As an SEO manager, it is extremely important to realize that in order to maximize any company’s organic search traffic, one needs to have effective communication with the content team, whether it be a freelance creator or a full-time team working on the company’s premises. Although technical improvements are a crucial aspect, a big part of the effectiveness of any SEO program is the content. There could be multiple scenarios when as a manager you struggle to get your message across to the content team, for instance, you might not be able to assign them the instructions, or worse they might be unreceptive to your suggestions. Whatever the case, the solution to any of these scenarios is a content brief.
A content brief is basically a set of instructions that are meant to guide the writer in creating the blog or article or even just a landing page. Usually, content briefs are designed by someone whose main function lies in product marketing or SEO, or demand generation. Although one also has to take into account that content teams don’t just work on the basis of content briefs since they will have their own programs and initiatives to handle. An SEO content brief can thus be defined as a document that assists content writers in understanding the theme and objective of the content to be written.
These briefs generally include information like:
• Brand voice and tone
• Target audience
• Primary keyword(s)
• Word count
• Questions to answer
• Secondary keyword(s)
One key point here to understand is when and how to keywords in an article. It is important to use keywords relevant to the subject you are writing about and use a combination of short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords to utilize them more effectively. Short tail keywords are essentially two or three-word phrases whereas long-tail keywords are phrases with five or more words.
BENEFITS OF WRITING A SEO BRIEF:
Let us have a look at a few of the benefits that you can derive if you have an SEO content brief in hand.
1. Cost minimization:
A good content brief ensures that the writer knows exactly what he or she needs to write about. This has a direct connection to the cost of the entire process as it reduces the number of times a draft has to be altered or completely rewritten. This also has an indirect relation to the cost as a good content brief has the capacity to retain the writers as well as clients, reducing any financial and time-related costs in the future.
2. Achieving consistent content:
Many organizations do not have the capacity to hire a team of full-time writers who work solely on the brand and its values. Generally, a large number of content writers work as freelancers, meaning they provide their services for different companies or institutions on their terms. In these cases, having a content brief for each type of content that you want to create will ensure that even if you hire different content writers, they will all follow a strict outline and format that you have designed specifically keeping your brand in mind. This ensures stability and consistency across all the writers and content that you intend to put out.
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3. Ease in creating similar content:
Having a content brief when it comes to topics that have similarities to each other is extremely beneficial as it saves the time and energy required to write a new piece of content. This type of content can be produced with the help of templatized formats which would work for thousands of other similar topics as well. Repeatable pieces of content like this can be identified with the help of keywords which are a fundamental part of SEO content strategies.
4. Helping writers and clients understand SEO practices:
One cannot expect clients and content writers to carry knowledge about SEO and its functionalities. However, SEO professionals can educate them by providing built-in education over a period of time. The significance of keywords, headers, word count, etc. can be taught through a content brief designed specifically to educate the writers and clients, thus creating writers that are aware of how SEO can be utilized in their content. As a result, over a period of time, a large amount of time and money can be saved by organizations.
5. Save time:
Having a content brief with detailed outlines, guidelines and objectives will usually result in the content being created more faster and efficiently. If this can be achieved, content writers and SEO professionals will have the freedom to creatively improve the already completed content by sharing ideas and collaborating effectively.
Now, let’s take a look at the Content cycle that includes all the steps from building to distributing content, so that we may have an idea of when and where the content brief fits into the whole content production process.
Through meetings between the SEO content agencies and the company executives that include the sales and the marketing teams, the objectives, rate of production etc are decided in this step.
Building content strategy:
A long terms strategy is devised by the content strategist by taking into consideration keyword research, estimated search volume related to the business, goals, and buyer personas among many. A final decision will be taken after a series of discussions between the strategist and the company.
This is the stage where the content briefs are generally designed. Company leaders and SEO professionals work together by sharing crucial information and expertise, which is then used to write an effective content brief for the type of content that they wish to work on. In general, the more a company participates in this process, the better the brief performs.
Distribute to writers:
The brief is forwarded to the writers who then based on their skills and experience, research into the topic to create interesting content for people to read. Some back and forth is encouraged between the writers and the SEO team, in order to achieve a much more polished product.
Once the final content is created, it is then uploaded online after reviewing and scrutinizing by the relevant teams.
Analyze: In order to optime performance, it is necessary to analyze the data and understand the changes that could be made to achieve better performance for your content in the future.
HOW TO CREATE A GOOD SEO CONTENT BRIEF:
In order to create an effective SEO content brief, it might help to follow steps or even structure it with the help of a table. The main objective of the process is to simplify things for the writer by effectively communicating your strategy and creative ideas.
Let’s take a look at the steps involved in creating an effective SEO content brief:
Assigning the basics:
In the first step it is crucial to recognize all the basic requirements – from assigning writers, coming up with a deadline, which keywords to utilize, URL slug and also communicating the objectives of the post. The necessary information should be relayed to the writers as they are responsible for final product and its effectiveness.
To help the writer write a good content it is a good idea to give them a sense of direction by providing certain details with regards to the company and its objective. Certain aspects that are helpful are:
• Target audience:
Understanding the audience and what they are looking for will give a good idea about the content a writer is supposed to write.
• Search Motivation:
It is important to recognize the reasons as to why an individual would search for a certain keyword or phrase as this will tell where they fall in the sales funnel.
• Specific points:
Understanding the pain points and how your product or service could help solve these issues and how to frame these into the solution are some aspects that can be considered
Structuring the content:
In this section, the content structure is designed by taking into consideration the already present outline and brief. The topic or the title, headers, links to products and blogs along with links to similar content that could inspire your writer should be shared.
To ensure SEO consistency and maintain its effectiveness, you can come up with a brief checklist that covers all the important aspects of an SEO brief. It could include :
• Length of the title
• Number of characters for the eta descriptions.
• Format of the title.
Writing the content:
Finally, a few suggestions for the final content can be provided to the writer. These may include a few suggestions for the titles, meta descriptions and the main body of the content. It is important to create content that can entice organic traffic to visit your blog or site.
Now, since we have understood all the nitty-gritty and the process involved in producing an SEO content brief, lets take a look at an example of a SEO brief template.
A simple brief will look something like the one mentioned below:
3. Content length
5. Answers to relevant questions
6. Brand voice/tone
7. Purpose of the piece
8. Target customer
HURDLES OF CREATING CONTENT BRIEFS:
There are multiple challenges involved in creating a successful SEO content brief and one of the biggest hurdles is the challenge of time. It usually takes a large amount of time in writing a good SEO content brief because of various reasons. From creating templates to researching keywords, and finally writing it, these problems can all add up and lead you to spend too much time on them.
To make things easier there are content brief templates available online which you can make use of. Another important tool is Artificial Intelligence. AI writing tools can essentially make life simpler for you by creating your briefs in a short amount of time with more or less the same level of effectiveness.
In conclusion, although it is not an easy job to communicate your ideas effectively as there are many aspects to be kept in mind during the whole process, it can be made simpler if you can understand the importance of a few things. These include successfully explaining the objective or goal of the piece to your writer, why readers will find your story valuable, and finally using the right SEO language i.e. keywords. If these are done, I believe good content can be achieved that will help you reach your objectives as well as keep the writers and clients content with the work.