SEO content brief

SEO Content Brief: What Is It and Why You Need It?

A thorough SEO content brief is essential for crafting compelling material that captivates audiences and achieves objectives. Exceptional SEO content stems from meticulous planning and purposeful execution.

While a talented team of writers and content creators is crucial for consistent quality, they also rely on precise guidance to fulfill their roles effectively. A meticulously crafted SEO content brief not only streamlines the process but also saves valuable time, effort, and resources by ensuring tasks are executed correctly from the outset and are aligned with the overall SEO content strategy.

What Is an SEO Content Brief?

An SEO content brief is a concise document intended to streamline the creation process of SEO-centric content. Developing this brief aids marketers and business proprietors in structuring their ideas and ensuring all crucial aspects are addressed.

For content creators, receiving and adhering to the brief enhances their understanding of your requirements and preferred approach. While each content brief is unique, it must encompass essential elements necessary for meeting standards. 

Typically, the best content briefs incorporate:

      • Target keyword

      • Blog post format

      • Competitor examples

      • Word count

      • Target audience

      • Brand’s voice and tone

      • Headings

      • Subtopics

    Here is an example of an SEO content brief:

    SEO Content Brief: What is the Best Time to Post on Instagram
    Target Keyword: “best time to post on Instagram”
    Content Format: Blog post
    Competitor Examples:
    – Analyze articles or blog posts ranking on the first page of Google search results for the target keyword.
    – Look for articles with lower Domain Authority (DA) scores, as they may provide unique insights or perspectives.
    – Identify common strategies or recommendations offered by competitors regarding the best times to post on Instagram.
    Word Count: Aim for a comprehensive guide with approximately 1500 to 2000 words.
    Target Audience:
    – Individuals or businesses seeking to optimize their Instagram posting schedule for maximum engagement and reach.
    – Social media managers, marketers, influencers, and businesses looking to enhance their Instagram marketing strategy.
    Brand’s Voice and Tone:
    – Informative, authoritative, and helpful.
    – Use a conversational tone to engage readers and provide practical advice and insights.
    1. Introduction
    2. Importance of Posting Time on Instagram
    3. Factors Influencing the Best Posting Time
    4. General Guidelines for Posting on Instagram
    5. Analyzing Your Audience Insights
    6. Tools and Resources for Finding the Best Posting Time
    7. Case Studies and Success Stories
    8. Conclusion
    – Historical trends and research on Instagram engagement patterns
    – Demographic analysis of Instagram users
    – Insights into Instagram’s algorithm and how it affects post visibility
    – Tips for determining the best posting times based on audience activity and engagement metrics
    – Overview of third-party tools and analytics platforms for scheduling and analyzing Instagram posts
    – Real-life examples of brands or individuals optimizing their posting schedules and achieving success on Instagram
    – Include reputable sources, studies, and industry reports to support the recommendations and advice provided in the content.
    – Ensure the content is optimized for relevant keywords related to Instagram posting times throughout the article.
    – Incorporate visuals, such as graphs or charts, to illustrate key points and data effectively.
    – Encourage reader engagement through calls-to-action, such as asking for their experiences or tips on Instagram posting times in the comments section.

    Why Is Creating an SEO Content Brief Important?

    For top-notch content production, utilizing content briefs is essential for every member involved in your content creation process, from marketing strategists to copywriters to editors.

    Content briefs minimize the extensive communication loops between clients and writers and foster cohesion within content teams. They promote synchronized efforts, reducing fragmented output and ambiguities in expectations.

    Content briefs also serve as a checkpoint for review, facilitating feedback from clients or reviewers and ensuring satisfaction among all stakeholders with the final output.

    Content briefs are commonly utilized/created by:

        • Content strategists

        • Content managers

        • Writers

        • Editors

        • Graphic/media designers

        • Web developers

        • SEO managers

      Benefits of an SEO Content Brief

      Creating an SEO content brief provides several benefits:

      Clarity and Direction

      It provides clear instructions and direction for content creators, ensuring everyone involved understands the goals, target audience, key messaging, and desired outcomes for the content piece.

      Alignment with SEO Strategy

      An SEO content brief helps align content creation efforts with the broader SEO strategy of the website or business. It ensures that content is optimized for relevant keywords, follows best practices for on-page optimization, and contributes to overall SEO goals.

      Efficiency and Consistency

      By outlining expectations and requirements upfront, an SEO content brief streamlines the content creation process. This efficiency helps maintain consistency in tone, style, and messaging across different pieces of content.

      Quality Assurance

      A well-crafted brief helps maintain quality standards by clearly defining the scope of work, expected deliverables, and criteria for success. It minimizes the risk of misunderstandings or revisions due to misalignment between expectations and reality.

      Resource Optimization 

      An SEO content brief helps optimize resources such as time, effort, and budget by providing a roadmap for content creation. It ensures that resources are allocated effectively and that content is produced efficiently without unnecessary delays or revisions.

      What Should an SEO Content Brief Include

      An SEO content brief extends beyond mere topic, research, and key points. It also delineates the essential SEO details required to develop content that effectively addresses your audience’s needs.

      Here are the key components that a comprehensive content brief should encompass:

        Target Keyword

        The foremost objective of any SEO content is to elevate your site’s SERP ranking, attract pertinent traffic, and enhance brand visibility within a defined audience segment. Achieving such outcomes invariably commences with meticulous keyword selection.

        Undoubtedly, you’ve already identified a primary keyword through your diligent keyword research endeavors, and it’s imperative to incorporate it into your brief. However, considering the inclusion of supplementary keywords can provide added depth and context to the content.


          What kind of content are you aiming to produce? Different formats such as listicles or white papers demand distinct approaches.

          Here are some prevalent content types:

              • Listicles

              • How-to articles

              • Guides

              • Infographics

              • Tool or resource roundups

              • Case studies

              • Whitepapers

            To determine the appropriate format, search for your keyword on Google and examine the top-ranking pages.

              Competitor Examples

              In a content brief, competitor examples are references to articles already ranking for your target keyword.

              Including a few examples helps your writer understand the competitive landscape.

              To achieve this:


                  • Utilize tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush to identify articles ranking on the first page and their Domain Authority (DA).

                  • Look for articles with lower DA scores. These outliers often possess more engaging content, leading Google to prioritize them over other authoritative sites.

                  • Investigate each article to discern why it might be ranking higher. Factors such as a compelling title or comprehensive content coverage could contribute to its success. I document these insights in the brief for integration into our content.

                Articles with high content grades are also worth examining closely. They offer comprehensive coverage of a topic, serving as valuable references for your writers.

                  Word Count

                  Content length plays a pivotal role in SEO ranking factors, and it’s essential for your content creators to have a clear understanding of the desired length.

                  Having a predetermined length facilitates proper planning and execution of content creation.

                  The ideal content length varies based on the topic and type of content. While shorter posts may be favored for blogs aimed at promoting specific products or services, comprehensive posts intended for education or enlightenment typically yield better results when longer.

                  Aiming for a word count between 1500 and 2000 words is generally considered optimal for such content.

                    Target Audience

                    An SEO content brief remains incomplete until it accurately pinpoints the intended audience for the piece. (Referring to your set of buyer personas can aid in making the right selection.)

                    Consider the following questions: What demographics characterize your potential readers? What knowledge are they seeking from this content, and for what purpose?

                    Furthermore, contemplate where your ideal reader stands within your sales funnel.

                    If they’re positioned toward the top of the funnel (TOFU), the content should aim to inform, educate, and raise awareness. However, targets situated in the mid-funnel (MOFU) or bottom-funnel (BOFU) stages will require more intricate, precise information to assist them in finalizing their purchase decision.

                      Brand’s Voice and Tone

                      When delving into SEO content from major brands, a discernible brand voice consistently surfaces.

                      Remarkably, this coherence persists despite the likelihood of multiple content writers and creators contributing. Such consistency owes much to the efficacy of a comprehensive SEO content brief.

                      Incorporating specifications regarding your company’s brand voice and preferred writing style empowers each writer to capture the appropriate tone, select fitting vocabulary, and seamlessly integrate their writing with existing content.

                        Content Outline

                        Undoubtedly, a content outline stands as the cornerstone of any content brief. So, what components should a content outline ideally encompass? Here’s the breakdown:

                            • A working title incorporating the target keyword.

                            • Subheadings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) that delineate the topics to be covered and identify long-tail keywords to target.

                            • Key takeaways under each heading to guide writers in covering essential information, thus minimizing the risk of off-topic or redundant content.


                            Google relies on understanding the intricate web of relationships between a given topic and its associated subtopics to provide optimal search results.

                            For instance, when searching for “home gym equipment,” Google can now discern various subtopics such as budget-friendly options, compact solutions for small spaces, or high-end premium products.

                            To improve your content’s ranking, it’s imperative to ensure that writers delve into multiple subtopics thoroughly.

                            However, manually identifying subtopics can be laborious. It involves sifting through numerous articles and conducting basic statistical analysis to pinpoint the most pertinent subtopics.

                            Fortunately, tools like Topic can automate this process. By creating a brief for your target keyword, you’ll also gain insights into the most relevant subtopics associated with it.

                            Tools To Help You Write Content Briefs

                            To craft a comprehensive content brief, anticipate dedicating at least an hour to the task.

                            For those producing only a handful of articles monthly and possessing ample expertise in the subject matter, manually creating content briefs is logical.

                            However, as operations expand, relying solely on this manual approach can pose significant time constraints, particularly as volume increases.

                            To address this challenge, consider leveraging content optimization tools to streamline your content creation process:



                              marketmuse home page

                              MarketMuse, an enterprise content strategy and intelligence platform, offers a comprehensive suite of features, among which content briefs stand out.

                              Key Features:

                                  • MarketMuse surfaces headings, subtopics, and questions to facilitate the creation of detailed content briefs.

                                  • Content Inventory assists in managing your content library, identifying pages in need of optimization using their proprietary scoring algorithm.

                                  • Content Scoring system evaluates your content’s quality before publication.

                                Pricing: MarketMuse offers content briefs at $100 each, with Content Inventory available on higher-tier plans.


                                  Frase is a platform known for its content answer engine capabilities. Their expertise lies in addressing visitors’ inquiries through seamless chatbot integration. Additionally, they provide a content brief generation feature for swift brief construction.

                                  Key Features:

                                      • AI answer engine chatbot assists in answering visitors’ questions by leveraging your content library.

                                      • Frase surfaces headings, subtopics, and questions to facilitate content brief creation.

                                      • A content scoring system evaluates content quality prior to publication.

                                    Pricing: Frase offers a $45/month plan for 30 documents.


                                    In crafting an SEO content brief, it becomes evident that meticulous planning and purposeful execution are paramount for success. With each component carefully considered, from target keywords to brand voice and content outline, a well-crafted brief not only streamlines the content creation process but also ensures quality and alignment with SEO objectives.

                                    While creating content briefs manually may suffice for those producing a few articles monthly, scaling operations necessitate more efficient approaches. Content optimization tools like MarketMuse and Frase offer automated solutions to streamline the process, saving valuable time and resources while maintaining quality and consistency.

                                    Ultimately, whether opting for manual creation or leveraging cutting-edge tools, the goal remains the same: to produce content that resonates with audiences, meets SEO standards, and achieves desired outcomes. By embracing the right strategies and tools, businesses can empower their content creators to craft compelling material that drives results.


                                    How long does it take to create an SEO content brief?

                                    The time required to create an SEO content brief can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the topic, the depth of research required, and the number of stakeholders involved. However, it’s recommended to allocate at least an hour for this task to ensure thoroughness and accuracy.

                                    How often should I update or revise my SEO content briefs?

                                    It’s advisable to periodically review and update your SEO content briefs to reflect changes in your target audience, industry trends, and SEO best practices. As your content strategy evolves and new insights are gained, revising your briefs can help ensure that your content remains relevant, effective, and aligned with your business objectives.

                                    Can I use an SEO content brief for different types of content?

                                    Yes, an SEO content brief can be adapted for various types of content, including blog posts, articles, landing pages, product descriptions, and more. You can customize the brief to suit the specific requirements and goals of each content piece.