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Published on March 1st, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie


The Content Brief

If you’ve done any project work, you’re probably familiar with the brief. It’s sometimes called a Design Brief, Creative Brief, or Experience Brief but it all boils down to the same thing. It’s a way to describe the problem, define the scope, articulate the goals, and reiterate the agreed-upon process to get there. In organizations, these tend to be called proposals or project briefs. Some may have a risk/benefit analysis or section on anticipated ROI, or team profiles, or other slight variations.

Despite the differences in nomenclature and ¬†section headings, a common theme is that the content is left out of the brief. There is generally discussion of digital strategy, markets, and experience, but the content – no mention of it. Or when there is a mention, it’s in the context of how the content enhances the experience, without recognizing that the content, in many ways, is the experience.

When starting a project, I will sometimes ask to add a section to the existing brief (because agencies tend to bring in content strategists way later than that should, and the brief has already been prepared) or, if the brief has already been sent to the client, I’ll prepare a separate content strategy brief.

Colleen Jones of Content Science kindly provided her format (thanks, Colleen!), which I’ve linked to an article that gives more context for getting the most of your brief.

Content Brief

Preparing a Content Brief

Thanks to Colleen Jones for contributing this example for the series on content strategy deliverables, and stay tuned for next week’s content strategy deliverable.


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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

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