How to Write a Content Brief That Makes Publishing Easy In 2024

by Eddy Ballesteros - Updated: April 10, 2024

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  • A content brief guides content creation, aligning it with marketing goals and target audience needs. It includes keywords, audience personas, and the content's strategic purpose.
  • A content brief should have a clear structure with information on the audience, keywords, format, outline, background, tone, SEO, deadlines, linking, and review process.
  • AI tools like Claude 3, ChatGPT, SurferSEO, and Keyword insights can help improve content briefs by providing SEO assistance and suggesting improvements for comprehensiveness and readability.

A well-defined content brief is the foundation for creating SEO content that engages and converts.

This article provides simple steps on how to write a content brief that focuses your content, making sure each piece has a clear purpose and aligns with your strategic goals.

By following these steps, you'll be able to produce content faster and more effectively.

Best Content Brief Software

Surfer SEO Tool

Surfer SEO

  • Free Chrome Extension
  • Keyword Research
  • Topical Mapping

What Is A Content Brief And What To Include

A content brief is a strategic guide for writers and content teams.

It helps create content that aligns with marketing goals and connects with the target audience. More than just a checklist, it's a comprehensive document detailing what needs to be communicated.

A content brief ensures consistency in brand voice, narrative flow, and content quality across all platforms, such as:

  • Blog posts
  • YouTube scripts
  • Online courses

Think of a content brief as a detailed recipe. It outlines the ingredients needed to delight your B2C audience.

It includes primary and secondary keywords that drive organic traffic and help search engines understand your content.

A content brief helps you strategically construct compelling stories that captivate and convert, rather than just creating content for the sake of it.

Do I Need To Create A Content Brief?

If you're wondering whether to create content briefs, a content brief is a guide that helps your content align with your goals.

It makes sure that every part of your content works towards achieving specific objectives. A content brief connects your content efforts with your business goals, creating a consistent narrative that drives growth.

For content that resonates with your intended audience, a content brief is essential.

It provides direction, allowing you to prioritize tasks and make informed decisions.

By defining the topic, subtopics, and understanding customer needs, it ensures your written content connects powerfully with your target keyword and audience.

A content brief streamlines content marketing workflows for your writers and editors, making the content creation process smoother and more efficient.

My Content Brief Example And Template

As a full-time content creator and blogger, I ensure my content writers follow the same brief every time. My content brief includes the following elements:

  • Create my document using Surfer SEO or
  • Make sure the search intent is correct
  • Add SEO-optimized title and meta description
  • Pick the top competing articles to rank against
  • Write down internal or external links
  • Include branded images and alt text for each
  • Add product placements for affiliate or digital products
  • Add FAQ section for Google snippets
  • Check for plagiarism and spelling mistakes
  • Run the article through an AI content detection tool
  • Get A Surfer Score of 70+
  • Hit publish
  • Then perform an SEO audit using an SEO audit tool

Eddy's Content Brief Template

That is my entire content brief template, and I always use a content optimization tool to ensure I follow the best blogging practices.

With this template, I know my content is optimized for users, and Google is happy. This is one of my top blogging tips for anyone new to article briefs.

The Blueprint For Structuring Your Content Briefs

Creating a content brief is like building a house; it needs a solid foundation and a detailed plan. To create effective content briefs, use a template that includes:

  • Target keywords and audience details
  • The value the content provides to the reader
  • Visual elements for strong editorial direction
Why are content briefs important?

A well-structured content brief is your content marketing agency's secret weapon, guiding the team to create high-quality content that tells your brand's story effectively.

1. Identifying Your Audience: Who Are You Writing For?

The first step in creating your content brief is identifying your target audience.

This determines how the content will engage your intended readers. By defining who you're writing for, you create the chance for deeper engagement, which can lead to conversion.

  • Craft audience personas that reflect their interests and stage in the buyer's journey
  • This helps writers create content that addresses pain points and interests of your audience

Whether you're a freelance writer or part of a content team, understanding your audience ensures the content you produce captures and keeps their attention. It's about creating a narrative that feels made for the reader, addressing their unique needs and goals.

2. Figure Out The Search Intent With Keywords

In content marketing, keywords help readers find your content through search engines. Figuring out the search intent behind primary and secondary keywords means understanding the questions and needs driving your audience to search online.

  • Integrate the right primary and secondary keywords, aligned with your content's niche and angle
  • This helps attract traffic that's not just high in volume but also relevant
  • Use keyword research tools like the Keyword Magic Tool or competitor analysis to find the right phrases
Understanding the search intent while writing the article

Long-tail keywords and related phrases expand your targeting scope, improving your content's visibility and its potential to convert searchers into readers, and readers into customers.

ChatGPT SEO Keyword Clustering

I was using ChatGPT for SEO opportunities 

Your content brief template is the map that guides this keyword process, ensuring your writing stays SEO focused and your content connects with both your audience and search algorithms.

3. Determine The Content Format

Choosing the right format for your message is not just a decision, it's a strategic move that can significantly impact your audience's engagement and the success of your content marketing strategy.

The content format you choose is important so you know the reader's or viewer's end goal.

To find out if it's going to be a blog post, YouTube video, or podcast should fit your audience's preferences and your content marketing strategy goals.

The content brief template should outline the desired length, structure, and style.

This includes the introduction, headings, and subheadings tailored to optimize user and search intent.

Look at top-ranking pages for your selected keywords to see which content formats work best.

Specify in your content brief template if the content is written or visual, and include formatting details such as:

  • Word count
  • Image inclusion
  • Other layout elements that improve readability and user experience

This approach gives content creators clear guidelines, helping them produce quality content that's informative, visually appealing, and easy to consume.

4. Create the Content Outline

A content outline is the framework of your content, providing structure and ensuring a logical flow from one topic to another.

The content brief example becomes a roadmap for writers, eliminating confusion and directing their focus.

A detailed outline helps with the narrative arc. It makes sure the content delivers value and precisely addresses the reader's needs.

Think of the content outline as your table of contents, guiding writers to navigate your topic confidently. It's not just about what to write; it's about presenting information coherently, comprehensively, and compellingly.

Start creating the content brief

An outline in your content brief encourages creativity within a clear framework, allowing writers to explore subtopics in depth while keeping the overall message in mind.

5. Provide background information

Giving writers the right tools and information is crucial for creating resonating content.

Background information in a content brief is like giving a painter a palette of colors; it allows for creating a vibrant and relevant masterpiece.

Include the following in your content brief:

  • Context
  • Brand's perspective
  • Key questions to address
  • Resources such as a style guide

This enables writers to create content that aligns with your brand's messaging and the reader's expectations.

Adding relevant data, statistics, or examples not only enriches the content but also positions it as authoritative and trustworthy.

The background information keeps the content on track, preventing extensive rewrites and ensuring the final product aligns with the initial vision.

6. Specify the tone and style

The tone and style of your content serve as the voice and personality of your brand to the global audience.

Therefore, you need a content brief that clearly articulates this, whether authoritative and informative or casual and conversational.

  • Set the tone—persuasive, informative, or friendly—to align the content with the brand's personality
  • Ensure a consistent experience for the reader

Guidelines on writing style, such as the appropriate use of humor, storytelling, or technical language, help content creators understand how to approach the topic.

The tone and style specified in the content brief template are essential in creating content that informs, engages, and entertains.

This fosters a connection with the audience that goes beyond simply transmitting information.

7. Include SEO considerations

Being seen is important, and SEO helps your content get noticed.

Adding SEO factors to your content brief template makes sure that the content is not only created but also found by the right people in search results.

Give content creators SEO advice, such as:

  • Targeted the primary keywords
  • Engaging titles and meta descriptions for search results
  • Header tags (H1, H2, H3)
  • Image alt text
  • Anchor text for internal links
  • Suggested word count

AI SEO tools can help improve your SEO approach in content briefs. These tools provide data-driven suggestions to better your strategy.

By including SEO factors, the content brief becomes a complete guide that helps content rank well.

This makes sure that all parts of the content are optimized for both search engines and reader engagement.

8. Set deadlines and deliverables

Deadlines and deliverables are the heartbeat of content creation, ensuring a production rhythm that matches your content marketing workflow.

A detailed content brief outlines the project scope and the expected deliverables, providing a clear timeline that guides the content team from start to finish.

  • Establish milestones and include buffer times for unexpected challenges
  • The content brief template acts as a timekeeper, maintaining the pace and preventing projects from taking too long

Be clear about the project timeline and deliverables, including:

  • Draft submissions
  • Final edits
  • Desired file formats
  • Additional requirements like images and links

This makes sure that writers and editors are aligned. It also simplifies the process, making it easier to go from creation to completion.

By setting realistic timelines and budgets, the content brief becomes a contract of efficiency, a promise of timely and high-quality content delivery.

9. Linking Strategies: Internal and External Links

Internal and external links are crucial for Google to understand your content.

They also help with topical mapping, which organizes and connects related topics within your website.

A strategic approach to internal and external linking helps search engines better understand your content and improves the user experience by guiding readers to relevant information within your site.

  • Internal links point out related topics and provide quick overviews
  • External links offer additional information and perspectives, establishing your content as a knowledge hub

The content brief should outline a linking strategy that includes both internal and external links.

This helps the writer understand the broader context and how the topic connects to other areas.

You can use an internal linking tool to help you create internal and external links throughout your content. 

This tool suggests relevant links based on your content, making the linking process easier and more efficient.

A well-planned linking strategy leads to a more coherent and comprehensive creation process.

Each piece of content supports and strengthens the others, contributing to a cohesive content marketing strategy.

10. Clarify the review and approval process

The last part of making content isn't just about writing it down, but also about going over it and giving it a final thumbs up.

When you clarify how this review process should go in your content brief, you make everyone's job easier and help the content shine before it goes out into the world.

It's also a good idea to let people know who to talk to for that final OK so there's no confusion and things get done quickly.

It's really important to get an outside opinion to make sure the content fits with the marketing plan.

This includes checking that the length is right, the keywords are there, the tone is on point, and it's ready on time.

When you spell out how feedback should be given and when, your content brief isn't just a starting point; it's also a tool for polishing your work until it's just right.

Examples of Different Types of Content Briefs

Content brief templates are important tools for copywriters, content creators, and SEO specialists.

They help guide the creative process, like a map, providing direction, focus, and objectives to make sure the content created is consistent and high-quality.

Businesses can take ownership of their content creation process by crafting their own detailed content brief templates for various use cases, such as blog post briefs, SEO-optimized briefs, eBook briefs, and ad copy briefs.

A style guide, when used in conjunction with content briefs, fosters a sense of unity among content creators, keeping everyone on the same page and ensuring consistency in the content produced.

Content brief templates include sections for all the information needed to write content, like the purpose, target audience, word count, and primary keyword. 

The specific sections depend on the type of content being written.

Creative briefs are similar but used for ad campaigns or web design. They provide background info on objectives and timelines.

If you're not sure where to start, you can find free templates online from resources like Surfer SEO, which has downloadable brief templates for different projects.

How You Can Leverage AI For Your Content Briefs

Embracing AI for your content briefs is like having a smart buddy who gives you top-notch advice, lifting your content game to new levels.

I've seen firsthand how cool AI tools like:

  • Claude 3
  • ChatGPT
  • SurferSEO
  • Keyword insights

They're here to help you whip up content briefs that hit the mark with both people and search engines.

These smart tools take the edge off the hard stuff. They look at feelings, clarity, and how easy your content is to get.

They do more than spruce up your SEO; they suggest ways to make your content fuller, more on-point, and easier to read. 

This helps writers put together articles that really grab people's attention and keep them hooked.

With AI, making a content brief that mixes human creativity with what search engines want is way easier and more straightforward.

What To Avoid When Creating A Content Brief?

Creating a content brief can be like navigating a minefield, where a single misstep can lead to big consequences. Some common pitfalls to avoid include:

  1. Not defining a clear target audience, which can lead to content that resonates with no one.
  2. Skipping keyword research, resulting in content that doesn't match search intent and gets no organic traffic.
  3. Not setting measurable goals, making content creation directionless and unlikely to succeed.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can create content that is targeted, optimized, and effective.

Not providing enough context or background can lead to shallow content that fails to engage the reader.

To avoid these common mistakes, make sure your content briefs are thorough, focusing on:

  • The audience
  • Keywords
  • Goals
  • Context

This approach avoids potential missteps and sets the stage for content that stands out and delivers.

How detailed should the content brief be?

A content brief should be detailed enough to provide clarity and context, guiding writers without limiting creativity.

To achieve this, consider including the following in your content brief:

  • A well-constructed outline
  • Clear goals and tone
  • Key points or themes to cover
  • Any specific research or data to include
  • Target audience and their needs or pain points
  • Any specific keywords or SEO requirements

Encourage writers to add their own insights and expertise as long as it fits the overall goals and tone.

This lets writers bring a unique perspective, enriching the content with their individual style.

The goal is not to overwhelm with too much information but to provide a clear framework that serves as a foundation for high-quality content.

A detailed content brief with the right amount of detail serves as a springboard for creativity, ensuring that the final product aligns with the content strategy and has the writer's unique voice.


A good content brief is an important tool for content marketing.

It guides writers and content teams, making sure that each blog post matches the brand's voice, marketing goals, and target audience.

From identifying the audience to specifying tone, style, and SEO considerations, each part of a detailed content brief plays a key role in creating great content.

Use AI to simplify the process and avoid common mistakes. Remember that a short but complete content brief provides direction without limiting creativity.

With these insights and strategies, you can create content briefs that make publishing easy and effective. Let the brief be your guide, and watch your content reach new audiences and meet your goals.


How do you write a topic brief?

To write a topic brief, identify keywords, outline the structure, add specific topics and subtopics, include a call-to-action, create an audience persona, provide the word count, and list any desired internal or external links. This will help create a focused brief for your content.

What is the main purpose of a content brief?

The main purpose of a content brief is to guide writers in creating content that matches marketing goals, brand voice, and the target audience. It outlines clear expectations and requirements for consistent and effective content creation. It helps content creators understand what is expected of them.

Can a content brief improve SEO performance?

Yes, a content brief can greatly improve SEO performance by including targeted keywords, meta titles and descriptions, and effective linking strategies. This boosts visibility and search engine rankings.

How can AI tools be used in creating content briefs?

AI tools such as SurferSEO, NLP, and ChatGPT can help optimize content briefs by offering insights on keyword usage, content completeness, sentiment analysis, and readability. This improves the relevance and quality of the content.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in a content brief?

To create an effective content brief, clearly define the target audience, do thorough keyword research, set measurable objectives, and provide detailed context and background information. These steps help create a complete and informed content brief.

Eddy is an AI, SEO, and personal finance blogger who uses and tests products to help others improve their lives through AI and financial literacy. With years of experience in online business, he deeply understands the latest AI and SEO trends. Eddy is also well-knowledged in personal finance and committed to sharing his knowledge and expertise with his readers.

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