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Poor Assignments Lead to – You Guessed It – Poor Brand Content

Even the most competent writer needs good direction, and skimping on the details will get you subprime content.

“We need an article on healthy eating for teens.”
“Please provide a 500-word article on saving for retirement for Baby Boomers.”
“Create a native ad on the benefits of leasing a new vehicle.”
Those are not brand content assignments. Those are broad suggestions masquerading as assignments, especially when you consider that most brand content writers today have no formal marketing training or advertising experience.
To get the most from your brand content, you must create detailed writer assignments.

Review your USD

Your ultimate message to consumers should be your benefit, or unique selling differential (USD). A brand content writer should understand what a brand’s target customer is seeking in terms of a benefit (often a solution to a problem). When assigning a content project to a writer, make sure she understands the benefit she is trying to communicate. This is especially important when brand content does not mention a product but must still promise the benefit by associating the brand with the benefit.

Analyze your audience demographics

The more information about the reader you can give a brand content writer, the more effective the message the writer can create. “Women” are not a target audience. Are they young, middle-aged or senior? Do they have children? Are they single or married? Educated or affluent? Tell the writer not only who the target readers are but why the marketer is targeting them.

Provide a client content form                                                

Brand content assignments should start with a project form the client fills out. This should include the product’s benefit/USD, the target audience, the company’s competitors and the goals for the content. Goals should not just be “increasing sales.” Goals might include establishing credibility or authority, alerting the reader to a problem or opportunity, and providing a solution to a specific problem.

Provide a complete writer assignment form

A brand content writer’s primary job is not to create good content – it’s to create good audiences that act in a specific way. Brand content writers can only do that if they receive explicit instructions for completing assignments. Provide brand content writers with the following information each assignment:

  • Title of the article or post
  • Type of content: blog post, sponsored content, native ad
  • Reader demographics
  • Points to cover in the content
  • Suggested or required sources/interviews
  • Marketer’s goal for content
  • Voice (first-, second- or third-person)
  • Site/publication where content will run and previous/similar samples
  • Marketer’s website and social media accounts
  • Marketer’s product description/USD
  • Due date and word count

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