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How To Write A Content Marketing Brief

February 17, 2020
How to write a content marketing brief

Ever outsourced your marketing activity, only to be disappointed by the finished product? Or been frustrated when you ask your content marketing agency for another round of amends? In this article, we explore how to write a content marketing brief and why it’s so important.

Why Create A Content Marketing Brief?

Quite simply, a content marketing brief ensures you get what you want from your agency or freelancer.

It doesn’t matter if you’re commissioning a three-year content marketing strategy, a tactical marketing plan, or a client case study video, a solid brief is essential.

By defining what you want to create, for whom and by when, you’ll keep your suppliers on target. If they know what you’re trying to achieve and why, they have a better chance of getting it right. Not only will it save you time, but it’ll also save you heaps of frustration down the line.

Whether you’re briefing a content marketing agency, an internal team or a freelance writer, a bulletproof briefing document can make a world of difference.

What Are The Key Elements Of A Content Marketing Brief?

If this article is serving its purpose, you should now be convinced that you need a content marketing brief. So what does a good brief look like?

Over the next few hundred words, we’ll guide you through the process, so you know how to write a content marketing brief.

We outline the steps that we typically take and the information we tend to include to ensure projects stay on track, whether we’re briefing or being briefed.

1. Define your objectives

The most important point, in our eyes, is your objective. What do you want your content marketing activity to achieve? Is it an improvement in your search engine rankings? Is it an increased level of brand awareness? Or an increased conversion rate?

Your objectives guide the content marketing process. They influence your strategy and tactics, along with messaging and channels you use. Be sure to state your goals before work begins.

2. Introduce your audience

Defining the intended audience for your content marketing is as important as defining the objective.

Content created for Gen Z will be different from content created for Baby Boomers, for instance. Their expectations about the format and tone of content will differ, as well as the platforms they’re likely to use.

Again, by clearly stating your target audience within your brief, your content marketing agency will have a better idea of how to get the content right. If possible, attach personas and profiles to give your agency the best chance of success.

3. Is this part of a wider campaign?

Is the content marketing activity part of a wider campaign? For example, will there be related PPC activity? Or PR?

By giving this information to your agency, they can make sure the content aligns with other activity without duplication.

Give as much information as possible about the work already completed, or currently underway.

4. Provide your brand guidelines

This has been touched on in another article, so we won’t go into too much depth, but if you have a style guide, tone of voice document or brand guidelines, supply these to your agency.

This will give them the best chance of creating content consistent with your brand’s look and feel.

5. Formats & Channels

It might be that you already have an idea about how your content should look before you appoint your agency. Be up-front about this before they start work, so the finished product matches your expectations.

Not sure what we mean? Well, if, for instance, you have a list-style article in mind for an advertorial, but you don’t tell your writer, they might write a thought-leadership piece or an A-Z. As such, you may be disappointed by the finished article, so always outline your own considerations.

Don’t forget to include the intended distribution channel too. For instance, if you’re creating an explainer video for social media, this might look different from a video created specifically for your website.

6. Define your metrics

It’s always a good idea to mention how you plan to measure success.

Content creators and agencies will gear their output towards achieving those aims. They may include calls to action at key points, to drive sales enquiries, or weave in certain keywords to drive search engine rankings.

By giving this information up-front, your supplier can make informed decisions.

7. Set a deadline

Surprisingly, deadlines aren’t always provided by clients but they’re essential.

A deadline ensures that your agency can manage its workload while ensuring that you get your content, strategy or plan when you expect it.

Without a deadline, there is no sense of urgency, which means you could wait weeks or months for your commission.

Ask questions

Communication is key to getting what you want first time. So once you’ve created and delivered your brief, take time to talk it through with your agency. Only then will you be sure they understand what you’re looking for.

And don’t be afraid to ask your content marketing agency or freelancer if they need anything else. They are experts in their field and can point out considerations you may have missed, whether your objectives are too ambitious or your deadlines are unrealistic.

Your brief should be the foundation for a two-way conversation about your marketing, allowing you to achieve your organisation’s goals on time and on budget.

Got your own briefing tips? Pop a comment below!

Main photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

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