5ws and 1h: Creating the perfect content plan
It makes sense that the cornerstone of journalistic teaching, the 5ws and 1h, apply to content marketing. Our Content Marketing Specialist, Claire, talks about how applying this rule to marketing can help create the perfect content marketing plan.
Your guide to creating a content marketing plan that works
The 5ws and 1h is the first thing you are taught when you sit in a lecture hall or classroom to learn how to become a journalist. It’s the who, what, where, when, why and how of any situation. In journalism, the 5ws and 1h should be addressed in the first couple of sentences of an article, so that anyone who is pressed for time can simply scan the first paragraph and know the story.
How does this apply to Growth Marketing? It’s simple; content marketing is a major part of Growth Marketing and its roots are in journalism. Most content marketers and strategists in companies around the globe started out as journalists, yours truly included. The purposes of content in marketing are thought provocation, engagement, loyalty and ultimately, a sale; the same can be said for journalism. As the two areas are not entirely worlds apart, it’s no surprise that the 5ws and 1h of marketing are applicable to the development of a sturdy content marketing plan.
Who are you reaching out to? When you are constructing a content marketing plan, you need to think about who you are targeting with your content. This might even be one of the most important elements as the type of content you are creating, the tone of voice you are using and the channels through which you promote it all depend on who you are trying to target. Conducting some audience and user analysis to determine who your audiences are, what problems they have and what kind of content attracts them is the best place to start. For more on this, take a look at our blog post on how to identify your ideal customer.
What kind of content are you going to create? There are many types of content that can be used to target audiences in different ways. Using an editorial calendar you can plan out what types of content you are going to use to target your audience at various stages of their customer journey. Again, user analysis helps with this task as you will learn what kind of content is attracting the most potential leads, and what kind is the most effective in getting them over that conversion line!
Where are you going to promote it? This is an important question when working on a content plan and, you guessed, analysing your target audiences will give you an excellent idea of where you should market the content. Depending on the age, seniority, geographic location and job type of your target customer there is a multitude of channels through which you can promote your content. Include in your editorial calendar and your overall plan, a list of promotional channels such as email, social media, text message and so on; it’s all dependent on the type of content you are using and the audience you want to reach.
When are you going to target them? This is really two questions:
- When in the customer journey are you going to use this content?
- When, as in what month, week, day, time, are you going to communicate this content?
Both questions are equally important so let’s deal with them separately. The first question, when in the customer journey, requires, yes, analysis of your audience, but also a general understanding of marketing online and customer behaviours. If your content is a landing page with a special offer, you are probably going to use it to target those in the awareness stage; people who know they have a problem or need but don’t know of your company. If you are promoting a whitepaper with in depth industry studies and valuable information, you may be using it to retain existing customers and encourage their advocacy of your expertise.
When, as in literal time, depends on your audience’s general behaviour. Are they using their phones on a commute to work every day? Then targeting them before 8am and after 6pm is a good idea. Do they mostly view your website on a desktop in the morning? Then perhaps an email at around the 8.30 mark is a good recommendation.
Consider the “when” of your content plan very carefully. Your content may be exactly what your target audience is looking for, but if you are reaching out to them at the wrong time, it may be going to waste.
Why are you creating this piece of content? What is the purpose of the content? Are you building brand awareness? Increasing leads? Pushing potential leads over the line? Retaining customers? Attracting employees? This is all very important when establishing your content plan.
You should have a set of content types for each purpose. Always ask yourself what you want a customer to do after they read or view your content; this is the “why”.Then construct your plan around the answer to this question. Here are some examples of content pieces that relate to each purpose:
- Brand Awareness: A Social Media campaign highlighting your service offering and unique selling point
- Increasing leads: A landing page with an offer of a free consultation or a first-time buyer discount
- Pushing leads over the line: A workflow triggered by a newsletter sign up or form completion that drip feeds various elements of content (blog posts, special offers, downloadable content) over a period of time to encourage them to make a purchase or fill in an enquiry form.
- Retaining customers: Informative blog content that makes their job easier, free templates, promoting their business on your social pages for free. Ongoing social media posts
- Attracting employees: Ongoing in-house, behind the scenes pictures of the office and the perks the employees enjoy e.g. Doughnut Fridays, training days, employee rewards, meals out, quiet spaces and so on.
How can things improve? Content plans, even content strategies, are not completely rigid. The “how” of your content plan is an ongoing question. As a marketer, it should be top of your agenda to always question whether something is working and how it can be improved, even if it is working! Your content marketing might be drawing in five potentially valuable leads per week, but think about how you can attract 6 leads.
Along with this comes the responsibility of always staying aware of what’s new in the world of marketing. Being aware of new advertising platforms, new consumer trends, new types of ads within existing social platforms and so on will ensure that your content plan will always stay relevant.
So what’s next?
Using the 5ws and 1h of content marketing as your guide, it’s time to start researching. Find out who your audience is, how they behave online and offline, the type of content they consume. Then start devising a plan of how you will target this audience at the various stages of their journey from unaware to advocating customer.
It’s a lot of work, and it does require some specialist knowledge and skill, but that’s why Dara Creative is here. If you feel like your company is missing a trick by being lax with its marketing and content, get in touch with Dara Creative and we’ll talk to you about how we can help. We’ll assist your company from the research stage to measurement and management.