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How Content Briefs Revolutionize Marketing Team Collaboration

Discover how content briefs are transforming marketing team collaboration. Streamline workflows, boost productivity, and deliver outstanding results.

Written and visual content is crucial to any content marketing strategy. It allows you to reach more prospective customers while educating and becoming a thought leader in your industry, building trust while promoting sales. While there are various ways content works to improve your business, increase sales, and build valuable relationships, the main goal of content is to build brand awareness.

Marketing teams typically consist of strategists and writers. In small teams, strategists themselves might be writers. However, for the most part, the people doing the writing aren't the ones involved in the strategy development. Instead, they're part of the team that ensures the work gets done, writing and creating relevant content that supports the overall strategy.

A content brief is a tool that can help strategists and managers communicate with writers and other types of content creators more effectively, providing them with all the information they need to create better content that requires fewer revisions.

Keep reading to learn more about content briefs, why you should have them, and how to create a content brief template that helps your team succeed.

What is a content brief?

A content brief is a roadmap with a set of requirements to guide writers and content creators in creating digital assets and other marketing materials. They can be used for anything from blog posts and landing pages to social media posts and infographics. These documents aren't typically used for curated content unless you have something to do with creating the content since they typically provide instructions for how the content should be created.

Basic elements of a content brief include the target audience, word count, title and topic, and keywords based on search engine results pages. Of course, if the digital asset isn't a piece of written content, it may contain different elements like audience, purpose, and recommendations.

Content briefs can also include basic information about the content's purpose and a rough outline to help guide the writer. They are designed to help different members of the marketing team communicate with one another. A strategist may create a content brief for a writer, setting certain expectations with them to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Since these documents act as a written record of what the content should look like, writers don't have to worry about capturing all the necessary requirements in a meeting. Instead, they have clear instructions to work from.

It's important to note that a content brief is different from a creative brief. A creative brief is a document that serves as a roadmap for more general creative projects and strategies like social media marketing. Both help you create content and strategies that appeal to your primary audience but serve different purposes internally.

The role of content briefs in marketing teams

While these documents are primarily used for writing search engine optimization (SEO) content like blog posts, product pages, and landing pages, they can be used for any form of content — written or visual. It's especially important for more structured forms of content like SEO content that requires specific keywords to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Content briefs should be a part of your overall content plan, allowing you to quickly create briefs to start the content creation process as soon as possible while setting expectations with writers and providing them with an outline and resources they need to complete the project as quickly as possible.

If you work with writers, having a content brief is necessary because it helps them understand what the topic and title are and how they should write the article. For instance, is it a landing page designed to sell or an optimized blog designed to educate and rank on SERPs?

SEO and marketing strategists perform keyword research and planning to ensure pages rank in search results. Content briefs help them communicate more effectively with writers, giving them information about the keywords they should use, how many words they should write, and other important information like linking structure.

Writers can also create their own content briefs, depending on the project. For instance, a writer might create a content brief when working with a client to help the client understand what the project entails before they begin writing and finishing a draft. A high-level content brief helps the writer understand whether or not their plans match the expectations of their clients.

The content brief is used throughout the planning and content creation process, but it's also used to review the content once it's completed. Once the writer finishes their work, the strategist will ensure it meets the requirements of the brief.

In most cases, it's wise to use a content brief template for all written content. Having a template makes it easier for writers and strategists to communicate, setting expectations for both parties. Since content briefs can be time-consuming since they require several components, using the same structure can streamline this part of the planning process.

A content brief template will also help you remember everything you need to provide the writer to ensure they have all the information they need to create relevant content that meets your requirements.

Key benefits of content briefs for marketing team collaboration

Your content strategy has a lot of moving parts. Important ideas, topics, and messages can fall through the cracks without proper communication. Creating content briefs helps you save time while improving collaboration throughout the team. Here are a few key benefits of using a content brief to create quality content:

Clear communication and alignment

Detailed content briefs improve communication and align strategy with writing, providing writers with everything they need, from titles and keywords to external and internal links, to establish a shared vision and goals. They also give valuable insights that help to define the target audience and their search intent to help writers create more effective content.

Content briefs can also be used to help the content team understand deadlines. For instance, writers will know what's due and when to help strategies properly plan their content marketing strategy.

Improved coordination and workflow

Content briefs allow you to improve coordination and workflow within a team of marketers. With a content brief, you can clearly assign tasks and responsibilities while managing the entire content creation process to avoid duplication and inconsistencies. For instance, let's say you have a team of marketers who produce content, plan the entire content strategy, and perform keyword research.

Some focus on social media content, while others determine search intent to improve SEO efforts. Whatever the case, everyone on your team may have shared responsibilities. If you don't create a content brief, team members might not understand their exact role within a project.

Instead, you might have multiple writing the same article or no one available to write it at all because of improper planning. A content brief avoids these misunderstandings, helping everyone understand their role within a specific project.

Facilitating creativity and innovation

Content briefs not only provide valuable information, like the primary keyword and title of an article, but they also improve creativity and innovation among teams by providing creative direction and inspiration.

Your content brief can provide examples of relevant articles to help writers create more valuable content, encouraging brainstorming and ideation before writers begin writing an article by providing writers with as much detail as possible.

Enhancing accountability and tracking

A detailed content brief is designed to provide editorial direction while providing writers with target keywords that allow them to create more SEO-focused content. Yet, they also enhance accountability and content harmony, allowing you to work better as a team.

For instance, if you work with a freelance writer and provide them with keyword suggestions, you can track their progress and milestones throughout the project. In addition, content briefs are part of the process, so you won't be able to share them with experienced writers until the rest of the team completes their work.

A content brief can also be a tool that helps you monitor the performance of a particular web page. For instance, if you find an underperforming page, you can review the content brief to determine whether any part of your content strategy needs improvement.

Since briefs provide a high-level overview of the content, along with an outline, a list of primary keywords, internal and external links, and other important information, you can determine how each element impacts organic traffic for a particular page.

How to implement content briefs into your workflow

When you write a content brief, your main goal should be to define the overall structure for templates in the future. These tools are decided to help you produce content for the intended audience. Then, once you've developed a content brief template, you can tailor them to specific projects or campaigns.

Your content brief should include anything an in-house or freelance writer might need to create valuable content, including the following elements:

Topic and suggested title

The title of the article provides writers with context to help them better understand the overarching theme of the content. The title should include the primary target keyword or a variation. Remember, your recommended title may change during the writing process. Still, the title should reflect the topic, even if a writer chooses to change what's in the content brief to something potentially more relevant.

Meta descriptions

Since the main goal of a content brief is to help your pages rank on search engines, you should always include meta descriptions. You can either write the meta descriptions yourself or ask the writer to do it for you if they have the experience and skill set to do so.

Meta descriptions appear in search engine results pages, so the person writing them should have an idea of how to write content that makes the target audience want to click on the result.

Primary and secondary keywords

Keyword research is a crucial component of a content brief. Your content brief should contain the primary keyword that informs writers of search volume and how often they should use it and secondary keywords that are either variations or related to the primary keyword.

Because content briefs are typically used for articles optimized for search engines, it's a good idea to keep your keyword research as basic as possible. While you might use keyword research tools that can help you find thousands of long-tail keywords or secondary keywords, writers don't need spreadsheets worth of keyword variations. Instead, keep it simple with a list of 4-5 keywords per article, and allow them to use variations accordingly.

As part of your keyword research, you should identify internal and external links and their anchor texts. Internal links help search engines understand your content and where it fits within the structure of your website. All internal links should have an anchor text that relates to the page being linked to.

Depending on the type of content you're creating, your content brief can also contain external links you want within the article, allowing writers to cite sources if necessary.

Goals for the content

Your content brief should ultimately tell writers the type of content they're creating. Different types of content have different purposes. For instance, product pages and landing pages are designed to be salesy and promote conversions. On the other hand, a blog post is meant to educate and inform.

Letting your writers know the type of page they're writing for your website can help them create better quality content designed with a purpose. Keep in mind that for some writers, it is not as simple as telling them what type of content they're creating. Individuals that don't have marketing expertise might need examples or a better description to help them understand the goals of the content.

Questions your target audience has

Adding questions your target audience has about a topic can help your content brief address those questions, making it more likely to rank in SERPs and be engaging. You can review the People Also Ask (PAA) section of Google SERPs to determine which related questions the target audience may have and ensure your content answers them either directly or indirectly.

Word count requirements

Different types of content have different word count requirements. A landing page might have fewer words required to sell a product, while a long-form blog post may be necessary to help your content rank in SERPs. When you write a content brief, keep in mind the type of content and the required word count to help your content meet its goals.

Having the word count listed on the content brief also helps with billing and accounting. If you're using a freelance writer, they may be paid per word. Keeping the word count listed on the content brief ensures the writer knows how much they're expected to write and earn from a particular piece of content. In addition, it helps the company track how much it owes its writers.


Your content brief should contain a list of resources to help writers create quality content. While having primary and secondary keywords helps them do their own research on a particular topic, it helps to provide them with resources they can use upfront to either cite in the article or help them understand a topic.

A rough outline with headings

Content marketing comes easier for some than others. You can't expect copywriters to fully understand the purpose of content marketing or every tactic involved. Instead, they focus on the writing. Your content team consists of other members like strategists and managers responsible for planning and implementing a strategy.

While more experienced writers can create their own outlines using competitor research and looking at examples of top-performing content or top-ranking articles, it helps to make a rough outline with headings for them while providing them with resources that can help them fill in the outline with more in-depth sentences.

Suggestions for visual elements

Supplementing your written content with visual elements is crucial, especially if the main goal of your content is to engage your target audience. Your content brief should always include suggestions for visual elements to help guide writers and designers. You can suggest the type of visuals, format, and the required number of images per post.

Style guide

A style guide can give your writers information on your preferred tone and voice and overall brand messaging to ensure your content aligns with your branding. A style guide might cover everything from punctuation preferences, the spelling of brand names or product lines, tone of voice with examples, and formatting rules.

Ask for feedback

A content creator is different from a strategist in many cases. Instead, your content marketing team might work on creating content in different stages of the process. Content briefs are designed to help writers and strategies collaborate more effectively and efficiently with less time wasted in meetings or through follow-ups.

Unfortunately, you won't know if your content brief is effective until you use it. You can create a content brief example and share it with your writers to determine whether they think it's missing crucial information like internal or external links, keywords, etc.

Ask your writers questions about the content brief, like what they like about it and what they don't, and if they believe the new structure can help them going forward. Then, improve upon your existing content brief and implement it within your larger content strategy.

Train and onboard for content brief utilization

Creating a content brief takes all the research you perform before writing an article and makes it easier to relay that information to writers without needing meetings and follow-ups. This improved communication and collaboration help teams create high-quality content that can help you rank on any search results page.

Create content briefs and measure the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns with Mailchimp. Our all-in-one marketing suite enables you to create content that converts, educates, and provides value to your primary target audience.

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