Content Briefs: What are They, and How Can I Use Them?

The most important job in Kontent Network is creating something called a content brief. Our Contributor’s Guide is like a “super content brief”: it talks about what the site will be about in general. Most content briefs go into talking about a specific post or series of posts. Or a video, in the case of Kuts.

Why Use Content Briefs?

The first and foremost reason for using content briefs is time. On average, a website that is gathering a large audience will post twenty posts every single day. Nobody has time to write twenty posts every day. But with a team of writers, it’s an achievable goal. But there’s one problem: your writers don’t know what to write about until you tell them.

A content brief is a short summary of a post, telling a writer what it should be about, and giving them all the information needed to write it. Content briefs are the path to the most time-efficient creation of the content you have to share with the world.

How Do I Write Content Briefs?

A content brief starts when you come up with an idea: I want my site to talk about this idea. Then you do the SEO research to figure out what terms, phrases, and questions people are talking about in regard to this topic.

Content Brief: Snowballs

Say you wanted to talk about snowballs. The first thing you’d want to find out is what people want to know when they are researching snowballs. Do they want to know what the biggest snowball ever made was? Do they want to know how quickly a snowball melts? Whether a snowball can survive in hell? (For you youngsters; It’s a debate from a thousand years ago). But what is it that they want to know about snowballs?

Based on that, come up with a list of questions that you think should be answered in your post. Include what keywords writers need to use as well. What are the most popular terms are people searching in relation to snowballs? If someone wants to find out how to make a snowball, do they search “how to make a snowball”, or maybe “how to roll a snowball”?

Put that in your content brief, so the writer will know whether to teach how to make a snowball or how to roll a snowball. It does make a difference. It’s understanding how people use the English language when searching. Your post will probably be more popular if you research this.

Write Content Briefs While Researching

Let’s hop back to the question of why you should do a content brief and not just write a post. When you do SEO research, it should give you ideas for a whole bunch of posts. Maybe a series or two, maybe a lot of other ideas to explore. You don’t have time to write all of those right then whilst doing the research. Go ahead and make Content Briefs out of those ideas. You don’t even have to finish the Content Brief right away. After that, you can turn those Content Briefs into posts over time, or let others write them for you.

Keyword Difficulty

On the other hand, the most common way of wording things may already have been used in other posts on the same topic. If there are already a lot of posts using that keyword, you may find that keyword isn’t a good option. That’s why when you look at some SEO tools, they’ll tell you what the keyword popularity is, and what the keyword difficulty is.

SEO site displaying keyword difficulty, click-through rate, priority and monthly volume. Keyword difficulty is important to consider when writing Content Briefs.

If it’s a high difficulty with only medium popularity, you may not choose to pursue that one. It may be better to choose one with lower difficulty, but still with decent popularity. So it’s a balancing act. You try to figure out which one is the best. If you can’t decide which one’s best, do both. Do two content briefs, or just tell your writer to use both.

What you’re getting to in your content brief is that you want to be able to tell your writer what they’re going to write about, and give them instructions on how to write it.

Length of Content

Also included in the content brief, in addition to words and phrases to use, topics, and questions to answer, you want to tell them how long you envision this post to be.

Do you want them to do a quick thousand-word post, or do you want them to go on to 20,000 words talking about everything there is to know about snowballs? And yes, I’m joking about the length. Usually, you want to do at least 300 words, though there are exceptions. That would be a fairly short post. A long post may be more like 3k.

Though the range we’re usually aiming for is 300-3k, you need to specify in your content brief whether they should write a short post, a long post, or even a series.

As for Kuts, the length we’re looking at could be anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes for most Kuts. When we get to the point when we’re doing whole movies and cutting them down, or concept things, we might even get into the 15-minute to an hour range.

Content Briefs for Series

If you’re writing a series you give the writers a list of questions that should be covered in the series or a list of topics to cover. If you were going to do a series on the flags of the world you might say to start with the largest countries, then go through to the smallest. Or you might go alphabetically, or whatever. Group them by color if you want! Pardon, I digress.

How are Content Briefs Used at Kontent?

Before actually writing a post, even an editor should go ahead and write a Content Brief for himself if there is not a content brief already. This action is actually required of anyone who is not an editor. Anyone else has to write a Content Brief ahead of time, but they won’t call it that, they’ll call it a pitch.

A pitch is a writer saying: I want to write about this. And they’ll give all the information about why they want to write it, and how it will be helpful for the site they are working on and give it to an editor to approve.

The editor will come back and turn that into a content brief, adding SEO information, etc., and making sure that this is actually something that the site needs.

If you’re already an editor, you can go straight to writing your content brief, although it is advised to pitch to someone on your team anyway.

Write Content Briefs for Kontent?

Maybe you have ideas for posts that you want to share with the world, but you don’t have the time or the desire to write them yourself? Please, please give us content briefs. Comment below with one, or if you think this may be a regular thing, join our team!

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