What Should You Include in a Content Brief?

What is a content brief?

Content briefs provide a helpful guide for writers. They set out the main goals and objectives for each piece of content – whether it’s a blog post, case study, White Paper or social post.

A content brief might include stylistic points such as:

  • Formatting preferences
  • Imagery or graphics to be included
  • Links to similar blog posts or articles
  • The tone of voice to be used
  • Word count recommendations

Each of these points are important. But you should also make sure to consider search engine optimisation (SEO) when putting your content brief together. This will help to ensure your content performs well on search engine results pages (SERPs), as well as appealing to your site visitors.

Some SEO-focused points you could include are:

  • Alt-text to be added to images – these are short, written descriptions of the images used in your content which are used by screen readers to aid visually impaired people and can help your images rank in search engines
  • Internal or external links to be included in the content
  • Keywords you’d like the content to target
  • Titles or headings to be used
  • Preferred meta title and description – these are what visitors to your site see on the SERP, so they’re an important factor in influencing them to click through to your site

Whatever you include in your content brief, you should ensure it is well-structured and easy to understand. Your writers will be using the brief regularly as a reference point, so try to make sure the information is clear and concise.

Why are content briefs so important?

If you’ve never produced a content brief before, you might be wondering if they’re really necessary.

You may be worried about how long it will take to put a content brief together, for example. But while you will need to put some time and resources aside initially, creating a content brief could actually reduce your team’s workload in the long term.

This is because your writers will have clear guidance and direction from the start, meaning fewer amends or time-consuming rewrites will be required. As well as saving your writers’ time, this approach will also reduce the amount of time managers spend signing off content.

If your firm employs more than one writer or works with an agency, content briefs can be especially useful for maintaining a level of consistency. You can use your brief to outline your tone of voice, spelling preferences and formatting style, so all writers will be working to the same guidelines.

How to create your content brief

Here are our five steps for creating a clear content brief:

1. Identify keywords to target

Setting out the keywords you’d like your content to target can give it the best chance of ranking well in the SERPs. But not all writers are experienced in SEO. In these instances, it’s even more important to list the keywords that should be covered within your content.

This will provide your writers with a starting point, allowing them to build out the structure of the article or blog post based on the keywords and topics you’ve given them.

If you’d like some more help with this step, take a look at our keyword research guide for law firms. We’ve broken down the process, and suggested online tools to help you get started.

2. Look at your competition

It’s highly possible that your competitors have also written content on the topic you’re planning to cover. To find out, try searching your target keywords in Google to see what the results bring up.

Take a look at some of the top ranking pages and make a note of the concepts being discussed. And don’t forget to take a note of any gaps in information, too. You could give your content a competitive edge by providing new insights.

3. Create an outline

Using your keyword and competitor research to help you, start to plan an outline for your content. This could be as simple as providing a suggested title, headings and a brief description of what should be covered in each section.

The outline you create doesn’t need to be set in stone. But it should provide a basis for your writers, letting them know how the piece should flow and how each topic should be addressed.

You could even use free generative AI tools like ChatGPT to help with this step. But make sure to check the results carefully for any mistakes before sending the template on to your writers.

4. List relevant internal links

Internal links are hyperlinks which take your site visitors from one page of your website to another. These are important because they help search engines understand the way your site is structured, while also making it easier for users to navigate your content.

For example, if your post explains how to make a Will, you could link to related content covering topics such as executors, beneficiaries or inheritance tax.

As well as keeping visitors on your website for longer, linking to internal content will demonstrate your knowledge of the subject at hand. This can help to boost your site’s authority – something search engines often reward.

5. Add your final instructions

This is where you can let your writers know of the tone of voice guidelines to follow, the overall objective of the post and any other information you think they should know.

You can make your final instructions as brief or as detailed as you like. But generally, the more detailed you are, the better aligned your content will be with your marketing goals.

After putting your content brief together, the next step will be to pass it on to your writers. Bear in mind that some points may need elaborating on, so try to make yourself available to address any questions or concerns from your team or agency.

Remember that it may take a few tries to work out the best process for creating a content brief. But once it’s done, it should deliver positive results for your firm.

For more help boosting your marketing efforts, get in touch with us today.


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