In this post, I’m going to reveal the blog post brief template I designed to standardize my content and streamline my blog writing workflow.
Whether you’re looking to hire writers for your blog or simply improve the quality of your blog posts, creating a content brief template will help you get it done.
If you’re ready to upgrade your content and simplify the writing process, this post is for you!
Let’s jump right in..
What is a content brief?
At its core, a content brief is a guide that helps align the writing process with your desired outcome. Think of it like a checklist; the brief makes sure everything important is included and it keeps you on track.
It provides a structure for the writer, as is most often employed when hiring writers or contributors for your blog.
What does a content brief look like?
A content brief often resembles the Cornell Note Taking System, but with the ‘cue column’ pre-filled with instructions; basically a blog post skeleton.
How do you write a great content brief?
Before creating a content brief, you have to get clear on a few things:
- Who is the intended audience? (search intent)
- What type of post is this? (list, how-to, etc.)
- What action do you want the reader to take?
- How many words should this post contain?
- Besides text, what else is required? (images, links)
These are the components needed to create the content brief, which will be filled out for each blog post with that post’s specific requirements, like the title, keywords, related content, number of images, and so on.
Building A Blog Post Brief Template
Although content briefs are generally used by agencies, they can be immensely helpful if you write all of your blog’s content.
Structure is more important than content in the transmission of information.
See yourself as a contributor to your blog, and each post you write will better align with your brand identity. So..
How do you write a blog post brief?
Here are 7 Tips that will help you create your first blog post brief.
1. Desired Outcome & Expectations
The first thing to consider is the expectations you have for the writer. This is more about your initial contact than the template itself.
If you have a ‘Write for Us’ page or post a job looking for a writer, be extremely clear on things like the article’s tone, your blog audience, estimated word count, the deadline, how revisions are handled, compensation, author credit, etc.
Don’t expect your content brief to do this work for you. Next, consider exactly how your content brief will be used.
2. Internal or External Use
With clear expectations set, we move on to how the template is used. You might fill it out in advance and send it over to the writer. Or, you may collaborate with them.
This will all depend on how much control you wish to maintain over the content and editing process. Tighter requirements may reduce your workload as the publisher, but they may also limit the creative input of the writer.
Figuring out how you will be using this blog post brief is almost as important as designing your brief template.
3. Multiple Templates
Another tip is to create a list of all the different post types you publish. A ‘how-to’ post is quite distinct from a review post, so would the same template be useful for both? Probably not.
Design your first brief template for the most common type of post you publish on your blog. Then, you can create copies for the other post types, and make a few minor changes that better suit the post requirements.
This makes each template more useful and doesn’t take too much effort once you create your first template.
4. Different CTAs
One point that is often overlooked when writing blog posts is the call to action. Many blogs have a standard opt-in form or lead magnet present on every page.
Whether this is the case for you or not, including the desired CTA in your blog post brief is a must. Understand whether you want the reader to comment, subscribe to your email list, social media sharing, or purchase a product.
This will help you nudge them in this direction naturally and make the post and CTA more cohesive.
5. Basic Requirements
This might seem obvious, but a great content brief should take out all of the guesswork by including some basic requirements.
Remember to cover things like the:
- estimated word count
- topic and a catchy title
- keyword and LSI for SEO
- internal/external links
- meta description & excerpt
The more of these basic requirements you include in your template, the less work you’ll have to do once the writing portion is complete. This helps you stay organized and efficient.
6. The ‘Must Haves’
Beyond the basic requirements, you probably have some specific items that are included in your posts, either for aesthetics or to improve the user’s experience.
Maybe you typically include a quote, related posts or recommended resource box, inline opt-in form, table of contents, and so on. Your blog posts likely have a number of images beyond the featured image and other brand assets.
Building these into your template standardizes the content creation process and ensures none of these items are overlooked.
7. Tools & Workflow
The last thing to consider is how this process is implemented; how you communicate with the writer, share documents, etc.
Come up with a series of steps that form a logical procedure. This procedure should start with how you first make contact with the writer (job board, ‘write for us’ page) and end with a published piece of content and a blog promotion plan.
Building a blog post brief template is important, but building a system that puts it to use is equally important.
In summary, writing great blog posts is less about the creative process, it relies on ‘structured creativity’.
When you build a blog post brief template, you remove the guesswork and aimlessness from the writing process; which is especially helpful when you are hiring writers.
You also begin to develop content formulas that nudges your rough draft closer to the final draft, with fewer revisions needed.
In the end, a content brief is really just another way to reduce procrastination and decision fatigue, and give you the best results in the least amount of time.
What about you?
What steps have you taken to standardize your blog writing workflow?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.