According to market research firm Forrester, it takes enterprise marketing teams an average of 20 labor hours total across multiple roles to produce a single piece of content. As you scale your content creation, those hours really add up.
How can you streamline your content creation process across stakeholders to get that time back – and connect with customers more effectively?
At Conductor, we know that high-quality, standardized, insight-rich content briefs can make a huge impact on the efficiency of content teams and the quality of their work. So we developed our own new Content Brief right in our organic marketing platform, Conductor Searchlight.
We’ve analyzed content briefs inside and out and learned everything that goes into great ones. Read on for the inside scoop on why content briefs matter, why we developed our own in-platform solution, how to create an effective content brief, and how to integrate content briefs into your workflow – along with a downloadable content brief template.
What is a content brief and why is it important?
A content brief is a document that outlines all of the key information a content creator needs to start working on a piece of content. This includes the piece’s purpose and goals, key topics, target audience, and tone – plus relevant SEO insights and recommendations.
A great content brief streamlines content creation workflows, aligns stakeholders, and makes everyone more efficient. As content marketing teams and budgets grow, effective collaboration is more important than ever. Content briefs help you avoid those endless back-and-forths on multiple platforms that can crop up when there’s a lack of clarity in the content creation process.
Any member of your team in any role should be able to learn to use a great content brief. SEOs and content marketers generally take the lead on creating and assigning content briefs out to their teams, but great briefs should be intuitive enough that anyone on your team seeking to outline a project can do it. (The question of which roles on your team should lead content brief creation is entirely dependent on your unique needs.)
A great content brief makes it easy to turn insights into action, ensuring that customer-first data is the foundation of all of your content creation.
Why we developed Conductor Content Briefs
At Conductor, we’re focused on empowering your marketing team to collaborate more effectively and create content that makes an impact. Content briefs are vital to this process, but good briefs are hard to come by. There isn’t a global standard, and different marketers communicate different pieces of relevant information in different ways.
That’s why we built content briefs directly into our organic marketing platform, Conductor Searchlight.
Our Conductor Content Briefs make it easy to go from content research to creation. As you perform research in Conductor Searchlight, you can pull search, social, and demographic insights directly into our standardized Content Briefs. Then, using Conductor Actions (our integration with Asana, Trello, and Jira), you can seamlessly send your briefs to your favorite project management platform.
To illustrate exactly what makes a great content brief great, let’s walk through the questions we set out to answer when we developed our Conductor Content Briefs.
How do I write a content brief?
Okay, so content briefs are useful – but how do you write a good one? There are countless possible variations on the content brief, and every team has its own ideal, but here are a few key pieces of information any great content brief should include.
- Purpose: What are the goals of the piece? What are the primary KPIs?
- Description: What are the key topics covered by the piece? What’s the primary message and/or angle?
- Specifications: What’s the format of the piece? Are there specific length limitations or any other technical requirements?
- Target Audience: Who are you writing for? What are their ages, genders, interests, and occupations?
- Tone: Should the piece be positive, critical, or neutral? Should it be more technical or general, professional or colloquial?
(One big universal note on writing content briefs: remember to keep things concise. If you pass a content creator too dense of a document, they may not have the time to read it thoroughly, leading to miscommunication and delays.)
What SEO data should be included in a content brief to drive organic traffic?
In order to maximize organic traffic to your content, you should also include SEO data and insights in your briefs. Search insights help content creators take a data-driven approach to addressing customer needs, empowering them to optimize their work to provide more value to and deepen connections with customers – and rank higher on search engines.
Organic marketing data can be worked into every section of your content brief. Relevant keywords and questions from the “People Also Ask” result type on Google help highlight the key topics to be covered by a piece of content, while topic sentiment reveals the most appropriate angle and tone. Demographics give you a sharper picture of your target audience – their interests, occupations, geographical distribution, and more.
You can also turn your search data into suggested page elements to help define the message and format of a piece – and make SEO easier for content creators. Suggested title tags and meta descriptions clarify the focus and angle of a piece of content, while keyword-rich header tags outline the structure and improve the SEO of the piece.
How do I create a content brief template?
Generating content briefs completely from scratch is a time-consuming process. There’s an easier way: once you’ve figured out what you want to include in your ideal brief, you can increase your efficiency by building a content brief template.
A content brief template is a document or spreadsheet with editable fields for every piece of information you need to share with content creators. It’s essential to streamlining the beginning of the content creation process, making it easy to get the ball rolling on any project.
To build your own content brief template, put together prompts for every kind of information you might need to include in a brief and lay them out in a document.
Conductor customers can drive maximum efficiency and collaboration by creating Content Briefs directly in our organic marketing platform. When your content brief template lives in your SEO technology, it’s quick and easy to build briefs with valuable information and SEO data.
Downloadable example of an SEO content brief template
Looking for an example of a content brief template incorporating SEO data and insights? Download this example based on the Conductor Content Brief and use it for inspiration (or as your team’s new content brief template):
How do I integrate content briefs into my workflow?
The content brief is the foundation of effective content creation, the catalyst for your teams to take action on necessary next steps. But what exactly are those next steps? And how do content briefs connect to this bigger picture workflow?
We recommend integrating content briefs into your content creation workflow by using them as the central source of information from which the rest of your content tasks follow.
For example, in a project management platform like Asana, Trello, or Jira, you can put your content brief into the body of the primary project for a piece of content, then assign all of the requisite subtasks (from drafting and editing copy to design and layout) under the umbrella of that project.
Conductor Actions simplifies this process even further, enabling you to build a Conductor Content Brief in our SEO platform, then send it directly to your project management platform as a task that you can use as the foundation of a content project.
That way, every step of your content creation workflow is informed by the same source of truth – the content brief.