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Despite the growing use of generative AI for the creation of marketing content, savvy marketers don't—and shouldn't—rush to fully rely on it.

AI tools are great helpers. They can generate content ideas and outlines or gather sources for backlinks. But they can't craft original content with insights and added value for your B2B target audience. Instead, they provide generic (often biased) info and present false references as legitimate.

In short, you need a human writer to craft B2B content.

Yes, content writers can deliver poor-quality content, too. But have you ever considered that the quality of the content a writer delivers also depends on you, the one requesting the content?

The following are 17 essential elements that your brief should consist of so that a B2B content writer can deliver high-quality text. Consider it your go-to checklist from now on.

17-Point Outline and Checklist for B2B Content Writers

1. Target-Audience Insights

Include information about the target audiences of the content pieces you assign. Tell writers whom they are writing for. Mention details, such as industry, job titles, company size, level (beginners, advanced specialists), etc. That information will help writers understand what language patterns and insights to use.

2. Customer Journey Stage

Address your lead generation funnel and note which stage of the customer journey your article targets: awareness, consideration, decision... This information will help the writer to better understand the article's purpose.

3. Article Goal

Speaking of purpose: feel free to mention the article's goal as a separate element in your content brief. Be clear about what you're trying to achieve with it. Are you looking to generate leads or encourage sign-ups for a trial? Or perhaps you're creating a top-of-funnel piece to raise brand awareness and generate customer engagement? Write it down.

4. Word Count

Include a word count in your content brief if targeting a specific article length. If not, still mention at least an approximate number (e.g., 2,000-2,500 words) so the writer understands the workload. Just make sure your article structure matches up. (More on that later.)

5. Primary Keywords

Specify the target keyword (or keywords) in your content brief. It's the one your article should focus on. Make that keyword central to your topic, and tell the writer where and how often to include it in the text.

6. Secondary Keywords

List secondary keywords you want to target. Include keyword volume and difficulty so the writer knows how to prioritize them. Also, mention any related keywords you'd like the writer to use. It's all about SEO, helping craft your B2B content assets for search engines to rank them higher.

7. Meta Title Requirements

Write specific meta title requirements for a writer: what primary keyword to use and how long the title should be. Ask to keep it under 60 characters so search engines show it in its entirety on search engine results pages.

Meta Description Requirements

Again: include the primary keywords that a writer needs to use. And make a note to keep it short—no more than 160 characters so it displays fully in search results.

Meta descriptions work better when they are logical, descriptive sentences—not a bunch of keywords separated by commas. Professional writers know that, but you can specify it in your brief, just in case.

9. H1 Requirements

Emphasize using your primary keyword in H1 (headline) and write length guidelines to ensure it fits within the character limit your CMS sets. Mention that H1 should be different from the meta title. If you use any specific headline formats for your B2B blog or site—listicles, how-to content, tutorials, etc.—let the writer know.

10. Clear Article Structure With H2 and H3 Headings

Provide all the headings and subheads you'd like your writer to cover in the article, aligning them with your length requirements. That's where AI tools can help: Prompt them with a detailed outline of your prescribed topic.

Chances are you'll get back a generic article plan with no original statements or subtopics. Edit the AI-generated content for better user experience and SEO: Add or remove subtopics, revise content blocks, and make a comprehensive outline so that the final content will meet E-E-A-T guidelines.

Don't provide only three H2s for a 5,000-word article: One H2/H3 section should take 300-500 words, max.

11. Internal Style Guide

Include a link to your style guide, if you have one. It should cover your industry glossary, product blurbs, English variants (UK or US), tone of voice, abbreviation guidelines, capitalization rules, etc.

12. Internal-Link Guidelines

List anchors and internal links to other relevant content on your website you'd like to mention in the text. It helps a writer connect relevant pages to each other.

13. External-Link Guidelines

Include details on the minimum DR (domain rating) and traffic volume required to ensure the quality of backlinks your website shares. Also, briefly list competitors if you want writers to avoid mentioning them in your content.

14. Competing Content URLs

Provide the list of URLs from competitors ranking for the same keywords. It's useful for a writer to understand the competition and tailor content accordingly.

15. First-Draft Deadline

Set a due date for the initial draft of the article to keep things on track. Ask writers to confirm they can deliver the first draft by deadline.

16. Final Article Deadline

Set a due date for the final draft of the article. Consider that you'll need time to review the first draft and offer suggestions. Plan to give the writer about two days to make changes, so set your final deadline accordingly.

17. AI-Content Detection Checker

Insert the link to the AI content detector you're using to check whether a content writer creates " human content." In today's AI era, it's an important step to include in your brief.

Your B2B Content Brief Checklist

So now you have all the essential elements to include in your brief for a B2B writer to deliver high-quality articles:

  1. Target-audience insights
  2. Article goal
  3. Customer journey stage
  4. Word count
  5. Primary keywords
  6. Secondary keywords
  7. Meta title requirements
  8. Meta description requirements
  9. H1 requirements
  10. Clear article structure with H2s and H3s
  11. Internal style guide
  12. Internal linking guidelines
  13. External linking guidelines
  14. Competing content URLs
  15. First-draft deadline
  16. Final article deadline
  17. AI-content detection checker

Despite the rise of AI writing technology, AI still isn't an alternative to human brainpower. We can make the most out of its benefits for our B2B marketing, but it would be wrong to think of AI as full-time performers instead of helpful hands for boosting our creativity and workflow.

More Resources on Ensuring High-Quality Outsourced Content

Nine Copywriter Woes: Mistakes to Avoid With Your Copywriter

Outsourcing Content Marketing? Here's How to Make That Partnership Successful

How to Effectively Outsource Product Marketing Content

Marketers' Biggest Struggles With Freelance Content Creators

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image of Olesia Filipenko

Olesia Filipenko is a writer and manager at WritingBreeze, crafting long-form content assets for small and midsize business websites.

LinkedIn: Olesia Filipenko

Twitter: @WritingBreeze