Are you scratching your head trying to come up with content ideas? Have you run out of new ways to keep your audience engaged, and have no idea what to post?
Whether it’s for social media, email marketing, website content, podcasting – or any kind of content – this simple equation will make sure you never run out of content ideas again, helping you to be more efficient, effective and, importantly, consistent.
5Ws + H = endless content ideas
In my first year university journalism and PR subjects, we had this equation drummed into us. We were told that the lead paragraph (first paragraph) of every news story or media release had to contain these elements, and it has stayed with me as a very useful tool … in so many ways.
So what’s the equation? What does 5W + H stand for?
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
Answer these questions in relation to your business, and you have an endless stream of content ideas. I’ve talked about content categories (or content buckets) in the past – those 6-8 categories that educate, inspire, entertain or inform your clients and form the basis of your content strategy. If you’re struggling to come up with those buckets, this equation can definitely help.
In a social media world, this is one of the most important categories. More and more, people want to buy from other people instead of big businesses. People that they feel like they know and trust. So sharing the humans behind your business can create a point of connection that can be difficult for big brands.
Who are the people behind your business? The business owners; your team; your customers; your suppliers. Put a spotlight on the human stories in your business so your potential customers can relate to your content.
A lot of people hesitate to share themselves on their company’s social media. They value their privacy, want to make it all about the product/service, and hate being in front of the camera. But especially in today’s social media world, humanised content (content that focuses on the people behind your business) is the most engaging and can propel your marketing efforts further. It feels less like “marketing” and more like catching up with a friend.
What does your business do? What products or services do you provide? What are the ingredients or components of your business. What are the small details of your business that would be of interest to your customers?
(And before you think that the tiny details aren’t interesting … don’t forget that you know so much more about your industry, products or services than your customers do, and things that you think are common knowledge, or even boring, can be really interesting to someone discovering you for the first time.
What are key times that are important to your business – that would be valuable knowledge for your customers. Are there specific seasons, or times that are more important? Are there key sales periods related to your business? Keep your customers informed about the “whens” that relate to your business.
Where do you work from? Where do your customers live? Think of location-based information that is relevant to your business and interesting to your customers. For a physical business, the where is also important as you place yourself as part of your local community – so it’s important to share local content.
And for online businesses – your customers still want to see where you work. They like a sneak peek at your product/service being prepared – it can help them feel more secure and part of the process.
As Simon Sinek famously said: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Bring your followers, readers, listeners and potential customers into your business’ why – it can help your ideal customers identify with you and your vision, build affinity and trust, and make it very easy for them to buy from you.
Share how you create your product or service. People love having a bit of “insider knowledge” and behind-the-scenes content can be some of the most engaging content. It also lets you showcase the quality and sustainability of your products. When people know more, they often feel more connected to a product or brand.
So as you sit down to plan your content, consider these five questions and let them inspire content for across your marketing activities. As you apply these broad categories, you’ll find sub-categories that work really well with your audience and you can go deeper into those.
The beauty of having categories like this. You’ll be able to create content in advance and schedule it out so that you stay consistent … which is incredibly important.
Like the idea of the 5w + H, but want some more help. Fill in the form below and get a free download of 50+ content ideas using this formula.