What is an SEO Content Brief (And How to Write One)

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Content briefs are an essential part of the content creation process.

They are a great way to make sure that your writers send you content that is exactly what you’re looking for:

  • tailored to your target audience
  • covering your primary keyword, secondary keywords, and long tail keywords
  • aligned with the search intent
  • hitting your target word count
  • with relevant internal links
  • and not deviating from your overall content strategy

In this post, we’ll talk about when you should use content briefs, what content briefs should include, whether you should use templates and ways you can speed up the content brief creation process.

When should I use a content brief?

It would be best if you used a content brief whenever you need high-quality content from your writers. Content briefs are critical when you’re expecting specific subject matter to be covered in your blog post.

A great way to ensure that writers don’t miss out on any salient points is to make sure they stick to the content brief you give them.

I’ve worked with many writers in the past, and whenever I was too lazy to write a proper content brief, the content was always hit or miss.

When I gave my writers a specific brief to follow, the content was much closer to what I envisioned when I decided on the topic.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing content for an ebook, a white paper, or SEO focused content.

Content briefs are an under-utilized part of content marketing strategy and you can put yourself ahead of the competition by utilizing them.

Content briefs give you better content, faster

Another advantage of using content briefs is that you’ll end up with fewer rewrites.

Chances are, if you just gave a writer a keyword and a target word count, they’ll end up creating content that doesn’t really align with what search engines are looking for.

At that point, you’d either have to settle for what your writer sent you, or ask them to rewrite the post, costing you precious time and maybe even money.

That’s why detailed content briefs are the best tool you as a content marketer have to speed up the content publishing process.

Content briefs help you distill your keyword research

Part of effective keyword research is looking for related keywords that help cover your topic in more detail.

Utilizing a content brief can help ensure that your writers don’t miss out on including any important sub-topics you uncovered during the keyword research process.

This in turn will help you generate even more organic traffic when your post eventually ranks.

What should a content brief include?

At the very least, a content brief should include your target keyword/topic, a suggested title, subheadings the writer must cover, and some competitor articles for reference.

A more detailed content brief would include bullet points under each subheading describing the content that should be written.

An even more detailed content brief would include a target word count for each subheading and space for a meta description.

Should I use a content brief template?

It is quite tedious to create a content brief every single time you want to write a new piece of content, so you can definitely create content brief templates to help speed up the process.

Chances are, there are very specific types of content that you’re creating.

An affiliate marketing website would probably cover content types such as:

  • Roundup reviews
  • Single product reviews
  • Comparison (vs) articles
  • How-to articles

Developing a boilerplate content brief that you can use over and over again will greatly speed up your content creation process.

Since the overall structure of the content is the same, you need to replace the primary keyword, tailor the post for your target audience, and add/subtract a few small details here and there.

Tools to Speed Up SEO Content Brief Creation

Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO is an excellent SEO optimization tool that streamlines your entire content production process.

While it’s best-known for providing you with terms to use in your content, you can also use it to quickly create an outline for your content.

In the Surfer SEO content editor, there is an “Outline” tab that you can click on to see the subheadings(h2 and h3) that your competitors on page 1 of Google use.

You can use this pool of subheadings to quickly put together an outline for your content brief.

Surfer also uses AI to summarize the text under the headline. I don’t recommend using this as-is, but it’s a good place to start if you’re completely blank.

Surfer will also suggest how many words your content should be as well as the recommended number of headings, paragraphs, and images.

This is my go-to SEO tool and I don’t create any content without it.


Frase.io is a powerful tool that can help create effective content briefs for various projects. One of the key features of Frase.io is the “Automate Content Brief” button, which can be found by clicking on the “Research” tab on the right-side panel of the document.

This feature allows users to compile information from the top 20 Google sources (by default) and includes a variety of options to include in the content brief, such as guidelines, people also ask questions, a summary of the search engine results page (SERP), important topics, topic clusters, relevant headers from competitors’ content, questions being asked in competitors’ content, sentences mentioning statistics, and external hyperlinks.

Additionally, Frase.io offers an in-line quick paste feature that allows users to easily insert specific sections of the automated brief into the editor one by one, rather than pasting the entire brief at once.

This can be done by clicking the plus icon on an empty line and holding the cursor over “Insert SERP Data.” From there, users can select the desired section of the automated brief and paste it into the editor where the cursor is located.

Overall, Frase.io‘s “Automate Content Brief” feature is a useful tool that can help streamline the process of creating effective content briefs, providing users with a variety of relevant and useful information to include in their briefs.

Once you have generated an automated content brief, you can optimize it and personalize it as needed.

How to create effective content briefs Step-by-Step

An effective content brief has as much detail as possible so your content team knows exactly what it has to do.

The first step to create a content brief is to dig into your favorite keyword research tool and find primary and secondary keywords for your topic.

Other ways to find related keywords is to see the keyword suggestions that are shown by Google autocomplete, People Also Ask, and People Also Search For.

Frame the keywords you found into sensible-sounding subheadings and add them to your content brief.

At this point, your content brief should have a title and some basic subheadings.

Next, head over to your competing articles and see what kind of subheadings the top ranking articles on page 1 are covering.

Compare and contrast that against what you have in your content brief, and fill in any gaps.

By now, your content brief should have all the subheadings you need to cover a topic in a way that Google deems satisfying for page 1. This includes tailoring the post for your intended audience.

You should also grab an average word count of the top 3-4 articles and use that as your target word count, which you’ll include at the top of your brief.

At this point, you have a rudimentary content brief ready to go.

You should also add a content outline with bullet points under each heading to ensure the writer knows what to write about. Add suggested word counts to each heading for additional quality control.

This way, you’ll make sure that the meat of your article gets more words than the “side dish”.

Finally, add any additional notes for your writers: this could include what external and internal links to add, a particular writing style to stick to, and so on.

Sample content brief for a keyword

Here’s a sample brief for the keyword “best SEO tools”.

Target Keyword/Topic: Best SEO tools

Suggested Title: “The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best SEO Tools for Your Business”

Competitor Articles for Reference:

More Detailed Content Brief:

Introduction to SEO tools

  • Definition of SEO tools
  • The history of SEO tools
  • The various types of SEO tools (keyword research, on-page optimization, backlink analysis, etc.)
  • The benefits of using SEO tools

The importance of using SEO tools in modern marketing

  • The role of SEO in modern digital marketing strategies
  • The benefits of using SEO tools for small businesses and large enterprises
  • The importance of staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and best practices

How to determine the best SEO tools for your business

  • Identifying your business’s specific SEO needs
  • Researching and comparing different SEO tool options
  • Evaluating the features, pricing, and customer support of different SEO tools
  • Testing out multiple SEO tools to find the best fit for your business

A deep dive into the top 10 best SEO tools

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Surfer SEO
  • Moz
  • Google Search Console
  • UberSuggest
  • Screaming Frog
  • DeepCrawl
  • SEO PowerSuite
  • Keywordtool.io
  • Detailed analysis of the key features and benefits of each tool
  • Pros and cons of each tool
  • Pricing information for each tool

Comparing the top 3 SEO tools: Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz

  • An in-depth comparison of the key features, pricing, and overall effectiveness of these 3 popular SEO tools
  • Pros and cons of each tool
  • Recommendations for when to use each tool

How to effectively use SEO tools to improve your search engine rankings

  • Tips and strategies for using SEO tools to improve your on-page optimization
  • Techniques for conducting keyword research and targeting the right keywords for your business
  • Strategies for building high-quality backlinks and improving your website’s authority
  • Best practices for tracking and analyzing your SEO progress

Frequently asked questions about SEO tools

  • What are the best free SEO tools?
  • Are paid SEO tools worth the investment?
  • How do I choose the best SEO tool for my business?
  • Can SEO tools guarantee top search engine rankings?
  • How often should I be using SEO tools?

Conclusion and final thoughts

  • Recap of the top 10 best SEO tools and their key features
  • The importance of regularly reviewing and updating your SEO tool selection
  • The benefits of using SEO tools to improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website
  • Encouragement to continue learning and staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and best practices

Target Word Count:

  • Introduction to SEO tools: 250-350 words
  • The importance of using SEO tools in modern marketing: 300-400 words
  • How to determine the best SEO tools for your business: 300-400 words
  • A deep dive into the top 10 best SEO tools: 300-400 words per tool
  • Comparing the top 3 SEO tools: Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz: 700-1000 words
  • How to effectively use SEO tools to improve your search engine rankings: 700-1000 words
  • Frequently asked questions about SEO tools: 350-450 words per question
  • Conclusion and final thoughts: 250-350 words

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