examples.

Using Content Brief Templates to Speed Up the Process

Creating a content brief from scratch can be time-consuming. A content brief template can help you save time and energy by providing you with guidance on how to structure and write the brief.

You can use my free content brief template (available in PDF, Word, and Google Docs) to get started and speed up your own content brief creation process.

Content Brief Template Banner

Should I Create SEO-Focused Content Briefs?

Yes, it is important to create SEO-focused content briefs when creating content for websites that you intend to rank in the search engines.

This will help you ensure that the content you create is optimized for search engine algorithms and has a higher likelihood of ranking higher.

Interested in learning more? Here’s a guide to SEO content briefs.

Content Brief Software Tools to Try

There are a number of tools that can help you speed up and streamline your content brief creation process. Here’s a list of the top 6 content brief creation tools worth checking out:

  • Content Harmony
  • Keyword Insights
  • Thruu
  • Frase
  • Outranking
  • Swiftbrief

If you want to read more about each of these tools, check out my review of the best content brief software tools.

Streamline Your Work With Content Briefs

Content briefs are essential documents that help streamline the content creation process. They provide a clear roadmap for what needs to be done and help ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page.

Using content briefs can help you create better quality content, faster and more effectively.

Over the last 2 years, I have created over 150 briefs and I have seen first-hand how content briefs help streamline the entire process.

I hope this guide has been helpful and that you are now armed with all the necessary knowledge and the content brief template (which you can download below if you haven’t already) to create successful content briefs for your content projects.

Content Brief Template Banner

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