Think back to when you were in grade school. You are sitting at your desk, holding your favorite purple polka-dot pencil with a green dinosaur eraser that you purchased with your lunch money at the school store. The teacher explains that you will be creating stories, and each story must contain the Five Ws of Content Writing: who, what, when, where, why, and sometimes how.
These Five Ws have traveled with us through our years of schooling and into our careers. If you think about it, everything you do is catered around these questions and drive your decision making, from your dinner choice to your next marketing campaign. In a constantly changing digital landscape, keeping the Five Ws in mind helps us understand exactly why content matters.
The simple answer to our “why” is that content provides audience engagement, and when the audience is engaged, they are more likely to answer our call to action.
The biggest resource that we have at our fingertips is data. We have the ability to track who is visiting our sites, what content they are consuming, when the peak performance time is, where they are clicking and why they are interacting with certain pieces of content. Once we’ve solved the five Ws, we embark on how to keep them engaged and coming back for more.
Not to devalue the other four Ws, identifying who your target audience is, is key to connecting digitally. This allows the creative department to provide them with content that is not only relevant, but valuable. When an audience finds value in what they’re consuming, they will be motivated to sign up for your eNewsletters, watch a webinar, follow you on social media and mark your website as their favorite resource.
Dialing in on the “who” also assists in how you will deliver content to them. If you notice that your readers are accessing your website via their mobile phones, maybe it’s time to optimize your website to a more mobile-focused design, with improved, eye-catching imagery. If your audience’s time on page is higher on videos than long-winded articles, maybe you should focus on producing more videos or dialing back your word count.
More doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to content, and less doesn’t mean it will be seen more. Finding a balance with our digital data helps track what our audience is interested in by delivering it at a rate that is satisfying. The best way to find a balance is through experimenting. Set goals each week and identify the results based on analytics reporting. After a month of research, reevaluate your goals to find your balance.
If you’re looking for instant gratification, survey your audience. This will help you better understand what they’re looking for, ultimately facilitating content production to meet your audience’s wants and needs.
When it comes to content, don’t be afraid to take risks. We should be motivated to step into the unknown and evolve. Just because the dinosaur eraser is our favorite today doesn’t mean the unicorn eraser won’t be the new favorite tomorrow.