How a content brief can boost your SEO content writing.
Creating content is essential to any SEO strategy, but it’s important to remember that not all content is created equal.
To produce effective and engaging content that resonates with your target audience, starting with a plan is crucial. Anyone can generate content but if it fails to have any structure, reach your audience, resonate, or provide value, you are wasting your time.
By clearly understanding all the necessary elements before you start writing, allows you to tailor your content to speak directly with your ideal audience, addressing their needs, interests, and pain points before you provide a solution – your product or service.
This plan-driven approach also helps to focus your writing and avoid tangents, which can make your content less effective. Additionally, with a plan, you can better track and evaluate your content’s performance and identify future improvement areas.
What is a content brief, and why is it important?
A content brief is a document that outlines the purpose, target audience, and goals for a specific piece of SEO content writing. This brief will help to ensure your efforts are aligned with your overall marketing strategy and therefore effectively targeting the right audience.
A content brief should include details such as the tone and style of the content, the key takeaway, and the specific keywords or phrases that should be included to optimise it for search engines.
Simply put, a content brief is a roadmap that provides direction, focus, and guidance to the copywriter, allowing them to create copy that aligns with the overall marketing strategy and effectively engages the target audience.
Key elements of a content brief.
A content brief should include the following key elements:
- Purpose – The overall goal or objective.
- Target Audience: Who are you trying to reach with the content you’re creating?
- Key Message: The primary message or benefit that the content is meant to convey.
- Desired Outcome: What is your content meant to achieve? A purchase? Sign-up? Social media share?
- Tone and Style: How do you want to sound? Formal or informal? Serious or humorous?
- Key Takeaway: The main point or learning that the target audience should take away from the content.
- Keywords and Phrases: Relevant keywords and phrases need to be present to optimise the content for search engines.
- Calls to Action: What action do you want your audience to take? Visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter, buy now, etc.
It’s worth noting that some content briefs may include additional information like distribution channels and deadlines. Still, the above-mentioned vital elements are the minimum and the core elements of a content brief that adopts a content-first SEO approach.
Align your SEO content writing with your marketing strategy.
A content brief can help align your SEO content writing skills with your overall marketing strategy by clearly understanding the content’s purpose, target audience, and goals. When you have a plan that outlines these elements, you can ensure that the content you produce is consistent with the rest of your marketing efforts and supports your overall business objectives.
A content brief also helps you to focus on your target audience’s needs, wants and interests, which means that your content is tailored to them and will be more likely to resonate. This allows you to create a more compelling message that can achieve the desired outcome more efficiently.
By creating a content brief that includes calls to action, you can ensure that your SEO content writing techniques encourages your target audience to take a specific action, such as visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase. This aligns with your overall marketing strategy by making your content more actionable, which can ultimately drive more conversions and sales.
Overall, a content brief is a valuable tool that can help you create compelling, audience-focused content that supports your overall marketing strategy and achieves your business objectives.
How a content brief relates to SEO copywriting.
Search engines use complex algorithms to determine the relevance and quality of a piece of content. These algorithms consider keywords, meta tags, internal and external links, and user engagement. These algorithms aim to provide users with the most relevant and valuable results when they search.
Search engines will consider the quality of the content; this includes factors like the relevance, usefulness, and overall readability. They also look at user engagement, such as the time spent on the page, the number of backlinks, and click-through rates. All these factors collectively play an important role in determining the quality of a piece of content; higher-quality content is more likely to rank higher and get more visibility in the search results.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of optimising your content and website to rank higher in the search engine results, it can be a complex process, but it’s essential to have good visibility on the web. By aligning your SEO copywriting and content with search engine algorithms and best practices, you can increase the chances of your content getting found by your target audience.
Importance of including relevant keywords.
Keywords are one of the most critical factors in determining the relevance of a piece of content. When users search for information, search engines look for websites and pages that contain the keywords they are searching for. If a piece of content includes relevant keywords, it is more likely to be deemed relevant and therefore appear at the top of the search results.
By including relevant keywords in a content brief, you can ensure that your copywriting in SEO aligns with the language and phrases your target audience uses to find information online. This can help increase your content’s visibility and make it more discoverable to the people looking for it.
It’s worth noting that it’s important not to stuff keywords unnaturally in your content; this practice, called “keyword stuffing”, is seen as a spammy tactic by search engines and can harm your search engine visibility rather than improve it. Keyword stuffing is when you repeat a keyword or phrase multiple times throughout the content, which can make it difficult to read and therefore reduces the quality of your content, it can also trigger penalties by search engines. Instead, use keywords sparingly and in context; this way, you’ll be able to create high-quality and relevant content that naturally attracts your target audience and boost your search engine visibility.
In summary, including relevant keywords in a content brief is crucial for SEO content writing; it allows you to optimise your content for search engines and increase its visibility in the search results, helping your target audience find your content more easily.
A real-world example of using a content brief.
Let’s say you are a plumbing company looking to create a blog post about the different types of pipes and their uses. A content brief for this blog post could include the following elements:
- Purpose: The purpose of the blog post is to educate homeowners on the different types of plumbing pipes and their uses.
- Target Audience: The target audience is homeowners and DIY enthusiasts interested in learning more about plumbing.
- Key Message: The key message of the blog post is that there are several different types of plumbing pipes available, each with its unique characteristics and applications.
- Desired Outcome: The desired outcome of the blog post is to increase brand awareness and trust by providing valuable information on a specific topic and generate leads by encouraging readers to contact the company for more information or to schedule a consultation.
- Tone and Style: The tone and style of the blog post should be informative and easy-to-understand, but also engaging and exciting.
- Key Takeaway: The main point or learning that the target audience should take away from the blog post is a better understanding of the different types of plumbing pipes and their uses.
- Keywords and Phrases: Relevant keywords and phrases for the blog post could include “plumbing pipes”, “PVC pipes”, “Copper pipes”, “Galvanised pipes”, “Drainpipes”, etc.
- Calls to Action: You want the target audience to take specific actions after reading the blog post, such as visiting the company website to learn more about their services or contacting the company to schedule a consultation.
By including these elements in the content brief, the company can ensure that its blog post is aligned with its overall marketing strategy and targets the right audience.
The article is also optimised for search engines by including relevant keywords and phrases that homeowners might use when searching for information about plumbing pipes.
By creating content tailored to the target audience and relevant to the industry, it is more likely to attract readers interested in plumbing and convert them into leads.
How to create a content brief for SEO.
Here is a more in-depth guide and outline to creating a content brief that produces effective and engaging content that resonates with your target audience.
- Define the Purpose: The first step in creating a content brief is to define the purpose of the content. What is your overall goal or objective? Is it to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or something else? By clearly defining the purpose of your content, you can ensure that it aligns with your overall marketing strategy.
- Identify your Target Audience: The next step is to identify your target audience for the content you’re going to be producing. Who are the individuals or groups that the content is intended to reach? Be as specific as possible and include demographic information such as age, gender, income, and interests.
- Develop the Key Message: Once you have defined the purpose and target audience, you can develop the critical message that the content should convey. What primary benefit or takeaway do you want the target audience to receive from the content?
- Determine the Desired Outcome: Determine the specific action or outcome the content aims to achieve. Are you wanting to drive them into visiting your website, are you wanting to generate leads, or are you wanting to encourage social media shares?
- Establish the Tone and Style: Decide on the tone and style that the content should convey. Do you want to sound professional, friendly, funny, informative etc. Knowing this will help guide the manner of your writing and ensure consistency with your overall brand voice. Additionally…people want to feel like they’re being spoken to by a real person.
- Identify the Key Takeaway: Identify the main point or learning that the target audience should take away from your content. This will be the key takeaway for the reader; it will help the writer to focus on the most important message.
- Research Keywords and Phrases: Research relevant keywords and phrases that should be included in the content to optimise it for search engines. Use keyword research tools to find the terms people use to find information about your industry or niche. That way, you can include them within your writing and create more opportunity for your content to be seen.
- Include Calls to Action: Decide on specific actions you want the target audience to take after reading or viewing the content, such as visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase. Make sure to include this in the content brief and ideally, have relevant call to actions following specific pieces of content.
- Review and Finalise: Review the content brief and complete it. Ensure all elements are covered, and the information is accurate and consistent. This content brief will serve as a roadmap for the writer to follow and will provide direction, focus, and guidance to the copywriter.
It’s worth noting that different types of content will require further details in the brief, and you may have to adjust it based on your content’s context, purpose, and audience. The steps mentioned above are a general outline to create a content brief that will be useful for most types of content.
Tools and resources to help you create a content brief.
Various tools and resources are available to help create a content brief. Here are a few popular options:
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help you understand your target audience and identify the keywords they use to find your content. You can use the data from Google Analytics to create buyer personas, track user behaviour, and determine the most popular pages on your website.
Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Keyword Explorer, help you identify the keywords and phrases people use to find information related to your industry or niche. This can help you to create content that is more likely to be seen by your target audience.
Many companies have pre-built content short templates that you can use to guide the process. These templates can be found online and are often free to download and use. They can serve as a helpful starting point for creating your content brief.
Project management tools like Asana, Trello, Basecamp, and others allow you to collaborate with your team and keep track of progress on the content brief; they can also help you set deadlines and keep track of feedback.
Using a SWOT analysis framework can help you identify your content’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. That way, you can identify areas where the content can be improved and help you understand how your content fits within your industry and how it can be differentiated.
Surveys and feedback can be a great way to gather information about your target audience and their needs. You can use tools like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Qualtrics to gather feedback and understand your target audience better.
Mind mapping tools like XMind, Mindmeister, and others can be used to organise and structure your thoughts. Mind mapping can help you identify the critical elements of your content, such as purpose, target audience, and goals.
These research tools can help you understand your target audience and identify the keywords they are using to find your content.
In conclusion, a content brief is essential to help set you up for success in your next writing project and excel at SEO content writing.
By clearly outlining your content’s purpose, target audience, and goals, you can ensure that it aligns with your overall marketing strategy and targets the right audience.
By including relevant keywords, you can also optimise your content for search engines and increase its visibility in the search results. Using the tools and resources available, you can gather valuable information, stay organised, and create a comprehensive and effective content brief.
I encourage you to start using content briefs for your following writing projects; it will make your SEO content writing process more efficient and your content more effective.
With a content brief, you can create content that will resonate with your target audience, achieve your desired outcome, and drive your marketing goals.