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Content creation can be like a game of telephone.
As the subjects are chosen, specific intent is assigned to each one. As the piece moves through the development pipeline, that initial intent can be distorted, and even lost entirely by the time of the final draft.
A well-structured and informative content brief can prevent this bottleneck, and even improve your process altogether.
Content briefs provide tremendous value relative to the time and effort it takes to make them. This is achieved through aligning the different contributors on the context and goals of the piece.
Something as simple as unanimous agreement on a piece can provide clarity on what the piece is doing, and ensure that it is doing what is intended. This way, you avoid grueling rewriting sessions and all the headaches they bring.
So what is this “intent” we keep mentioning?
The intent of a piece is critical context needed by the writer in order to create an asset that achieves a goal, in the case of SEO, ranking on page one of Google.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to this, but content briefs strive to distill it down to a few core considerations, such as:
Briefs add a ton of value to your content creation process.
They can be produced relatively quickly, they’re seldom longer than a single page, and are written in plain language. This simplicity allows for easy sharing with stakeholders, who are then able to easily understand what they are seeing, what the final product should look like, and what the expected SEO results will be.
Content briefs are able to present a lot of important information in a quick and digestible manner. Some of the key data communicated by briefs include; search intent, funnel stage of the reader, editorial intent, and brand angle.
Overall, briefs are a great way of maintaining a big-picture view of your content, while still allowing for pit-crew style editing and specificity.
As you create the brief and ideate each section, roadblocks, gaps, and other problems will become apparent to you, and you can address them as needed.
Maybe you write incredible blogs, and they rank highly, and are shared widely.
How long did that take? How many people were involved? How many revisions did the piece go through?
One of the overarching philosophies behind content briefs is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
This is most apparent in the review stage of a blog or article. Semantic and technical disagreements can lead to hours of pointless changes, which may just move the piece even further from where it needs to be.
Sometimes, content is created that diverges from the original intent almost immediately, and so the final product is unrecognizable, leading to complete overhauls and restarts.
One of the most common issues that arise when creating briefs is gaps within the content.
You may have chosen a great, relevant topic, but now you need to tie all your information together, while still maintaining a narrative flow for the sake of the reader.
Briefs will allow you to see how each section will flow into the next, and it is easy to determine high-friction points this way, and also easy to shift them around within the brief if necessary.
Another common problem is the requirement of answers to key questions. It’s no good trying to answer queries without the actual answer,
Honestly, we used to use outlines.
It made sense at the time; gather all of our links, keywords, headings, and other info all in one place, and build our draft from that.
It quickly became apparent that something was missing, however, and often, outlines would require revisions before final drafting could begin.
We realized that we were running into the same problems; our revisions took too long, the outlines became too prescriptive, and the original intent was lost.
Our outlines had great technical SEO information, but these issues were causing serious blockages to our development process.
With our new content brief workflow, we were able to pack in all the necessary information for our pieces in a manner that was fast to review and correct. The simplified outline suggestions allowed more autonomy for the final writer, and the Content Summary and Content Goal sections of the brief make clear the expectations for every asset.
Include quote from Dave:
“This is the power of expectation setting. People are working from the same context. We fundamentally believe that there are a gazillion micro decisions that people make. The more context people have driving towards the end destination gets you better output”
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Content Camel is a sales enablement tool used for sales content management. High-growth sales teams use our system to quickly find and share the right content for each specific sales situation and measure content use and effectiveness.