Whether you’re a content marketer or an SEO strategist, anyone involved with managing a team of content writers understands the struggle of receiving inconsistent and poorly written first drafts.
Without a doubt, they’re well-written in terms of language and grammar. But editing the content that isn’t aligned to the goals, campaigns, and brand can drain your time and energy when the draft fails to meet client expectations, lacks the right keywords, or links to competitors.
If you are spending hours on edits, it’s time to tell your content writers exactly how to create the content correctly — with an in-depth content brief.
This guide will discuss why is it important to use content briefs, why manual content briefs are a challenge, the benefits of an AI-generated content brief, the essential elements of a good content brief, and how to improve your content creation process with ALPS Content Brief feature.
So, what is a Content Brief and why is it important?
What is a content brief?
A content brief acts as a link between content strategy and content creation. It collects and organizes all the instructions a writer needs to produce comprehensive and effective content. They make sure that the content you receive from your writers performs exceptionally well and is in line with your content strategy.
Why Content Briefs are important? –
When your content team grows in headcount and ambition, you must depend on time-saving and transparent processes that enable your writers to work more efficiently and effectively.
Content briefs provide direction to the writers before they even start investing time in the content creation process.
If no details are provided before the process of writing starts, a writer can easily miss the mark, which can frustrate the content manager as the content doesn’t match their expectations.
From a content writer’s point of view, the real frustration comes when frequent edits and rewrites happen due to the lack of direction in the beginning.
Content briefs make sure that your content writers don’t lose sight of the end goal, and you, as a content marketer or SEO professional, don’t lose your investment by receiving unpublishable content repeatedly.
Most industries are saturated with content creation; therefore, high-quality, authoritative content is the key to your SEO success.
Elements of effective content briefs
List of Keywords
A keyword list consists of all your targeted keywords and other relevant keywords along with their respective Search Volumes.
They are utilized by search engines to identify the subject matter and channel search results to the end-user.
Therefore, use this list wisely to target the right keywords and create high-performing content that yields maximum results.
The number of words in a content piece makes a huge difference in determining how well your content will perform on search engines.
It has a significant impact on how creators should put their content together.
Therefore, a great content brief must analyze the high-ranking competitor pages and determine what the ideal length of your content should be.
The ideal word count might differ depending on your topic, audience, and other factors like relevance and quality; nevertheless, defining the length of a content piece is essential.
The content score reflects the content relevancy of the high-performing content with respect to the targeted keywords.
The score considers the presence of keywords and semantic/related content in the content to give you an idea of what an ideal content must include.
Relevance scores for all applicable phrases, headlines, titles, and meta descriptions to help you shape the most impactful content.
SERP Elements to consider
In this, you can find the current SERP Elements (Rich Snippets) for your targeted keywords like Popular Products Item, Related, People Also Ask, Images, Multi Carousel, Videos, Top Stories, Paid, Knowledge Graph, Twitter
High-performing Reference pages
A good content brief must include a list of all top-performing competitor pages on the web that are relevant to your targeted keywords. You can also find the length of each content piece, their readability grade, and the content quality to understand the required writing style for your topic.
You can use these page references as a guide to create your own content that can beat these pages.
Though Keywords and reference sources are crucial, it is wise to remember user readability.
Optimizing content for SERP positioning is only half of your job. You would want your readers to understand your content and enjoy reading it.
Therefore, you can use these grades to get an idea of the writing style and tone the high-ranking pages have and understand how you can mold your style to compete with the best.
Often, when users search with a query, they are also looking for answers to some related questions.
With this list of questions, you can write good SEO-optimized content that includes answers to these questions so that users don’t have to navigate to other articles.
Including answers to these questions in your content will ensure comprehensive coverage of the topic for targeted keywords, eventually increasing your overall authority over a particular topic.
There are related phrases for every topic that can boost content relevance and contribute to building authority.
In a good content brief, you can see the relevant phrases for every topic and their relevance scores to improve your content relevance.
You can use these phrases optimally in metadata and body content whenever possible to build authority.
A content outline is the most crucial part of any content brief. You can produce comprehensive content loved by your readers and search engines alike and organize your article to make it easy to read that flows well.
Typically, a content outline includes:
- A title with the target keyword
- Subheadings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to outline the topics your content writer should cover with the long-tail keywords to target
- Key takeaways to make sure your writers cover all critical information your readers need to know.
If your content writer isn’t provided all this knowledge and lacks expertise, there’s a high likelihood that the resulting sections will be off-topic or fluff.
Title tags form an essential part of any SEO strategy. Comprehensive titles attract human readers and inform search engines what the webpage is all about.
Therefore, good writers find a way to balance the two.
This list will tell you about the titles that rank high on SERPs for the targeted set of keywords.
Also, in conjunction with the recommended list of phrases, this list of titles can be used by your writers to create titles for your web page that performs.
Meta descriptions are listed on the SERPs with the URLs.
They briefly summarize what readers can expect to see on the webpage. In a content brief, there must be a list of meta descriptions along with their quality scores from various high-ranking pages on SERP for the targeted set of keywords for your reference.
You can use this reference to structure your own meta description to win over the SERPs.
The <H1> tag is used to introduce the core topic that is covered on the page.
In a good content brief, you’ll find a list of H1 tags that rank high on SERP for the targeted set of keywords.
With this information, you can easily understand your H1 content’s relevance to the target keyword and what you need to do to beat those high-ranking pages.
The <H2> tags are typically used to introduce essential subtopics.
These tags help search engines identify the hierarchy and structure of the page and for the users, they help set a context and give them a preview of what they are about to read.
A good content brief lets you get a list of URLs with corresponding H2 tags along with their quality scores, which will enable you to get all subtopics that the high-ranking pages have covered so that you don’t miss out on any important sub-topic that can be critical to your SEO success.
Things to Avoid While Writing your Content Brief
- Don’t provide recommendations after the content has been written
- Don’t just follow your keyword research tools blindly
- Don’t instruct your content writers to “include these keywords” and the number of times they should include the keywords
- Don’t try to cram keywords into writeups that weren’t meant for search discovery
- Don’t just indulge with high search volume keywords over high intent matches
Challenges with Manual Content Briefs
Those already familiar with content briefs must already be aware: Creating content briefs can take a considerable amount of time.
While this is not your fault — there are multiple factors to look at for creating compelling content. From doing your keyword research, to where you finally write your content (Google Docs or Microsoft Word), from looking for your existing content for relevant internal links to making sure you’re targeting the right topic cluster. That’s too much work to do in very less time.
To make this a little straightforward, you can find AI-driven tools that automate the process of content brief generation.
These AI-driven content brief tools consider various ranking factors for your content, find insights into your competitors’ content, and create automated briefs that your writers can use to easily create SEO-optimized content in less time, with minimal research effort and minor revisions.
Benefits of AI-enabled Content Briefs
Today, the Artificial Intelligence & NLP algorithms in modern SEO tools have eliminated the need to invest hours in research and create content briefs manually. These AI-driven content brief tools let you generate Content Briefs in minutes so that you can seamlessly produce quality content at an accelerated speed.
Here are a few primary benefits an AI-generated SEO content brief presents as the first step of your content creation process.
Prevents unnecessary rewrites and revisions
Content briefs are a strategy that allows a content team (clients, strategists, marketing managers, content creators, and editors) to be on the same page. There are typically several miscommunications that can happen all the time over points like:
- The writing style, tone, and brand voice
- The keyword usage
- The content quality of high-ranking pages
- The questions that the content should answer
- The ideal length of the content and the quality to aim for
- The comprehensiveness of the content
- The relevant titles, H1 tags, sub-topics, meta descriptions and more
- The brand’s point of view on this topic
With a good content brief, everyone quickly understands what the writer will produce – key to avoiding multiple rewrites and several rounds of revisions.
To develop trust with your audience or clients, you need to deliver great content consistently.
However, the current trend of Remote working can quickly become a challenge for the marketing teams with writers and editors operating from across the world and with varying skills and expertise.
Therefore, it’s essential to keep everyone on the same page.
If everyone works from a single instruction set, they can invariably create quality content that meets your and your client’s needs.
A content brief can help your writers create content at a higher level, maintain a consistent brand voice, and set a uniform standard for your brand.
Ensures Delivery Deadlines
When a content lead oversees several projects at a time, their editorial calendars are usually filled to the top without any chance of rescheduling.
A missed deadline can start a domino effect of late deliveries and customer complaints.
Without a good brief, a content team will waste too much time collecting crucial information or working through several edits, which means time wastage, leading to missed deadlines.
By inserting briefs into your content workflow, you can make sure writers can turn around drafts faster.
This results in better quality SEO content at scale.
Provides critical information
Good content briefs can work as a content checklist because it pinpoints all the relevant subtopics, facts, and questions you want to include in the content.
You can help your writers produce comprehensive content that search engines and the audience love.
This prevents content writers from missing key requirements in a content piece.
Saves Time and Money
When content writers create underwhelming first drafts, editors or managers have to spend additional time revising their content.
This lengthy editing process wastes valuable time and costs excessive money on just fixing a weak draft.
A good content brief provides content writers with clarity before crafting the first draft. It informs them on what to focus on and guides them throughout the content creation process.
This allows them to create better content the first time without unnecessary revisions and ensure the content is comprehensive and in-depth.
Helps beat your competitors
You can accumulate key insights on keywords, competitor pages, Questions to answer, phrases to use, headlines, titles, and meta descriptions that perform well in the search engines.
This allows you to take inspiration from your high-ranking competitors and craft your content in a way to beat them in the SEO game.
Boosts Content Search Rankings
Suppose you’re trying to scale up your content by working with multiple writers. In that case, you can’t just rely on them to research or understand complicated SEO requirements, particularly if they’re new and lack the required expertise.
Therefore, an AI-generated content brief can minimize the risk of investments not materializing. With it, you can quickly produce content that caters to your audience and Google, resulting in eventual rank improvements.
Drives Organic Traffic
With the AI-crafted briefs, content writers can clearly understand the search data and user intent behind these searches.
Creating content around that user intent or answering the user intent is the best possible way to hint search engines to rank your pages higher against others, which can eventually result in increased organic traffic to your website.
Content Brief with ALPS
ALPS’ Content Brief tool allows you to create content at scale without compromising quality.
It runs on an NLP model that eliminates guesswork and accelerates your content planning process to save hours of research time and create high-performing authoritative content that ranks.
The patented AI algorithm pulls crucial data from top-ranking content to give you an in-depth look at the top-performing key phrases, most searched questions around your core topic, titles, meta descriptions, H1 and H2 tags to include in your content to cover with expert know-how.
The two most important aspect that helps ALPS Content Brief tool stand out are:
With ALPS patented scoring for phrases, headlines, titles, meta descriptions, H1s, and H2s you can easily understand the aggregate relevance for all the key aspects of the high-performing content that help you shape the most impactful content.
The ALPS Content Brief tools pull out the key information for all related keywords along with your core keyword at once.
This feature allows you to comprehensively compare, understand, and develop better content by exploring granular details from top-ranking pages like keyword targeted, phrases used, questions answered, metadata, titles, etc.
An excellent way to shape your content when the topic or focus is broad is to provide references to high-ranking competitor content.
This gives your content writers an idea of the content style you want and in-depth insight into your competitor’s content.
Providing your writers with a powerful content brief is the most efficient way to ensure that the content draft comes to you perfectly.
An in-depth brief with all the essential elements will allow your content writers to create high-quality, relevant, and performing content that meets or exceeds your expectations.
For more tips and resources to help you create high-performing content that sails to the top of Google, signup for a free demo here!