The Five ‘Ws’ of Content Creation

Strategic writing that drives toward a desired outcome should be every marketer’s goal. Whether you are looking for ideas to build out your editorial calendar or actually writing, taking some extra time to ask yourself a few critical questions can mean the difference between ‘OK’ content and crafting material that actually drives positive business outcomes.


Personally, one technique I find helpful for creating impactful content comes straight from my roots in journalism—addressing the 5 ‘Ws’:

  • Who is my audience for this piece?
  • What action do I want readers to take when they finish reading?
  • When is the optimum time to publish this piece?
  • Where will this content live?
  • Why does the intended audience care about this content?

If you take the time to answer these five questions, creating meaningful content that generates ROI becomes far easier. But, as marketers we’ve all had the sensation of arriving in the office in the morning, putting our heads down to start crafting content, looked up what seems like a few minutes later and noticed it is time to go home. On those days when it seems impossible to get everything done without simply plowing through one task after another without coming up to take a breath, addressing the Five ‘Ws’ seems impossible.

Rather than sacrificing quality for quantity, many organizations are now outsourcing at least a portion of their content creation to content strategy vendor. In fact, according to Eloqua’s “State of Marketing 2014” report, 47 percent of companies now outsource content to a third-party. Removing some of the burden of content creation from a company’s internal marketing team allows the members of that team to think more deeply about the material they create. The vendor—which employs a team full of content strategy and creation experts—also produces high-quality, engaging material, meaning every piece of content that organization produces now meets the five ‘Ws’ standard.

Creating quality content is as much about strategic thinking and planning as it is about the actual writing process. So, when it comes to your own content, are you asking the right questions?

eric-e1412094737376Known around the office as the unofficial (or official if you ask him) “Content Boost Mayor,” Eric Lebowitz is one of Content Boost’s Digital Content Editors. Before joining the team, Eric worked in development at the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut in Stamford, Connecticut, and “Golf Digest Magazine.” With experience in account management and content creation, Eric has helped dozens of clients bolster their Web traffic and customer acquisition.  When he’s not cracking jokes in the cubes, you can find him on the golf course working on his handicap. He’s also a recent newlywed. Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Journalism from Purchase College in Purchase, New York.

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