Whether creating some brand new website content or updating your existing work, the importance of effective content is often overlooked.
All of the content on your website, including copy, images and video has the dual purpose of:
Effective website content completes the above, whilst remaining engaging, representative of your brand and the main driver of the customer journey.
This turns the creation of web content into a much bigger job than many think, and toeing the line between readability and search-engine optimised means great website content isn’t just the result of an afternoon spent typing.
Many look to involve a professional marketing communications agency to craft website content that meets these criteria. When contacting an agency, the first stage is to create and deliver a brief so they know exactly what you’re looking for.
Delivering a website content brief serves two interests. It gives you a clear foundation upon which to compare different agencies’ proposals to ensure you partner with the best one for the job. It also provides a starting point for the agency and guides the process of building the content for your new website, from website strategy to copywriting and image selection.
Although it may seem daunting at first, the good news is writing a website content brief should be a straightforward task, as all communications agencies are looking for the same core information.
It’s important to spend some time crafting a content brief that is both pragmatic and specific to your company and its needs. Clearly outlining the requirements and objectives of your new site will ensure your agency can deliver an accurate proposal, and ultimately the best end product.
To help you write an amazing website content brief, and to give your agency the best chance of nailing your new site, we’ve created a short guide on what to include.
Most of the information required from a brief falls under these key areas:
Communicating the essence of what your company does makes it easier to imagine what a site might look like and what information needs to be delivered.
You should include:
If you have a current website, then include this here. Outline your current site issues, why it needs an update, where it is being hosted and who worked to design it. It is also helpful to know the things that work well for your current site, for example, pieces of content you like or frequently visited pages.
If one of your core services is selling online, then it is essential you describe the products you sell. A detailed product overview, including product features, and sizes is necessary to get the best out of your shop. If your agency doesn’t know what you sell how do you expect them to create compelling and accurate content to promote it?
Try and best describe who your target audience groups are, and how they find your website currently (ie Google search, PPC ads, or word of mouth). Google Analytics can provide this information, and 12 months of data is useful to remove anomalies and seasonal variations.
If you have an ideal client or pre-made buyer personas, then they are a great addition to this section. Think about what your audience likes, and what turns them off. Remember, you know your customers better than anyone, so try and impart some of this knowledge in the brief.
A clear idea of who your audience is will help to ensure the content produced is appropriate. It will help to create a vision that caters to your target audience’s needs and expectations, maximising their engagement with your website.
For example, if your main customers are professionals in your industry, you won’t want copy that gives the layman’s description of what you do.
If you haven’t fully fleshed out your target audience quite yet, then not to worry. We offer a full marketing strategy and audience definition service to help you define your target audience and cement your niche.
Here you should develop what the goals of your website are. Consider what your company goals are, and how these will be supported by your online presence.
If you have a brochure site, what information do you most want visitors to take away from it? Is it to share your brand, or inform potential customers of the services you offer?
What journey do you want your customers to take once they are on the site, and what is the end goal? This journey is shaped by the presentation and content on your site, so think about what you would like visitors to do with the information available, and what your main call to action is. It may be a transaction, booking, share to social media, or an email signup.
What is your project, and what do you expect your agency to do? You might be undergoing some re-branding and are looking for a whole website’s worth of new content that better aligns with this new brand, or your project might be to build your reputation as an industry thought leader with a regular blog or insights page.
How much work are you expecting there will be involved and what is your project timeline? A client might want a few pages re-written, a regular blog or a complete website SEO audit and content strategy review, which obviously will impact the project timeline and cost.
Have a think about what content you actually want to include on your site. Whilst copy is the most efficient way to deliver large amounts of information, don’t neglect the need for images, illustration, animation and video to keep your website engaging and representative of your brand and values.
If you have a bank of images available then outline this; if you’re starting from scratch then some ideas on what you might want to include is a helpful inclusion.
If you have any other existing assets like a brand guideline document or existing keyword strategy document, then this can alter the project scope. A sitemap including all the pages that will need content is a nice visual way to get the agency and yourself on the same page.
It’s also worth including some information on how your website has been (or is being) built. Whether you’re creating a brand new custom website with a developer or working with a website builder like Squarespace, it’s helpful to know.
If you’re working with various parties like developers or photographers, then including names and contact details gives the agency a chance to plan and collaborate with them.
To ensure the work you commission has the maximum benefit to your business’ situation and requirements, here at Barefoot Media we work with you to first develop a website and content strategy, creating a guiding principle under which all content marketing is completed.
Including a guide for the budget you have will help the agency to propose the most appropriate solution. Some clients are hesitant to provide an exact figure at this stage, but the more open and honest you are with everything in a brief, the more accurate and detailed quotes you will receive in return. A budget range, however wide, is greatly appreciated.
Remember that this is just a guide on what you might choose to include in your website content brief. Whilst this is all very helpful information for an agency to have and will likely result in a more accurate project proposal, don’t get too stressed if you can’t answer some of these questions. This is the starting point of your relationship with an agency; there will be plenty of opportunities to work things out as you go.
At Barefoot Media, we are experts at creating stunning website content. From content creation to population, we deliver the right information in a clear tone of voice and craft fantastic user experiences. More information on our content creation service can be found here, or contact Jim Michell with any questions – or an expertly written website brief.