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Create A Winning SEO Content Brief To Get Top-Notch Content

How to Create an SEO Content Brief

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If you are outsourcing your content writing, then this post is for you.

An SEO content brief plays a crucial role in the quality of your content and how well it’ll perform on SERPs.

You need to give very clear instructions and guidance to your writers so that they can write content that matches your brand and meets your website objectives.

A solid content brief can make an average content creator turn in above-average content, and a weak or no brief can make a good content writer turn in low-quality content.

In this article, I’ll discuss:

  • What makes a good SEO content brief.
  • The value to your content marketing and business.
  • How to create a quality brief and what goes into it.
  • What to avoid when creating briefs.
  • Some software and tools that help, and
  • A template to make your content brief creation easier.

But first…

What is an SEO content brief?

An SEO content brief contains information on how content should be written, including its goals, summary, target keyword(s), target persona, tone, sub-topics to be covered, external and internal links, image guide, call to action, SERP competitors, expected word count, etc.

It helps every content stakeholder be on the same page, understand the project, the deliverables, and know what will make an optimal result.

The best SEO content briefs do not leave a chance for second-guessing. They are very detailed and provide all the information a writer needs to deliver top-quality content that satisfies both search engines and humans.

An ideal #SEOcontentbrief leaves nothing to chance. It's detailed and covers all aspects of the content including expectations, messaging, outline, and more. Share on X

Value of a good SEO content brief

Value of a good SEO content brief

A good SEO content brief is valuable for the writer, content strategist, editor, marketer, website owner, and every other stakeholder involved in producing the content.

It helps you save time, resources, energy, and money and ultimately increases your chances of meeting your content marketing goals.

Here are a few ways a good SEO content brief can add value to your business:

1. Cut content production costs

A good SEO content brief streamlines your content production process, which means you save money and resources.

The brief will help your writers turn in well-written content that matches your content objectives. There is a lesser chance of miscommunication and low-quality delivery.

So you will spend less time and money on editing and other adjustments.

2. Get content faster

When you create a detailed content brief for your SEO content, writers won’t need to guess or assume your expectations for a piece of content.

The clarity from your brief will help reduce the time they need to create the content.

You can easily meet your content publishing goals with your writers submitting work on time and meeting deadlines.

3. Improves content’s SERP position

Content that provides valuable, relevant information to searchers ranks easily on SERPs.

A good SEO content brief makes it easy to write content that answers all search queries on a given topic.

Your writers will be able to write valuable content that provides in-depth information for the readers while meeting basic SEO best practices.

Your search engine position will be better, and your website will get noticed more.

You will get qualified organic traffic and leads that have a high potential to convert into sales.

4. Maintains brand tone and voice

To build customer trust, you must maintain your brand personality, tone, and voice across all marketing channels.

When many writers handle your content needs, achieving this becomes a huge task.

However, with an excellent content brief, your writers will use the same tone, voice, and format in writing your content, making your brand messaging across all channels consistent.

A good #SEOcontentbrief reduces production costs, improves delivery time, boosts SERPs positioning, maintains brand messaging, and more. Share on X

How content briefs improve your SEO content marketing efforts

Creating SEO content briefs is a vital part of SEO content marketing efforts. It makes it easier to achieve your content marketing goals.

To create a good content brief, you must do in-depth research on your audience and the keywords they’re searching with. This helps your writers create relevant content that improves your SERP ranking and increases conversions.

Furthermore, content briefs help you effectively plan your content creation process. By outlining the content’s topics, structure, tone, style, and voice, the brief ensures that the content is consistent, high-quality, and meets the desired SEO content marketing goals.

Pro tip:

Keyword research is crucial for SEO, if not the most important part. You can also ask your content writers to conduct keyword research.

But I would recommend doing that only if you are sure the content writer completely understands your brand, your content goals, SEO, and have proven to be good at finding high-potential keywords.

How to create a content brief

Here are some steps to creating a great SEO content brief that will improve your content marketing efforts:

1. Identify your target audience

Identifying your target audience is the first step in creating an SEO content brief and includes knowing your ideal customers’ demographics, needs, and interests.

You must understand their pain points and the problems they are trying to solve so you are better equipped to prepare a content brief that addresses their needs and meets search engine requirements.

2. Define your topic

When you know the needs and pain points of your audience, you can also identify and define the main topic that they need help with, and that aligns with your brand and website objectives.

This topic serves as the foundation for creating valuable and engaging content, such as blog posts, articles, videos, and social media posts.

You need to create high-quality content around the chosen topic to drive organic traffic, and attract and retain customers.

conduct keyword research with Semrush

3. Conduct keyword research

So now you know the topics.

The next step is to find the keywords your audience is using to search for information online on this topic.

Identify the major (primary) keyword and other supporting semantic keywords they use to seek information.

Pro Tip: 

It is not enough to identify keywords, you also have to understand the search intent behind them. For example, do they want knowledge (informational keyword), or interested in buying (commercial or transactional keyword)

Some great ways to find these keywords include researching with tools like Semrush and SE Ranking, studying your competitors’ websites, and reviewing commonly used keywords on search engines.

4. Create an outline

Create a content outline for your content based on your keyword and competitor research.

Ensure you cover the topic in detail by addressing the main pain points and sub-topics and adding supporting data, examples, or images you’d want in the content.

The secondary keywords can form relevant sub-topics, making the content brief more detailed.

5. Define the format

After outlining the content, choose the format that best suits your content, such as a blog post, infographic, or video.

Define the content structure and layout, identifying where each relevant piece of information should be.

Choose formats that suit your audience and make your content visually appealing.

Consistency in format will help your audience remember you more.

6. Specify the tone and style

After you’ve defined the format, the next thing is to specify the tone and style in line with your brand platform and brand kit.

The content brief must tell if you want content written in a professional or personal tone and whether you want it to be conversational.

You can provide links to some content that uses the exact tone and style you want.

7. Establish the call to action (CTA)

If you want your audience to perform a task, specify it in the content brief.

Whether you want the readers to sign up for a newsletter, follow a page, or buy a product, specifying it in the brief will help the content creator produce excellent content and a supporting CTA that meets the content expectations.

To create a winning #SEOcontentbrief, you must identify your target audience, do keyword research, define topic, create an outline, specify format, tone, and style, establish a CTA. Share on X

How to Create an SEO content brief

What should go into a content brief?

Here are the key components of an SEO content brief:

1. Primary keyword

SEO Content Brief Template.xlsx Google Sheets

This is the key term or phrase the content should focus on. It is also referred to as the focus keyword or phrase. It is often the primary information your audience wants to know about.

2. Search intent and knowledge level

find out search intent

The search intent addresses the problem the target audience is trying to solve and highlights the type of intent as I mentioned earlier (informational, transactional, educational, navigational, etc.).

Target customers at the top of the funnel with more informational and educational content, and those in the middle and bottom with more commercial content to aid their purchase decision-making.

3. Content title

The content title specifies the scope of the content.

Your content title should attract the audience’s attention, give them an idea of what to expect, and encourage them to engage with the content.

You don’t have to finalize the content title when you create your SEO brief. Just enter a working title, and when your content is written and edited, you can fine-tune your title.

4. Word count

The content brief should specify the length of the content by stating the required number of words.

Give an indication in your brief about how long you expect the content to be. A few words more or less will happen almost always, and most content writers are okay with that.

5. Competitor’s content

These are links to the top-performing articles on the SERPs for the keyword you wish to target.

Share them with your writers for reference. Your writer will study them with an objective to outrank them in the SERPs.

6. Target audience location

Stating the target audience’s location helps the writer tailor the content to resonate more with the audience.

For instance, the US and UK have varying English word spellings and cultural differences.

7. Content format

The brief should also state the content format. Is it a blog post, infographic, or video?

The information will help guide the structure and layout of the content.

8. Content outline and sub-topics

The content outline which includes sub-topics is a crucial aspect of a content brief.

Sub-topics are the smaller sections that break down the main topic into specific points or ideas. They make your content organized and easy to follow.

9. Content media specifications

The content brief should also state the type of media you want to use in the content – images, videos, etc. It should also specific the media quality, size, and format.

You should indicate in your brief if the media are to be sourced from custom-image websites or designed from scratch.

10. Writing tone

Should the content be conversational and personal or straight to the point and professional? Your writer should know.

11. Deadline

The content brief should also specify the content project turn-in date.

What to avoid when creating SEO content briefs

To ensure your content meets its intended goals, here are some common mistakes to avoid when creating an SEO content brief:

1. Keyword stuffing

While target keywords are essential for helping the target audience and search engine understand the focus of the content, inserting them unnaturally throughout the content can lead to a poor user experience and even harm SEO rankings.

Thus, target a few relevant keywords and indicate them in your brief.

2. Vague or overly broad topics

Avoid using vague or overly broad topics, as they significantly reduce click-through rates (CTR), making meeting SEO and business goals challenging.

3. Neglecting user intent

Addressing user intent is vital to creating SEO-rich content.

Neglecting it means creating content that fails to resonate with the audience because their pain points weren’t addressed.

4. Failing to study the competition

Your competitors’ websites are the most resourceful places to search for relevant keywords and sub-topics.

Failing to study your competition makes creating content that outranks them on the SERPs more difficult.

5. Lack of content goals and metrics

Not defining the goals of your content while preparing a content brief will make it difficult to measure the results at the end.

What to Avoid In An SEO Content Brief

SEO content outline

A content outline is a skeletal form of content. It is like a building sketch that, when fleshed out, produces an amazing edifice.

Here’s an example of a typical SEO content outline:

  • Content title, which includes the focus keyword
  • Meta description: A snippet that gives the readers insight into the content
  • Headings (H2, H3, H4, etc.) discussing the content details according to how the sub-topics relate.
  • Conclusion
  • Call to action that specifies what the audience should do after reading.

SEO content brief example

Here are simple content brief examples, starting with the one applicable to this content piece.

Example 1

Title: How to Prepare a Great Content Brief for Your Writers

Focus Keyword: Content Brief

Secondary Keywords: content briefs, content brief example, content brief template, how to create a brief, content creation brief, how to write a content brief

Content Breakdown:

  • Introduction
  • What is a Content Brief?
  • How important is a Content Brief?
  • Components of a Good Content Brief
  • How to Create a Sound Content Brief
  • Mistakes to Avoid When creating a Content Brief
  • Content Brief Examples
  • Software and Tools for Creating a Good Content Brief
  • Conclusion

SERP top performers: Provide links to the top-performing articles on the SERP

Word Count: 1500 – 2000

Delivery date: xx/xx/xxxx

Search intent: Informational

Target audience: content marketers, small business owners


Example 2

Title: What is Brand Evolution and Why is it Important for Small Businesses?

Focus Keyword: Brand evolution

Secondary Keywords: evolution of a brand, brands that changed their logo, brand evolution process, brand evolution examples, brand evolution and rebranding.

Content Breakdown:

  • Introduction
  • What is Brand Evolution?
  • Benefits of Brand Evolution
  • Brand Evolution Examples
  • Brand Evolution Process
  • Difference Between Rebranding and Brand Evolution
  • Small Business Brand Evolution Tips
  • Is Brand Evolution Right for You (Conclusion)

SERP top performers: Provide links to the top-performing articles on the SERP

Word Count: 1500 – 2000

Delivery date: xx/xx/xxxx

Search intent: Informational

Target audience: content marketers, small business owners


Example 3

Here is another example of a content brief:

Title: 5 Sets of Brand Adjectives to Describe Your Small Business

Focus Keyword: Brand Adjectives

Secondary Keywords: words to describe a brand, how to describe a brand, brand personality, adjectives to describe a brand, brand voice adjectives, brand tone adjectives.

Content Breakdown:

  • Introduction
  • What are Brand Adjectives?
  • Different Types of Brand Adjectives
  • How to Describe a Brand Personality with Brand Adjectives
  • Tips on How to Choose the Right Brand Adjectives
  • Signs You’ve Done a Good Job with Your Brand Personality
  • Signs You Need More Work Done on Your Brand Personality
  • Conclusion

SERP top performers: Provide links to the top-performing articles on the SERP.

Word Count: xxxx

Delivery date: xx/xx/xxxx

Search intent: informational

Target audience: content marketers, small business owners


SEO content brief template

Based on the above explanations and examples, here’s a detailed SEO content brief template you can quickly fill out to produce an in-depth brief for your content creators.

SEO Content Brief Template

Content brief software and tools

Here are some software and tools to help you improve your content marketing efforts and draft a detailed brief:

Google Search Console (GSC): GSC is the best SEO tool, as it gives you insights to optimize your website’s presence in Google search results. It provides your site performance reports, index coverage reports, security issues reports, etc., to enable you to improve your site’s performance.

However, it only gives you metrics from your own website. To analyze the market and competition, you need a different SEO tool.

Semrush: Semrush is another exceptional tool for performing keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink analysis, site audit, etc. Get an exclusive 14-day trial to try it out.

SE Ranking: SE Ranking is my favorite Semrush alternative. It is quite a comprehensive tool that offers features like keyword research, website auditing, backlink analysis, and competitor tracking to improve search engine rankings. It is not as powerful, but then again, it is cheaper. You can also get a 14-day trial.

Final thoughts on SEO content brief

An SEO content brief is to a content creator what a blueprint is to a constructor.

It provides an excellent guide to creating valuable, relevant content that will help you meet the needs and preferences of the target audience while also meeting search engine requirements.

Have you ever written an SEO content brief when you have outsourced your content writing? What other tips would you add? Share in the comments!

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Vishwajeet Kumar
10 months ago

Hello Poulomi,
Content is king and plays an important role in user engagement and increasing sales and conversions. A good SEO content brief definitely helps bloggers to rank well in search engines. Thanks for sharing this detailed post
Vishwajeet Kumar


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