I often use something like this for briefing informational/bloggy type article content over to copywriters. It’s to help them get on-point with SEO.

For blog content especially, a frustration I’ve had seems to come from lack of detail in briefs combined with copywriters with a tendency to go in tangents and waffle. I’ve had articles come back with the topic completely changed formatted in comic sans with no sub-heading structure – no joke! So no more basic briefs.

I wrote this template to get some structure going on. Feel free to use.

Side-note: There is an assumption that you’ve already selected a topic and sub-topics based on robust SEO keyword research and content gap analysis, or something like that.

For the sake demonstrating the the below, I’ve chosen a topic at random: “how to clean a makeup brush”. You just need to replace the topic specifics with your own.

—copy below here—

Deliverable summary:

1x blog (word)articles to be published on our website. Informational blog articles.

Please follow these rules

Do these things:

  • Insert facts/figures/references as appropriate
    • Source these with a link
    • Include source name in link eg:
      “Over 33% of statistics are made up, according to a study by “
  • Insert partial and/or full keywords, but only when it *makes sense* in context
  • Break the article into a pattern of sections
    • This means a pattern of header>paragraph or header>paragraph>subheader>subheader
  • Keep close to the suggested topic tree.
  • Format deliverables as a GDoc or Word Doc with native formatting
  • Use native header 1 for title, header 2 for sub heading, header 3 for sub-sub headings etc.
  • Write FAQ answers in People Also Ask style. This means succinct, factual, situational: (numeric, yes/no, dollar value, list). Needs to directly answer the question in first sentence.
  • Some research and link to authoritative sources like: wikipedia/.gov research
  • Try to use terms in “quotes” nearly verbatim like in the reccommended article structure.
  • If you think it is necessary to improve readability, please tweak the sub-topic order and/or wording, but try not to stray too far from what has been suggested
  • Aim roughly for a word count.
  • Communicate if you think you need more or less time/words.

Don’t do these things

  • Focus on our brand or products
  • Write sales copy
    (we will insert this ourselves, if necessary)
  • Over-use keywords
  • Change the article topic
  • Change the FAQ questions
  • Link on article topic terms. If the article is about red lollipops, then don’t link to someone else on the term lollipops, red, lollipop stick, or best lollipops etc.
  • Force yourself to the word count.

Article details

Publishing website/s (for context)List of
AudienceAudience is typically female 18-65, Kiwis, Australians but also US market. Really anyone who is interested in beauty/cosmetics and looking up stuff online. Keep this in mind, you’re not writing for a science journal, but including some scientific terminology, facts and figures is ok if it is explained.
Word count (roughly)~1200
Topiceg: “How To Clean Makeup Brushes”
Things to talk abouteg:

cleaning equipment: white vinegar, lemon, liquid brush cleaner, iso alcohol, castille soap, baby shampoo, warm water, olive oil, dish soap, paper towel

process: please go into a step + paragraph pattern with specific steps
Competitor sensitivityok to mention, don’t link to them
Sub-topic tree<p> intro paragraphs (2-3)
<h2> frequency / health of cleaning makeup brushes
   <p> few paragraphs
<h2> types of brushes
   <p> intro
   <h3> type 1
   <h3> type 2
<h2> howto a step-by-step guide
   <h3> 1. xyz
   <h3> 2. xyz
   <h3> 3. xyz
<h2> signs to replace your brush
<h2> How to clean beauty blenders & sponges
   <h3> [step by step same as above]
<h2> FAQ’s (IMPORTANT: use PAA style answers to these)
   <h3> “Can I use shampoo to clean makeup brushes”
   <h3> “Why clean makeup brushes with olive oil?”
   <h3> “Should I wash my makeup brushes with hot or cold water?”
   <h3> “What happens if you don’t clean your makeup brushes?”
   <h3> “How often should you clean makeup brushes?”