Using the 5 Ws of Content Creation to Succeed

Originally published on 6/20/2015. Refreshed on 4/22/2020.

On a daily basis, the average person is exposed to an average of 5,000-10,000 digital ads per day – that doesn’t even include organic content. From social media posts to emails to random Google queries, our brains are bombarded with so much content that it can be difficult to compartmentalize. What’s worth absorbing and what isn’t? That being said, when producing original content, it’s important to keep in mind the 5 Ws of content creation: why, who, what, where, and when. It’s even more important to think of them in that specific order!

The 5 Ws help you to plan and organize your content so that it is as clear and concise as possible, but you’ll have a jumbled mess of a content piece if you don’t use the correct order. Before you set out to write a blog post, an article, or website copy, think about why you’re doing so, who it’s for, what you’re writing about, where it’ll be published, and when to publish it. 

Why to Share

The first thing you should ask yourself before you start a project or piece is why you are doing it. Content creation needs a purpose — without a real reason to produce something, you’re wasting your time and your audience’s time. With that being said, producing content on a regular basis is critical to your inbound marketing efforts. It not only will assist in increasing your organic search presence but creates an overall online presence and helps you develop into a thought leader for your industry. We don’t encourage you to put out anything and everything, but do make sure you’re regularly posting quality content that conveys your message and establishes you as an expert in your industry. Building your reputation as a reputable source of information also builds trust between you and your customers, benefitting your business in the process. 

Who to share to

Once you’ve come up with a purpose for content creation, think about how it will resonate with your buyer personas. According to HubSpot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.” A thorough buyer persona will give you great insight into who you’re trying to reach and what it’ll take to reach them. 

What to Share

When determining what to share, we recommend pairing your detailed buyer personas with thorough keyword research. Combining these two different analyses is crucial to content creation because they will help you discover relevant topics and what kinds of content will accurately convey the message of those topics. After you’ve come up with ideas to write about, adapt each one to fit different stages of the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey, sometimes portrayed as a funnel, refers to a customer’s progression leading up to making a purchase and consists of three main parts: 

1. The Awareness Stage (Top of the Funnel)

Top of the funnel content, known as ToFu in the marketing world, is meant to increase brand awareness and inform your audience about your business. You don’t want to put pressure on anyone to make a purchase during this stage, but casually give them the information they may need before making one. This lures them in and creates a sense of trust between them and your business without being too pushy. Examples of ToFu content would be things like blogs or infographics to help them learn about your industry, products, and services at a high level. 

2. The Consideration Stage (Middle of the Funnel)

Middle of the funnel content, known as MoFu, is where you start to position yourself as an authoritative figure in your industry. The goal of MoFu content is not to get someone to buy something just yet, but convince them that when they’re ready to buy it, they’ll come to you instead of your competitors. This stage’s content would consist of things like white papers, eBooks, webinars, and informational videos. 

3. The Decision Stage (Bottom of the Funnel)

Bottom of the funnel, popularly known as BoFu, is when you want to seal the deal with your customers. This is when they make the decision to actually buy something, completing their buyer’s journey. BoFu content will most likely be things like customer reviews, case studies, or product pages that include a call-to-action leading them to make a purchase or complete an action on your site. 

You want to make sure you have created content that appeals to customers in each stage of the buyer’s journey so that you can reach the largest audience possible!

Where to share

Produce the right kind of content that works for your business — think of your audience and how they’d want to hear from you. Make use of different forms of content: blogs, ebooks, case studies, emails, podcasts, videos, etc., and don’t be afraid to experiment with several types and get creative! In order to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, you’ll need to regularly post relevant and engaging pieces of content, leaving you plenty of time to test out several forms. 

Once you’ve settled on what type of content you’ll be producing, you need to make sure people are actually going to see it! Increase your chances of exposure by sharing on social media platforms that work for your business like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. This will also help you to build your online presence because of your constant activity. 

When to share

We recommend staying as active as possible on social media and online without being too overbearing. Social Buddy recommends posting between one and three times each day, eventually scaling back or increasing the amount after a few weeks of tracking engagement. If your followers and customers are extremely active and eager to interact with you, posting more often will work for you. However, if they’re not as willing to participate, test out a few days with less posting and see if they respond better to that. 

While posting regularly is important to increasing customer engagement and awareness, we cannot stress enough that you should focus on quality over quantity. One quality post is worth more than five pieces of thin content that do little to interest your audience.

Need more help with content creation?

Content creation is an important part of any business, so finding what works best for you should be at the top of your to-do list. To give yourself inspiration and insight, keep in mind the 5 Ws of content creation to help manage topic ideas and ways to share them. 

If you need a little more information, check out our free, downloadable Marketing 101 Checklist for tips and tricks on how to successfully implement a marketing strategy.