How to Write a Content Brief for a SaaS Blog
Your patience is running thin. Yet another freelance writer has gone off-script and written a blog post that's erm... not what you're looking for. It's time to put an end to this time-consuming process. It's time to start with a proper content brief.
Context: A client had tasked me to write about CJ Affiliate for their blogging audience.
It was a topic (affiliate marketing) I knew nothing about.
But thanks to the crazy detailed content brief my client provided, I knew what I had to do.
This is the power of a laser-focused content brief.
And yet, too many writers and editors ignore it.
Either they skip it, or they whip up a brief that might as well not be created at all.
A content brief is not be underestimated. Done well, it can help your writer (yes, even one with zero domain expertise) to create an exceptional piece of content.
Just want the template?
Download your FREE copy now. 👉 There’s a example included in the template to guide you along. If you need help, just get back here to read the full guide and/or email me priscilla[at]contentkapow.com 😊
How to Write a Content Brief:
a Step-by-Step Process
Propose a Headline
The headline of your blog post takes the top spot of the content brief.
Bear in mind this isn’t set in stone, so encourage your content writer to include their suggestions.
You don’t have to use them, but it’s always good to get opinions from a fresh pair of eyes. Your writer may spot something you’ve missed.
Tip: if you have a headline formula (e.g. [Number][Keyword][Result]) that works well, put it in the brief.
Expose Reader's Intent
This is a big one.
The reader’s intent is also known as search intent, and here’s what Ahrefs mean by that:
The search intent informs SEO.
What this means: you need to understand why people are searching for that keyword. That way, you can align your content with their expectations.
Headline: Migraine Relief: The 7 Most Effective Remedies That Zap Brutal Pain
Target keyword: Migraine relief
To pinpoint the reader's intent, do an incognito search of "migraine relief". Next, note down the articles on Page 1 to assess the headlines and content. These give you clues at what the searcher is looking for.
Your reader's intent could be: Searcher is a long-time migraine sufferer. They’re familiar with generic advice like painkillers and having 8 hours of sleep. They’re looking for effective alternatives that are backed by experts.
Write the Synopsis
Give an intro of what you want this blog post to be about. Keep it brief—one paragraph will suffice. 😊
"A migraine is unlike any headache. It affects 1 in 4 in America and it's the third most common disease in the world. While it's impossible to cure it completely, there are ways to help you better manage with the pain. Here are the seven most effective alternate remedies, backed by experts."
Share Key Takeaways
Share the takeaways you want readers to walk away after reading the blog post. Think of them as the “meat” of your post.
▪ Migraine is a brutal neurological disease that can be better managed with remedies.
▪ Migraine sufferers should keep a journal to understand their triggers. What work for others may not for them.
▪ Above all else, migraine sufferes must focus on eating a healthy diet and living a low-stress life.
Include the Keywords
Include the target and secondary keywords in your content brief.
Most content writers don’t conduct keyword research—it is your job, the client, to provide them. 🙂
Determine Success Criteria
The success criteria of your blog post ties in with your goal or objective.
Ask yourself: what needs to happen for this blog post to be a success?
If your blog post is a Top of Funnel (ToFu) piece, you might want an increase of page views or new sessions.
If it’s Middle of Funnel (MoFu) or Bottom of Funnel (BoFu), you might want conversions like free trial sign-ups or an increase of subscribers.
◾ X leads/subscribers or free trial sign-ups
◾ X of demo calls
Show Word Count
Assess the Competition
Do an incognito search of the target keyword and write down the top 10 articles that currently rank on page 1.
Just the headlines and URL will do. These let your content writer knows what they’re up against, so they can conduct content gap analysis.
Uncover the Resources
Your content writer needs to be ultra familiar with your product and business goals BEFORE they start writing—so share the most helpful resources that help them in this process!
◾ Voice & tone guides
◾ Links to relevant blog posts
◾ Demo of SaaS product
◾ Example of successful blog posts
Share Helpful Notes
Do you have additional information that don’t quite fit with the sections above?
Put them in this section.
◾ Influencers or thought leaders you want to mention to help with outreach
◾ Competitors who are likely and unlikely to beat
Plan Distribution Strategy
Typically, the content writer doesn’t handle distribution as the responsibilities fall on you, the client.
Still! Share this briefly with the writer. It’s helpful to have this information at the back of their mind as they write the blog post.
Craft an Outline
The outline usually happens after the content brief.
Once you’ve filled in the brief and send it to your writer for review, instruct them to send you an outline before they begin writing.
Don’t skip this.
Educate On Product
Your content points towards your business goals.
Your blog is not decorative. It serves a commercial function.
Send all important information to your content writer. Your sales pitch, demo, and marketing materials (e.g. brochures, press releases) will give them a peek at what you do and sell.
Write Better Content Briefs, Always
It's demoralizing rewriting blog posts...
You want to make sure you’re starting off on the right foot. Download your free content brief template (includes example) now. 👉 This is exactly what I use with clients in the B2B SaaS and CPaaS space.