Effective blog post brief [free template & guide]Agnieszka Wąsowska-Telęga
How do you make sure that the blog posts you get are the blog posts you want?
Use a comprehensive blog post brief template. It is a great tool for communication with
- internal writers,
- freelance talent, as well as
- language and translation agencies like locatheart.
Create your own brief or download our comprehensive blog post brief template (get it here!) to create effective multilingual content.
A great blog post brief template covers:
|Basics||Context||Genre & Style||Keywords & SEO||Special requirements||References|
|Category of content*||Company or brand*||Blog post genre*||Primary keywords*||Whatever you need 🙂||Own content|
|Creation process*||Product or service*||Tone of voice||Secondary keywords*||Competitors’ content|
|Language*||Target audience*||Voice optimisation||Keywords to avoid||Mood|
|Word count*||Competition||Outline||Keyword density|
|Blog post goal*||Internal links|
|Topic, theme, angle*||External links|
Note that not all blog posts require all the information. We have marked the necessary elements with an asterisk (*).
Take a look at the tabs below to see each of the elements explained!
Blog post brief elements explained:
Categories of content*:
A blog post is usually based on copy, and if no additional information is provided, all parties will assume the final work is supposed to be a more or less traditional text. But a blog post can also take other forms, such as an infographic or a survey.
If your company runs a blog in more than one language, you will have to decide on the localisation process. Three main options are:
- Multilingual copywriting – each language version is created from scratch by a copywriter (a German writer writes a text for the German version of your blog, a Chinese writer writes a text for the Mandarin version of your blog, etc.).
- Translation – all blog posts are first created in one language version (English is often chosen for the master version) and then translated into other languages.
- Transcreation – some texts must be rewritten to fit the needs of the local audience. Here is an example of a situation that calls for this type of work: “Stay Healthy and Eat Local Produce” and “Support Local Tourism: Our Top Picks for Your Local Weekend Break” are texts that must be reworked for each country or region. In the process of transcreation, authors preserve the main message of the original content and the overall framework but adjust the content to the new context.
The information you provide in this section depends on the type of your collaboration. If you work with a freelancer, you will probably indicate only one language (or one language pair for translation projects) per brief. If you work with a translation agency like locatheart, you can list all languages in one brief.
- Copywriting – since texts are created from scratch, all you have to do is specify the languages you need the text in.
- Translation and transcreation – the translator and the transcreator work with an original piece of content, which is why it is important to indicate both the source language (of the original) and the target language.
Depending on the blog post format, goal, and overall style, etc. you may require texts of different lengths. Always state the expected word count. You can do it like this:
- 1500 words;
- 1200–1500 words;
- at least 2000 words.
Time is an essential factor in any content-related job. If you are ordering a translation or original copy from a tried and tested language specialist, you can limit yourself to simply setting the deadline. If, however, you are in the middle of a larger content creation process, you may want copywriters to present outlines for approval. In that case, you must draw up a schedule – when are the outlines expected? How long will the writers have to wait for confirmation, and how much time will they have to complete the task after the feedback? Do you plan on staggered delivery?
Blog post goal*:
Each blog post must serve a goal. The goal of this blog post is to present how the services of locatheart fit the broader process of corporate blogging and to build trust through sharing actionable tips. This blog post does not serve the purpose of building a mailing list as the downloadable brief template is not gated. Some other typical blog post may be written to:
- increase sales,
- arouse needs,
- encourage recipients to try a product or service,
- build a following,
- build a community,
- build a mailing list,
- win backlinks for SEO purposes, and more.
Topic, theme & angle*:
In translation and transcreation projects, the topic and angle are already defined. But in copywriting projects there are some options. Sometimes you know exactly what the topic and the angle should be. In other cases, you just have a theme and a bunch of keywords and expect copywriters to suggest the details for approval.
Both scenarios are fine. Just remember to always state your expectations clearly.
Just to dispel any doubts:
What is a theme?
A theme is the bigger picture, the general message of your content. Like: “Koreans believe in the power of skincare for all genders, roles and ages”.
What is a topic?
A topic is the “what?” part of your content – the specific piece of information or story. Like: “Search results comparisons reveal that Korean consumers look for natural looking foundations more often than for high-coverage foundations”.
What is an angle?
An angle shows you how to approach a given topic. In the case of the topic mentioned above, you might want to write about the sociological consequences of (or reasons for) the described situation. But you can also use this topic to give make-up companies some advice as to which products should be introduced to the Korean market.
Just as it is in the case of topic and angle, if you already have a CTA, present it as a requirement or a suggestion. If you only have a general idea, describe it. You may also expect the author to suggest a CTA for approval. Always state your expectations.
About your company or brand*:
Who are you? Where are you coming from? What are your values? Let the writers, translators and transcreators know your company, so that they can reflect its identity in the content they create.
About your product or service*:
What makes you stand out (or, in some cases, what makes you the same), what makes your offer a good choice for the target audience, what purpose does it serve, what problems does it solve for the target audience of a given blog post?
About the target audience*:
This is not about your entire target group. No!
A blog post should be targeted at a narrower audience. Think about smartphones. Each group uses them differently. Parents of young children need much more storage space for photos and videos. They are also interested in parental control options. Teens are more focused on social media and creative products. Businesspeople will think more about saving time and convenience. Each of these groups could get a separate blog post targeted specifically at them.
About your competition:
The content created by your competition may be used as a benchmark or as a means of providing the context. It is also relevant if you don’t want your texts to resemble the ones of your competitors.
Statistics can paint a vivid picture of many situations. They can serve as a context for copywriters or as the actual content for the blog post. If you have a preferred source of data, share it here and state the purpose of sharing it.
Blog post genre*:
There are dozens of text genres to choose from – a list, a review, a tutorial. State the one you prefer for a given blog post or point to several acceptable ones. If you don’t mind, you can let the copywriter choose.
Tone of voice:
When defining your preferred tone of voice, it is best to use examples. If you already have some content that exemplifies it well – don’t hesitate to use it. If, however, you have no such content, you can either use materials from another source to show what you have in mind (provide it here or in the references section) or include an example situation – e.g. “the way you talk to the neighbour that you’ve known since you were a kid”.
Voice is on the rise. Smart speakers are penetrating the market. In some cases, you can direct the smart speaker or another voice assistant to a piece of content designed specifically for this purpose. In other situations, the device will read out loud your general content. If you want to attract business from voice search, make sure the copywriter is aware of the plan and knows the rules of voice optimisation. If you have some internal requirements regarding this matter, list them here.
You may have a company-wide pattern for blog posts or a custom-made outline for a given piece of content. In any case, share the relevant materials with the language specialist.
The use of media can play an important role in branding and maintaining consistency in terms of the company’s image. Hence, it is important to give your language team clear instructions regarding visuals and media. Are such elements expected? What about charts, data representation, etc.? If you have a fixed procedure, this is the place to inform the copywriter or the agency about the requirements.
These are the most important keywords to use in the blog post.
These keywords are slightly less important but should be placed in the text just the same.
Sometimes you have a broader list of keywords, and expect the writer, translator or transcreator to select the best ones. That is a valid tactic, but you must remember to give the author enough information and clear requirements, e.g. regarding the number of keywords and their breakdown by type (short- and long-tail, brand, etc.).
Keywords to avoid:
There may be a list of keywords and phrases you want to avoid. They may be related to your competition or your other products. It can also be your brand name. The list may change for each post or you can create a longer list that is universal for all your content.
How many keywords do you want to use per blog post? How many times do you want to repeat your keywords?
If you have any preferences regarding the number and style of headlines (e.g. whether they should contain questions or not, use passive or active voice, etc.), this is the right place to list them.
Internal links can be a powerful SEO driver. This is the place to specify your requirements regarding the links, like their number, type or the articles they are supposed to direct to (if there is other relevant content owned by your company).
External links may be used as a reference to sources used, but they can also have a negative impact on SEO efforts. It is wise to state your policy regarding external links, the number of allowed external links or the exact target addresses – if you require any.
This can be everything that is non-typical, unique, or extremely important about a given project.
Choose freely, but wisely. You don’t want to overload authors with irrelevant information.
Present this content as a benchmark, a model, or an antimodel. Always state the purpose of this reference.
Present this content as a benchmark, a model, or an antimodel. Always state the purpose of this reference and make sure it is crystal clear that this content comes from your competition.
In some cases, a mood board can be an important reference material that will effectively set the tone and define the context of your blog post.
It can be anything but make sure it is relevant.