With the internet out of its adolescence and now universally recognized as a viable marketing platform, it’s important for every website owner to know just how effective content marketing is. Paid online advertising is on the decline, and in the past two years, we’ve seen as many as 200 million users around the world using advertising content blockers. The way to reach audiences today is organically, through high quality content that people actually want to read. Businesses that utilize content marketing can see as much as 6x their normal conversions within a year of getting started, and the leading content marketers enjoy more than 7x the traffic of sites that engage in content marketing only as an afterthought.There’s no doubt or debate about it; if you’re in business today, then content marketing needs to be the core of your online presence.While there are no short cuts to implementing a content strategy, there is a straightforward way that you can get started, and it all begins with a simple content brief. Whether it’s for a single blog or for a longer campaign or wider strategy, a content brief will allow you to analyze what it is that you’re trying to do, and give you the direction that you need to get results.
Questions that Need to Be Answered in Your Content Brief
To develop a good content brief, you’ll need to be absolutely honest about your desires and expectations. Your brief won’t just help you as you work towards a long term goal, but it can also be used to align partners, service providers, or anyone else within your organization.
1. What are Your Objectives?
Why are you creating content? Do you intend to funnel customers towards a paid product or service, or do you simply want to increase brand exposure and start creating authority within your niche? There needs to be a key reason and goal for your content strategy, and this needs to be outlined clearly in your internal content brief.
2. What is the Context?
Are there external factors that will have an influence on the type of content you are developing, or even the time that your content will be published? Trends in the industry, recent news and world events, could all play a part in what your content includes and how it is delivered.
3. Who are You Targeting?
Do you have a clear understanding of your target market? Will the demographics have an influence on the type of content and style of writing that you will use? Knowing your audience will allow you to speak to them in a way that is relevant and relatable, so make sure your target audience is clearly defined before you’ve written a single word on an article or blog post.
4. What Need or Problem Are You Addressing?
What challenges are faced by your audience. Is there a specific need or problem that you are trying to address with your content and with your products or services? Make sure these factors are clearly defined in your content brief. It will help in steering the content, as you (or your writers) will be able to use this information to talk to audiences on an emotional level. The average piece of content will have a single core message, and this needs to be outlined in your brief and reinforced throughout your content.
5. What is Your Key Message?
Your content should have a unique personality that can be associated with your brand. This should come through in the content as well as in your overarching message. What key message do you want to convey to your audience, and are there any other complementary messages that can also be included?In addition to having your unique voice, you’ll also need to have an expectation of what a reader will do after viewing your content. Do you want them to click on a link to a sales page, are you expecting them to sign up to a mailing list? Maybe you simply want the readers to engage in the comments section so that you can build your brand through organic discussion. Define the message and your expectation of the audience in your content brief.
6. Do You Have Information That is Critical to the Content?
If you’re outsourcing your content, or even if you’re handing it off to an internal team or individual, then you can’t be ambiguous about specific information that you want to include in that content. Whether it relates to a specific product or service, a quote or scenario that you want to include, or any other key details, make sure that these are explicit in the brief. Keywords and phrases should also be considered critical content.A vague and open ended brief will leave you with vague and open ended content, which will cost you time and money in the development stage.
7. Who is Responsible for Creating Your Content?
Are you going to be creating your content yourself? Do you have an in–house resource who prepares your content? Maybe you want engage with a third party to create your content based on a condensed version of your brief. Knowing who is doing what will allow you to meet key deliverables and milestones, and it will also ensure that you’re ready to give the right information to your writers and marketers.
8. How Will It Be Distributed?
You have an important message to share and you want that message to generate engagement, leads, and eventual conversions. Simply publishing a blog on your website is not the end of the line when it comes to content strategy. To reach the widest possible audience, you’ll need to publish on relevant platforms, and even republish when appropriate.Think about the type of content you’re creating and your overall brand image. If you deal with B2B or something that targets professionals, then a platform like LinkedIn is going to be more powerful than Facebook. If you are marketing general consumer products, then networks like Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+ will be viable distribution channels.When you have a good understanding of your market, it won’t be difficult to define your distribution channels in your content brief.
9. How Much Can You Spend?
The money and resources spent on your content should be defined in your content strategy brief. If you’re going to be outsourcing your content, then this needs to be allocated into your budget. If you’re going to be using internal resources, then you need to understand whether this will impact other aspects of your business.
10. How Will You Track Performance?
When you track the performance of your content, you’ll be able to gain key insights that will help you to continually improve your content strategy. Tracking URLs can be used within your content when you are guiding viewers towards a sales page or other resource. Your own tracking features in your content management system will also tell you how popular a piece of content is. Comments on a blog post can help you to see how much you are engaging with your audience, and even social media shares and likes will tell you (to some extent) the success of your content.Make sure you have an analytics solution that allows you to keep track of performance, because this is ultimately what’s going to tell you when content is working or not.
Having a Content Strategy Brief is More Than Just a Suggestion
This advice is not merely a suggestion of what you can do to improve your content strategy, but should instead be seen as a clear illustration of what all successful content marketers do to get the results that they enjoy. If you’re not already using a content brief to direct your organization, then you may be spending money on ineffective content that is stifling your growth.If you need assistance with achieving your content brief, you can trust the team at Low Price Articles to take care of research, writing, and even publishing of your blog. Talk to us today about the needs of your business, and we can provide content and management packages that will allow you to grow.