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How to Create a Solid Content Brief for SaaS Writing Teams

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Whether you’re working at an SEO agency specializing in SaaS or on an in-house SaaS marketing team, you’ve probably created a brief for content once or twice.

Content briefs are a great way to bridge the communication gap between the SEO and content teams.

Without having a brief in place, it’s easy for both departments to become misaligned on goals and objectives for each content piece. Meeting your content marketing goals starts with quality content, and quality content starts with content briefs.

If you want SEO to work for your B2B SaaS, it’s important to have consistency across all marketing teams. 

In this article, you’ll learn some of the ways you can set up content briefs that set your SaaS writers up for success.

Let’s jump right in. 

What Should Be Included in a Content Brief?

A content brief should include things like 

  • Metadata
  • Internal links
  • Entities
  • Keywords (primary/secondary)
  • Search Intent
  • SERP analysis
  • Organic Purpose

List Out Your Target Audience

First and foremost, you ultimately want to be writing for your target audience. Who’s going to be the one reading this content? Who will take value from your content? The most important thing for B2B SaaS marketing is to have your audience and ideal customer profile fully identified. Basically, a prospective customer you’d like to target

With your target audience in mind, you want to understand what they’re looking for and how this content will help them.

How to List Out Your Target Audience

So before you even start your content strategy, include a section describing your target audience and what they should gain from this content.

You can even use social media platforms like Reddit for audience research and content ideas.

The Primary Keyword You Want to Target

Next after adding the target audience, we’ll want to include the target keyword or query we’ll be covering in the content.

It should be said that this article won’t be keyword-focused, but topic-focused. The keyword is basically the entryway into a topic. Your SaaS content marketing efforts should be fully focused on topics relevant to your audience, not just keywords you found through a keyword research tool.

Ignore Keywords Based on KD

Since some B2B SaaS terms will be less competitive to rank for, you can ignore keyword difficulty.

So it’s important to note the primary keyword that we want to rank for, whether that’s long tail or head terms. With that being said, you’ll want to avoid keyword stuffing as it can negatively impact you.

Just keep in mind that this keyword will have our content built around it. 

Also Include That Keywords Search Intent

The next thing we want to include is intent. Which is Google’s understanding of the intent behind a user’s search.

If your target audience is using this keyword in a search, what do you think they’re hoping to gain? Basically, you need to understand as a content marketer what Google thinks is the right intent behind a user’s search. 

What they show the user in the top 3 results is generally what they perceive to be the most relevant results for that user.

The way to check for this is to manually audit the SERPs before creating your content outline to understand what the intent is. 

You’ll want to look out for things like:

  • What kind of content they’re covering 
  • What topics they’re covering
  • What type of information they’re showing
  • What questions they’re answering 

You can put all of this together by looking at the top 3 results on SERPs. Look for patterns within their content. 

What Is Your Target Audience Looking For?

Now tie the intent behind the search with your target audience. What do they ultimately hope to gain by reading your content? These are questions that you need to ask yourself when you’re creating your content outline. What your target audience wants to see.

This why it’s so important to build your SaaS content marketing strategy around your marketing funnel or buyers’ journey. In most cases, you want to start your funnel content with the bottom of the funnel.

Secondary Keywords You Can Rank For

After you have your primary query selected, you can include secondary keywords as well. 

Secondary keywords are keywords that are related to your primary keyword that will also rank from your content.  

Instead of using the same keyword over and over again, use secondary variations to rank for more relevant keywords and prevent keyword stuffing.  

You can use third-party SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to start your keyword research for your SaaS, gauge these keywords, and see if they have similar SERP appearances. 

Keyword Clustering for Secondary Keywords

You can also use Google Search Console to find keywords you’re already ranking for and could present quick wins.

Meaning, if these keywords are still showing the same results on the SERPs then that means these keywords are clustered and they can help your content rank for more keywords and drive more traffic. 

So instead of having a singular view on keywords, try to include clustered keywords. 

With that being said, focus on creating valuable content instead of trying ti stuff keywords. Your target audience reading your content is more important than trying to rank. The main goal of content creation is to convert users throughout their customer journey. Meaning, the main priority is to create content that resonates with them and convinces them to sign up for your product. Your conversion rate will thank you in the long run.

Related-Entities

As Google algorithms start relying more heavily on natural language processing for understanding web page content, writing around entities has become a necessity in SEO. 

So writing for entities is basically to include words that aren’t necessarily keywords that fall under the umbrella of an overall topic.

So say if you were writing about the mechanics of a car, you would want to include mentions of items such as:

  • Engine
  • Exhaust
  • Transmission 
  • Suspension
  • Battery

Format of your Content

Another thing to add to your content brief is to include the format styling of the article.

Are they creating a list? Are they going to be creating a guide? Are they going to be creating a how-to?

It’s important as an SEO to understand the intent behind the search or what Google thinks the intent is and then creating an article based on that intent.

Setting your Title Tags and Meta Description

Another thing you’ll want to include in your content brief is metadata. You’ll want to include what the meta description is and what the title tag will be.

In this section you’ll want to include the styling of the title tag and what keywords you want included. As for your meta description, you can leave this up to the writer as descriptions are more CTR-focused than SEO-focused. 

Links to Include: Both External and Internal

The next thing you’ll want to include are pages you want internally linked to. When your writers create this content, you’ll want them to include internal links that point to other pages naturally. Forgetting to internal link pages will leave them orphaned, which will hurt how their SEO performance.

Instead of going through every published article and adding internal links, it’s much easier to add in a link that you want your writer to include, naturally.

Instead of focusing primarily on exact match anchor text, your content writers can add an internal link where it fits in a natural way. You can also include external links too if you want to cite certain data.

You’ll also want to mention if this is pillar content too, so you can make it easier for your content writer to connect topically relevant content.

Brand Voice/Tone

Another thing to include in your SEO brief is brand voice and tone of voice. While it’s not necessarily SEO-focused, it’s something that can help keep your content consistent. 

You’ll want to have your content at least focus on the voice take after so focusing highlighting items such as:

  • What style of writing are you going after?
  • What are you trying to convey?
  • What are people supposed to take away?
  • Are you trying to be funny?
  • Are you trying to entertain?
  • Are you educating?
  • Should it be in a conversational tone or informational tone?

Whatever tone or voice you go for it’s important to consider that you at least keep it consistent across all marketing channels

So when creating your brief, just leave a note about the type of voice to style this content after. 

Images or Media to Include

Another thing to consider when creating a content brief is to see if there are any opportunities to add images within the content. Say if you’re reviewing competitor pages and every single one has images or some kind of on-page media, then it would be ideal to include media within our own content. 

Obviously your writers aren’t photographers and they’re not graphic designers so I would just give them an idea of what you’re looking for.

Things like:

  • What kind of images you’re looking for 
  • Whether you want one or two images
  • Where the image should be

From there they can help find an opportunity to either add an image or collaborate with a graphic designer to create an infographic or anything else that may be relevant to the content. Visual content will also help your content stand out more for users who don’t want to read a whole wall of text. Additionally, if you take a product-led approach to your content, you can include photos of your SaaS in action.

You should check out this SaaS SEO checklist that will help guide your efforts here.

Outlining the Content Itself

The next thing to include in your content brief is going to be the actual outline of the content or the skeleton. Here we’ll include what we want to say and how we’re supposed to say it.

So this is probably the most important part to get right, so we’ll be taking a deeper dive into some of the ways we can effectively and efficiently create an SEO content outline without creating confusion.

HTML Outline

Obviously, everyone will have a different approach when it comes to creating an outline or brief, but the way I generally set them up is to mark each header as either an H1, H2, or H3.

This on-page SEO tactic helps writers and search engines understand the hierarchy of the article. So format your outline however you like, just always start with your <H1> and then the next being an <H2>. 

From there, you can follow whatever format for the outline. The <H3>s will be the subsections, the <H2>s will be the main headers, and the <H1> will be the title of the page. 

These headers will even be helpful if you plan to repurpose your content for other channels, which ideally you should.

Comments Under Each Header

Another thing that typically gets avoided in content outlines are comments that show the writer what you want written under each header. Let’s say your article is talking about the different types of cheeses, you’ll want to include comments under each header specifying the type of information that should be covered.

This doesn’t mean that you need to add comments for every single header but it can be helpful if there’s a section that may cause confusion with the writers.

It’s a lot easier if you just add a comment that helps explain your thinking and what your writer should know. 

Leveraging an SME

I highly recommend leveraging a subject matter expert to help add insights under each comment. They have a deep understanding of this industry and can help your content writers create high-quality content.

They can also help include real-life examples that can act as social proof in your content. It makes your brand seem more trustworthy and that you understand the topic you’re writing about.

Links to Other Competitor Pages

Lastly, in addition to comments, you’ll also want to include links to competitor pages that you’re drawing inspiration from. This helps give your writers a better idea of how they should be writing each section. 

SERP Landscape

Similar to search intent, another thing you’ll want to consider is the landscape of the SERPs. So looking out for things like:

  • Which competitors are ranking?
  • How high their domain Authority is?
  • How many backlinks point towards that page?
  • How well they’re covering the information?
  • Are they all comprehensive guides, thought leadership content, or product pages?
  • Is there any information they’re missing?
  • How many keywords does their page rank for?

Basically, you’ll want to gauge if we’ll be able to outrank them. Then base our content around missing gaps in information (how can we provide more value) so this will give the content writer a better understanding of the information to include to outrank your competitors. Your content calendar should give you a general idea of the goal for each content piece

The Goal of the Content 

Another thing that we want to include is the goal of the content. As I mentioned above, we want to write for our target audience and satisfy their search intent, but once we satisfy that intent, what’s our next marketing goal? Creating effective content for your audience all starts with business goals.

So what next steps do you hope they take? Do you want them to:

  • Download an Ebook?
  • Read other blog content?
  • Schedule a product demo
  • Sign up for a free trial?
  • Sign up for your newsletter?
  • Fill out a contact form?
  • Free consultation?

Whatever it may be, include this goal for target customers in your outline so your writers know the CTA to focus on. Generally, with this information, your writer will be able to include a CTA in the very beginning of your content and in a natural way.

Content-Length to Aim For

Lastly in your SEO content brief, you’ll want to include the estimated length of the content. Your headers will give your writer a better idea of the content structure and the content length will give them an idea of how long the content should be. 

It doesn’t have to be an exact number but it should be a length range to give your writer a better idea of what they should be aiming for.

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