"The most difficult and complicated part of the writing process is the beginning."
The 4 Cornerstones of Results Driven Content
There’s a lot of content on the internet. But most of it fails. Why? Someone skipped the planning. You’re making a big mistake if you skip the planning stage of creating content and go straight to the writing process. Content marketing results don’t happen by accident. They start with thorough planning process. And this begins by imagining what’s possible and setting goals.
Business Goals, Marketing Goals, Content Goals: What's the Difference?
Business goals reflect the big picture of your marketing – profitability, growth, etc. Marketing goals are measurable outcomes from your marketing strategies and tactics. Copywriting goals are “engagement” goals. This means creating audience engagement so you achieve the higher goals.
You must be clear about your business and marketing goals before you can create a Content Brief. This must include for job to be done, who’s reading it and why, the context in which it will appear, and the outcomes it must achieve.
The 4 Essential Parts of a Content Brief
A Creative Brief bridges strategy with tactics. It lets the content creator know who’s consuming the content and what their motivations are.Your brief will cover these four essential areas.
1. Your Content Strategy
Your content marketing strategy defines what role your content plays in your overall marketing and sales process.
What job must it do within the overall framework of your marketing strategy? (promote, educate, convince)
How does the piece of copy or content fit into your sales process? (lead generation, lead nurturing, lead conversion)
How does this project support the sales effort? (What next step should the reader take?)
What is the single most important idea to get across? What should prospects remember most? (key differentiation defined, credibility established, etc)
What mandatory elements must be included? (brand names, website links, etc.)
The more the content is directed to a specific audience for
a specific reason, the better your results. Speaking to everyone is like trying to boil the ocean.
Who is the targeted market? (what is their industry)
Who is your target audience (who specifically will be reading the copy)
What will motivate them to read the piece? (what excites them)
What keeps them awake at night? (what influences their decision to buy)
What do they know about their alternatives? (doing nothing, competitor offerings)
What argument or explanation will engage them? (wants, needs, interests)
What do prospects know about the product? (what are their existing perceptions)
What are the barriers to the sale? (What objections might hold them back)
This is the context where the content appears, such as an online magazine. Also known as a marketing channel, it frames the content. This can completely change how it is perceived.
What channels are being used to deliver the message to the audience? (website, industry blog, social media post, etc.)
What’s the content format? (article, eBook, web page, etc.)
How much time will the reader have? (E.g. If you have a lot of information to convey, should you create a 3-part series?)
What motivates them? What examples, stories, or current news will get their attention?
How long can your content be without losing reader’s attention?
4. Expected Results
The Creative brief should articulate the expected results. Without this information, the content creator must guess. And good luck getting any results.
What are the expected results of the content? What is its mission? (the more specific the better)
How will success be measured and understood?
What key takeaways should the reader get?
What do you want the reader to think after reading the content?
What do you want the reader to feel after reading the content?
What do you want the reader to do after viewing the content?