How to write a killer content brief | free template
“A content brief? That sounds like the kind of trivial work I detest. And how can I trust this freelancer anyway? Have I even met them? What if they bollocks up the whole project and there’s no time to fix it? They’ll take us all down! Look, it’s too complicated. I’ll just create the content myself.”
Cut forward to a few days before deadline, and you’ll see the individual above in a state of twitch-eyed strain. Too proud to delegate, too busy to do the job well themselves, they’ve dug themselves into a miserable hole.
If they had carved out a small slice of time earlier to write a crisp, suitably detailed brief, they could have avoided this predicament entirely. So how do you create the perfect brief for your freelancer in order to help them, help you?
Follow the “inverted pyramid” model
Web readers have short attention spans—they’ll decide whether your site has the information they need in seconds. Structure your content like an upside-down pyramid or cone. The most important messages go at the top of the page. Then, gradually drill down to the more specific, supporting information.
For example, say you’re creating a web page about a conference. The most pertinent details—a description of the theme, date, and location—would appear at the top of the page. Supporting details like speakers and their lecture topics would follow. The less important information—such as conference organizers, the history of the conference series or a list of related resources—would appear at the bottom of the page.
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These two graphs can help you conceptualize the structure of your site.
How to Write Winning Content for Your Infographics: 10 Steps
Now that you know what infographics are let’s talk about how to create them. Even if you’re not a visual design expert, you can still write award-winning text for your infographics. Here’s how:
1. Strike A Balance Between Text and Visuals
First things first, let’s talk about balance. There are two parts to an infographic – data (info) and design (graphics). Of course, both are important, so it’s critical to strike a balance between the two. If you have excellent text and blah design, your infographic won’t work.
For your infographic to function as well as possible, the visuals and text need to work together to create a cohesive experience. With this in mind, consider how your visuals and text will work together as you write your infographic copy.
2. Keep It Concise
While infographics can be lengthy, the independent elements within them don’t offer a ton of room for text. As such, you need to be careful with your choice of language. Infographics are great places to learn to say complicated things in simple ways. Be sure that all the language you are choosing supports your main points and helps readers understand the “meat” of your infographic.
3. Create A Narrative Arc
Although an infographic might just look like random bits of information stuck together in a graphic, it’s anything but. In fact, all the best infographics have a narrative arc that helps readers make their way through the process. This narrative arc could rely on sections, a series of chronological events (in the case of our History of SEO infographic, for example), or a story line. As you write, keep this narrative arc in mind.
4. Start With The Data
When creating an infographic, don’t overwhelm yourself with design and text at the same time. Instead, start by gathering data. Look for high-quality, reputable sources (with high Trust Flow and Alexa rankings), and compile a high-quality list of statistics, attention-grabbing facts, and pointers.
Again, you don’t have much room for text, so be sure that you’re keeping everything you do include impactful and meaningful. Remember: your data is the foundation of your infographic. Build it stable and strong, and your readers will love you for it. Make it shaky and weak, and the whole house will fall in.
5. Look at Examples
If you’re new to infographics, it will help to look at examples of great content to get an idea of what you should be doing. For best results, look at infographics both in your industry and outside of it. The more examples you can gather, the deeper your understanding will be about what it takes to create award-winning content.
6. Keep It Relevant
Today, it’s not enough to keep your infographic text short. It also needs to be relevant. The value of infographics is in the simple delivery of helpful information, so the more relevant your infographic is, the better it will perform with your readers.
If you continually produce infographics that are timely, informative and relevant to your clients, they’ll start to regard you as an expert resource. They’ll also start to pass your valuable content along to other readers This can lead to your content being passed through social networks and creating more traffic to your website.
Once you know what kind of content you want to put out there, it’s time to dig for actual ideas so you can zero in on one brilliant topic. Even if you already have an idea of what your content is going to be about, you still need to do some research on it to ensure it’s as relevant as possible for your audience. This is the stage that eats up a lot of time in content creation, but you just cannot bypass it and expect to end up with great content.
Simply put, what you need to do is determine what topics are popular in your niche. What are your customers and prospects currently talking about or interested in? What are the most relevant and trending topics? What issues are likely to become popular soon? Here are some smart ways to find this information:
7. Keep it Cohesive
The best infographics look and feel consistent. While the look will depend in large part on your designer, the feel comes down to the voice of the infographic. Keep it cohesive and predictable, rather than changing it from section to section. This will help your readers understand what’s about to come and learn to recognize your infographics across the web.
8. Use Emotion
Great content must also be compelling and capture viewers’ emotions. Include a data set in your infographic that will strike an emotional connection with your audience. Make viewers relate to your content.
Make them stop and think. Give them something to be curious about. You want a part of the infographic to connect to people emotionally to spark conversation, which will lead to content sharing, linking, and brand awareness.
Consider Outsourcing Content
Infographics are brief and direct to the point, so they should be a breeze to write, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. Infographics take time and effort to develop and create. If you’re finding this out for yourself as you struggle to produce an infographic, consider outsourcing to a competent copywriter who can devote time to research your topic and create your content. Just provide the copywriter the subject of the infographic and a simple outline or project brief to let them know your expectations.
Use A Knockout Headline And Sub-Headlines
Headlines should be short, direct and filled with keywords. More importantly, they should grab attention instantly. Good headlines always have one strong word that creates an emotional hook to attract viewers. At the end of the day, the goal is to create compelling headlines that pose intriguing questions or a promise to share useful information.
Addressing the viewer directly in your headline (use the word “you”) and using numbers are other great tricks to draw attention! In addition to your main headline, use subheaders to highlight the sections of your infographic. Include relevant keywords and power words throughout your subheaders for greater impact.
Branding is important when it comes to creating an infographic, but too much will kill it. Of course, you want to brand your infographic to let viewers know your company created it, but you want to do it in a subtle way. Remember: an infographic isn’t explicitly promotional material.
Don’t be tempted to stuff your content with mentions of your brand name or product/service names. If you do, you’ll come off as “salesy, which is a big turnoff for viewers. Remember, if you have engaging and exciting content, people will be interested in learning more, so you don’t have to sell yourself constantly.
Use Accurate Information
Half of the value of an infographic is the information it contains. The very purpose of an infographic is to relay information. You want to develop content that people can use, so it must be accurate. Whether you’re the one supplying the data or presenting facts from another source, make sure they’re accurate.
Check your data and check it again. Use only trustworthy sources and cross-reference them to verify facts. Including incorrect facts and stats in your infographic makes your brand seem lazy and sloppy. Of course, don’t forget to list your sources at the bottom of the infographic to establish credibility. You should also go back and periodically update your existing infographics to ensure any statistics you included are still relevant and correct.
End With a Bang