Creating search-optimized content can pose a dilemma. Skilled writers don’t always understand search engines, and skilled search optimizers aren’t necessarily good writers.
The distinction is important given Google’s emphasis on quality content — clear explanations reflecting personal expertise, experience, and authority.
That’s the purpose of an SEO content brief, an outline of what to include in a piece. A content brief:
- Describes the article’s focus.
- Drives research, prompting writers to find answers to intent-driven questions.
- Helps writers create search-optimized content without limiting their unique voice.
- Allows publishers to organize content, ensuring critical topics are addressed.
Absent content briefs, editors sometimes shoehorn keywords into well-written prose. The result is a poorly optimized article that’s difficult to read.
Elements of a Content Brief
- Keywords organized by search volume and intent to help writers prioritize.
- Target audience.
- Working title.
- Essential points, such as questions and answers, definitions, how-to steps, and takeaways. These points also help editors create the best Schema.org markup.
- Article subheadings based on keywords and questions.
- Related products to integrate into an article. Contextual conversion funnels are much more effective when planned in advance.
- Trusted sources and citations.
The specifics of a brief depend on the writer. New writers require more details. Writers experienced with a publication and target audience typically need only SEO data.
Tools to Create a Brief
Narrato is a content creation and collaboration platform to improve productivity among editors, writers, and designers.
Narrato’s content briefs are auto-generated using artificial intelligence and SEO integrations to produce keywords and questions automatically. The briefs can include images, downloads, style guides, and notes for the author.
The tool can check grammar, reading levels, and plagiarism. Once written and approved, the piece is ready to publish directly to WordPress.
ChatGPT is helpful for creating briefs and outlines. Provide a keyword or working title and prompt it to generate a brief, which can include trusted sources and frequent questions. Then paste the brief into a Google Doc or Narrato and tweak keywords, questions, and headings. Narrato’s platform includes ChatGPT, facilitating easy access.
InLinks, an SEO entity tool, has recently launched a feature to build keyword topic clusters. Input a keyword and it will produce variations by intent, including searchers’ common questions. The tool will evaluate the relevancy of each question to an article’s topic to know which questions to address. Export them into a CSV file and add them to your brief.