One of the most effective ways to attract new leads and build brand awareness is through content marketing. Developing and publishing content on a regular basis is very important to ensure that you get the most out of your efforts. Depending on the size and nature of your team, the best way to manage your content creation process is through a consistent and organized calendar. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how a content brief can help reduce the amount of time spent on various tasks and projects, as well as what else you can do to scale your team. Keep reading to discover what a content brief is, why it’s important, and how to write one. Then, explore a real content brief example, along with tips on how Wrike can help. 

What is a content brief?

A content brief is an important document that marketing departments and agencies use to tell writers and collaborators what they should do when creating a specific piece of content. It can be used to communicate the direction a piece of content should take, as well as optimize website messaging, pinpoint sales funnel targets, and support keyword strategies. 

What is an SEO content brief?

A good SEO brief is a document that helps writers understand the purpose of their content and what should be included in it in order to rank higher in search results. These details should include primary keywords, secondary keywords, internal links, headers, alt tags, metadata, and anything else writers and editors should know when creating the final piece. 

Why are content briefs important?

A content brief is a must-have for writers before they start working on their first draft. It helps them identify what they should focus on and what they should avoid in order to create better content. Here are some of the key benefits of using a content brief: 

They solidify your strategy

Content briefs outline what you’re writing, but, more importantly, they also explain why you’re writing it in the first place. This affects the tone, intended audience, call to action, and many other important aspects of the piece. 

They save time and money

Detailed content briefs make it easier for teams to assign and track requests, as it eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails. It also allows them to stay in sync with their projects and work seamlessly across different time zones.

They keep allocations organized

Including details such as project scope within the brief for each new piece keeps freelancers on track time- and budget-wise without going overboard and charging extra down the line. 

They help writers be creative

A great content brief will give the writer both direction and inspiration. Examples are helpful in sparking creativity. 

They ensure deliveries and deadlines are met

Content briefs clearly outline when first drafts, notes, edits, approvals, and publications are all due. This keeps the entire team on the same page. 

How to write a content brief: What to include

No matter what type of content you’re creating or what strategy you’re going for, you’ll want to include each of the following: 

  • Article title: This is the name of the blog post or other piece of content. It should include your primary keyword.
  • Subtitles or headers: This will point the writer in the correct direction and incorporate some more keywords.
  • Target audience: Who will read this piece of content? Add their job title and what they are likely most interested in learning about within this topic.
  • Article funnel stage: This refers to the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel, aka, the buyer’s journey. The funnel stage should directly impact the perspective of the piece.
  • Synopsis: A two- to three-sentence description or summary of the piece will go a long way towards making sure your writers understand what you need.
  • CTA guidance: If you have specific links or ideas for what you’d like readers to do after they finish the article, that information goes here. Even a general idea will help your writers. For example, even if you don’t have a specific case study in mind, you can ask your writers to find a relevant one to include.
  • Word count: This is the range or total number of words the writer should hit within the piece. Blog strategy experts recommend a minimum of but longer-form posts in the 1,000-2,500+ word range perform best.
  • Helpful research links: Articles you want the piece to be modeled after or ones the piece is competing with should go here.
  • Website or client guidelines: There may be specific requests or requirements depending on where the piece will be published, so make sure to include those too.
  • Deadlines: Make a note of each of the following due dates:
    • Keyword research
    • Outline
    • First draft
    • Notes (if any)
    • Revisions
    • Approval
    • Publication

SEO content brief template: extras to include

If you want to win Google’s featured snippet placement or simply rank higher than your competitors, you’ll need to include each of these: 

Meta title and description

Meta descriptions and title tags are parts of HTML code that help search engines understand a web page's content. These are usually shown whenever a page appears in search results.

Link suggestions (internal and commercial)

Linking to pages on your own company’s website as well as third parties strengthens SEO by building further connections to other relevant articles and pages. This is very helpful for search engine algorithms that will want to better understand how to place your article when ranking for certain phrases. 

Relevant keywords and volumes

Keywords also help build out the full picture of what your article is about. Their volumes represent the number of times a specific keyword has been searched for within a given timeframe and may indicate its value to your audience. 

Competitor research

What are competitors saying about this topic? How does your brand agree or disagree? And, most importantly, how can your article be better than theirs? 

Redirect information (if relevant)

A web page can be made available under multiple addresses by using a technique known as URL forwarding. When a browser tries to open a page that has been redirected, it displays a different page with a different address.

Content brief example

This content brief example is what we’ve used to create the post you’re reading now. Here is an outline along with an explanation of each item:

Article title How to Create The Perfect Content Brief
Article URL This is the web address the post will go to when live. 
Title tag This tag will appear at the top of our webpage.
Meta description When searching for our chosen keywords, this information will pop up underneath the title in search engines.
Article synopsis/purpose Here, we discuss which keywords we’re supporting, what we’re trying to do with the article, and what readers should gain from it. We also discuss which products or services to highlight, if any. 
Article goal This clear and measurable goal gives the piece more direction.
  • Here we use a bulleted list to outline the job titles of our intended readers
Funnel Stage This is where we pinpoint which stage of the funnel we’re targeting
Useful research links
  • These links make it easier to quickly find relevant information on the topic(s)
Prospective word count We use a single number or range.
Draft date due Add your date here.
Publication date Add your date here. 
Primary keyword This is where we put the word or phrase along with its volume.
Primary keyword current ranking If our brand is already ranking for this keyword we’ll put that number here.
Ranking URL If we already have a post ranking highly for this target keyword we’ll note the URL. 
Secondary keywords
  • This list includes supplementary keywords and their matching volumes
Inflexible H2s & H3s
  • Here we organize our chosen headers in list form. H2s go in the first bullet point.
    • H3s, if any, go in the indented bullet point. 
Internal link options to commercial pages List any relevant landing pages for the article.
Internal link options to supporting pages These links are relevant to the topic and may provide additional information readers would like to know.

How to create your own content brief template

Step 1: Create a document draft

Start by creating a document your writers and editors will have access to. Copy and paste a content brief example like the one above or create your own. Your marketing project management solution may also offer in-platform templates for content briefs. 

Step 2: List requirements

Next, double-check all included content. Is there anything else the writer may need to know before they begin? Are there any additional sections you need to add so that the brief aligns with your greater content strategy? 

Step 3: Add in strategy components

Then, begin to fill in the gaps. Collaborate with your SEO and editorial teams to get it done by the assigned deadline. Make sure they have completed their work before you get started with the brief, that way, it’s good to go soon after creating it. Get sign-off before handing it over to the writer. 

Step 4: Get notes and revise

Finally, be sure to test out your template and make a point to review its performance over time. Ask all collaborators for their feedback, then apply their notes to the next version of the content brief template. 

You may find that there are sections you can trim, saving time in the process, or, you may discover more information is needed. Adding these sections to your content brief template now will save time on back and forth questions, additional revisions, and missed deadlines in the future. 

Why use Wrike for content strategy and content brief creation?

Wrike is a project management tool that makes it easy for marketers to plan and execute their content strategies as well as create winning content briefs. Besides offering a holistic planning tool, Wrike has many highly effective templates, including the editorial calendar template

If you're a content agency or writer interested in project management, this template can help. The goal of this template is to create a pipeline that will allow you to regularly produce and publish new content. It will also help you create a consistent and comprehensive content plan. Not only does this aid in managing all of your requests, but it also keeps track of your schedule. 

It can even help you accelerate approvals and manage capacity. For example, if you’ve got incoming requests from internal stakeholders, you can capture and manage them all in one place. You can invite feedback from external collaborators right within the platform itself, making this solution fully scalable — an important quality for the high demands of content marketing management

And because there is no “one size fits all” solution to content marketing, Wrike has made its editorial calendar template completely customizable. With the help of custom workflows, you can easily create and manage a variety of tasks and projects. 

A custom workflow will also help you organize all of the different stages of your content. This allows teams to track all of the important details of each content asset, distribution platform, and intended sales pipeline.

You can add various fields to any content brief or request form, such as the client’s name, the budget, and the due date right in the template itself. After a request is submitted, your team members can click "Add Assignment."  You can then choose an appropriate team member to manage the task. 

Adding a new task to this template is as simple as clicking the + button and making sure that it's placed in the appropriate folder.

The Wrike content plan template also comes with pre-built dashboards that will allow you to monitor the progress of your content. These can be used to choose which posts to promote where. The template can also be used to determine which content you want to make more or less of in the future. We recommend using our tool to plan and get approval on your next marketing budget with figures based on real data from your past projects obtained through Wrike. 

Aside from the publishing calendar, Wrike also comes with a variety of project management tools that will allow you to manage all of your content. Wrike offers a content management platform that simplifies content strategy and content brief creation. This includes everything from writing copy to storing visual assets to running reports to see which content is most effective.

In addition to developing effective content strategies, Wrike’s digital marketing tools can improve a brand’s marketing as a whole. Consistent, high-quality content can help boost brand messaging and improve customer experience. And having a platform to manage it all can help resolve the many requests that come from various parts of the business. Having a consistent way to capture and manage all of your requests can help keep your other content plans running smoothly. 

Here is how Wrike’s team uses our platform for content strategy and content brief creation

  • Organize initiatives through individual calendars. With the ability to create individual calendars for different content types, Wrike allows our teams to manage their schedules more effectively. It can also help them identify potential conflicts between projects and tasks.
  • Keep everyone on the same page. The ability to share Wrike's calendar with other departments makes it easier for teams to work together on projects. For instance, if a blog is scheduled to launch before a new product is released, the team can easily see the status of the blog.
  • View accurate project updates. One of the most challenging tasks for teams is keeping track of the status of their tasks and projects. With Wrike's custom workflows, they can easily see the status of their tasks and projects at a glance.
  • Break incoming requests down into actionable steps. Project steps are outlined during the content request phase. In order to create a submission, an employee must first decide if the content will need to be written, edited, and/or proofread. After gathering all the necessary information, the requester is then directed to a page that provides a variety of questions that will help them choose the type of content they need.
  • Save time updating calendars. Wrike teams also use automation features within the platform. The first step in creating content is to create a Wrike task. This allows our teams to keep track of all the details related to their projects and tasks. As a result, Wrike Calendars automatically update with the latest plans and schedules.
  • Track project details you care about most. With the ability to create custom workflows, Wrike's content operations process can help teams keep track of all their tasks and projects. These features can help keep the details of the projects and tasks in order.
  • Get a bird’s eye view of all active projects. The team can also use a dashboard to keep track of all the progress of the tasks. This feature can help keep the team members focused on the tasks that are most important. 

Next steps: Put your content strategy to work with Wrike

Now that you know how to write a content brief, it’s time to decide how you’ll organize your strategy with the entire team. Use Wrike’s two-week free trial and input all of your briefs and related tasks into one clearly organized and easy-to-reference calendar the entire team can use to visualize your content strategy.