Who, What, Why, Where, When; plus the sneaky ‘H’ — How.
Who is the story about?
What is the main point of the story?
Where did the story take place?
When did the story take place?
Why is the story important?
How did it happen?
Fast forward some years (more than I’d like to admit), and I still use this formula when writing content. The only difference is the definitions of the above have been slightly tweaked to suit blogging and long-form articles.
By applying the 5 Ws (and the one sneaky H) you too, can generate engaging content for your brand.
Who is your target audience? Who will be reading your blogs and articles? Who is affected by this topic? Who will benefit by reading this article?
Knowing who will read your content helps enormously when it comes to style and key messaging. It will also help determine what type of language to use. (e.g. If you are writing for a technically minded audience, you can probably use a bit of industry-jargon, whereas if you are writing for the lay person, you would consciously avoid jargon and technical terms).
What are you writing about? What are the key messages you want to get across?
When you understand the key messages your article or blog needs to convey, your writing will become more concise and to the point. No one likes to read articles that waffle on and end up saying very little.
Where will your blog or article be published? Will it be in print or electronic form?
Having an idea where your piece will end up and the format it will take should give you some idea of your audience and will therefore help you target the piece. Knowing your reach (and who they are), will also help when it comes to promoting your own work via social media.
When will your article be published? Will it coincide with an event/launch/season?
Knowing when your article is due to be published will also help you come up with content. For example, some publications have longer lead times than others — (i.e. magazines and journals often plan three to six months ahead). Keep this in mind as you write. While you may be writing an article during summer, the content required may be winter-focused.
Why are you writing your blog? What do you hope to gain from publishing your piece? Why is the topic important?
Do you want to increase awareness of a particular cause, showcase your business/talents or do you want to generate more business? Having a clear idea of what you want your writing to achieve will ensure that you write it with the end in mind. There is no point writing something simply for the sake of writing.
While the question of ‘how’ is slightly less important, it’s still worth considering.
The ‘how’ of your content may be one of a few questions:
How will the reader benefit from this content?
How are you going to promote your piece?
How can you leverage this piece of writing to generate more clients/customers and brand exposure?
So when you plan out your next blog post or article, ask yourself the 5 Ws and that sneaky H, and see how your content will benefit.
If you are wondering whether your business needs a blog, there are 4 things you must consider before going ahead.
If you already have a blog, and would like help planning and writing for your business, please contact us. We would love to work with you.