Mayhem can happen if you don’t ask enough questions at the beginning of a content writing project. A good content brief should include the questions you need to ask before you start any work.
So, here are 15 questions that will help you develop an effective content brief. I group them into 4 main categories:
1. What’s the project title?
Give your project a title or number or both. Also, try to be consistent with your naming conventions.
2. Who is involved in the project?
A content brief should list all the people involved in a project and their roles. You also want everyone’s contact information and how you will communicate with one another.
3. What are we creating?
A content type can be a blog article, email newsletter, email sequence, or lead magnet. You will also need to know details such as word count. (Yes, this blog focuses on written content.)
4. What are the objectives?
An objective is a specific organizational goal that’s measureable, for example, reduce customer churn or increase in-person or virtual office visits.
The best way to determine a content writing goal is to understand how this particular content fits in with your content strategy.
5. Who is your target audience?
In the content brief, link to the file that defines your audience personas. We need to be clear who we’re serving by writing this content.
6. What problems does your audience face?
This question is about audience pain points. What is your audience going through right now and how can your content help them with their journey?
Resources and requirements
7. What differentiates you from your competition?
List your 3 main competitors and identify what sets you apart. This is your unique selling proposition (USP).
8. What tone of voice will you use?
Tone is how you want your readers to think and feel while they’re reading your content. These thoughts and emotions, hopefully, lead to a positive outcome for both you and your reader.
9. Are there any mandatory content requirements?
Mandatory content has to do with brand guidelines, including words that must be used or not used.
10. Do you have a style guide and templates?
According to Nikkie Achartz of SnapSavvy Strategies “A brand is a consumer’s expectation of their experience with a company.”
The only way you can create a consistent brand experience across all platforms is to have a style guide and templates.
11. What’s the call to action (CTA)?
Have a clear call to action once your audience finishes reading your content. Campaign Monitor has 24 examples of simple, but effective CTAs.
12. When do you want to get started with your content writing project?
If the project’s start and end dates are fuzzy, your project will be hard to manage. It could suffer from delays or may never happen at all.
So, be clear on when the content writing project will start; then estimate an end date.
13. What are the deliverables and when are they due?
A deliverable is text and media in a file located on a server or computer somewhere. The file type and file formatting are part of the deliverable.
Each version of a deliverable needs a due date.
14. How will you manage revisions?
Managing revisions is about managing the workflow. Spell out how you will share, review, update, and approve content so everyone is clear on the process.
15. Who will sign off on the revisions and final copy?
At the beginning of this article, I talked about knowing everyone involved in the project. So, it’s important that everyone knows who signs off on each deliverable. Who handles approving the final copy?
This article is not a definitive guide on how to craft a content brief. But it’s a starting point for your next content writing project.
You may also like 5 Ways to Publish High-Quality Content Consistently and 5 Essential Elements of an Email Newsletter.
Image courtesy Canva. Photo by terimakasih0–624267 from Pixabay