*the platform has been updated after this article was published. The Text to Analyze option is now located in the Advanced Settings, for more see the most recent Release Notes.
What is a Create Brief?
A create brief is a document that outlines all the important information needed to write a new piece of content. This document is an effective way for a Content Marketer or SEO to communicate to their team on how to fill in a topic gap in their content inventory. Use the Sample Brief as a guide to follow along with these instructions. You can also use this as a template to create your own briefs in the future.
Step 1 - What is the Focus Topic
What is the overall subject of the article? This should be a topic that is either missing from your content inventory or is needed to help strengthen the coverage of certain topics.
Step 2 - Requirements
Outline the requirements for minimum word count, minimum content score, and the number of topic mentions. This can be done by using Content Analyzer to analyze your focus topic.
- Word Count - MarketMuse will tell you the average word count and best word count for the top ranking pages. What may be helpful, is to look at the “Top Ranking Pages” section and use the top ranking pages a benchmark. This all depends on your desired level of comprehension for the content. As we see with “Connected Cars”, 525 may be a bit too low. In contrast, 16,344 is extremely high and may not be needed in order to rank well. When we look at the ranking list, my desired word count should probably target between 1,200 - 1,800 words.
- Content Score - Use “Average Content Score” as a minimum target. You may want to look at the competition in the “Top Ranking Pages” sections to get a more appropriate score depending on your level of needed comprehension.
- Focus Topic Usage - Find a page from the “Top Ranking Pages” list that is close to your target word count and content score. Click “compare”. See how many times the focus topic was mentioned in the content (it will be the first result in the related topics). You’ll want to match, or beat, that number.
Step 3 - objective
Outline what you are trying to achieve with this piece of content. It could be a large, in-depth article that you intend to use as pillar content (link needed). Perhaps, a smaller blog article that will be supporting other pillar content or a product page. If this article is being optimized, you might want to include the existing URL and the publish date.
Step 4 - Title Suggestions
Write some ideas for titles for the piece of content. It’s recommended that the focus topic be used in the suggestions.
Step 5 - Major Subheading Suggestions
Use the related topics list from the Content Analysis results to pick out a handful of subtopics that could be used as subheadings (H2 tags) in the content. You can think of these as the major discussion points of your content.
Step 6 - Related Topics
List the relevant related topics from the Content Analyzer results that should be mentioned in the content.
Step 7 - Summary and Meta Description
The meta description is what typically gets displayed with your page on a SERP. it’s a user's first insight into the content of a page and will influence their decision to click. You’ll likely want to add the focus topic to the meta description to help illustrate the purpose or utility of the content.
Step 8 - User Intent Profile
This is composed of two things: the intent or “why” behind the search engine quarry and the intended audience of the article. The idea is to understand what your audience would search to align the article with those possible queries and needs.
Step 9 - Questions to address
Outline the different questions that should be answered by your content based on the audience and user intent.
Step 10 - Internal links
Internal linking is very important to SEO and the user experience. You will want to link to relevant and topical comprehensive content in your domain. To learn more about internal linking, check this article from the help center.
Step 11 - External links
List potential external links that may be used to compliment your content. You’ll want to use non-competitor domains and domains that do not match your focus topic. External linking strategies can be tricky. Please see External Linking In Content: Why It's Important and How To Do It Properly for more information.
Step 12 - Social Share Buttons
Make sure there are social share opportunities for people to share the content you’ve created.
Step 13 - Competitive Content
List links to similar content in order to show your writers or content creators what the competition has published.