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The Five W’s and an H – Is Your Content Hitting Its Mark?

Seeing your content shared by industry heavyweights leaves you feeling like you’ve hit the content jackpot, right? I mean, it’s on the road to going viral, it’s about to get hundreds upon thousands of shares, and you’re about to outrank the latest viral puppy video, aren’t you?

No, you probably aren’t.

Seeing your content featured on major sites, or shared by an influencer or two, doesn’t mean it’s going to ignite a frenzy of sharing activity. In fact, just because your piece gets a whole lot of backlinks and some press coverage, doesn’t mean everyone and his brother is going to be sharing it.

So, what does that mean for you? It means that your content creation experts need to have a robust social sharing and link building strategy in place – one that concentrates on building not just any backlinks, but high-quality links (see our piece on Panda’s latest updates and the importance of quality links and content). The strategy should also encourage social traction.

Before we get into the questions your content, and your content creation experts, should be addressing, let’s look at creating a share-worthy checklist.

A Quick and Dirty Content Checklist

  1. Compelling Content

Nearly 50 percent of people surveyed have claimed that they share content on social media because they think their networks will find it interesting. To qualify as interesting, your content should:

  • Be original. Using data that you have acquired through your own research will make your content completely unique.
  • Be surprising. Grab your reader’s attention with something unexpected. That compelling hook reels them in, but you need to retain their attention with something shocking or unpredictable.
  • Be topical. While content doesn’t need to be breaking news, it does need to be topical. Keep a lookout for what’s trending and then tie your brand into that issue.
  1. A Topic People Are Passionate About

Some people share content to express things they are passionate about. What they don’t care about is self-promotional ad copy. If your piece looks and reads like an ad, you’ve lost them. Instead, content creation experts consider content like a contextual marketing engine. In other words, something that provides information or entertainment.

  1. Resonating with Emotions

Some people share things on social media to elicit feelings. There is a correlation between positive emotions and the number of views a piece of content receives.

Content That Answers The 5W’s and the H

Now, let’s think about the last piece of content you generated. It doesn’t matter what form it took, but what do you say made it good? Was it something you’d happily display on the fridge or your study wall?

As content creation experts, we go through a thorough process of decision-making. We don’t just create content because someone submitted a brief. We don’t just create content because we need to make a dollar or two. We don’t just create content to meet someone else’s needs.

We want to build incredible content, which is why before we begin, we take a step back and carefully think things through. Remember how you learned the five Ws and an H in school? We still use that in our content creation process! Here’s how we answer those six questions to create stellar copy.

  1. WHO Are We Writing for?

First, we describe the target audience in a couple of sentences. We think about gender, ages, interests, and location. By knowing as much as you can about your audience, you can craft targeted content which has proven to perform better.

  1. WHAT Information Does the Audience Need?

What questions does the audience have? If your customers communicate with you, you’re lucky, as they’ll tell you what they need to know. With that information, you can create killer content.

  1. WHERE Do They Get Information?

Where is the targeted audience hanging out? Are they on social media or are they blog followers? Maybe they’re checking out websites? By understanding their behaviors, content creation experts can provide content where the audience is, making it easier to find.

  1. WHY Does the Audience Care About the Content?

Why does the audience care about your information? Is it useful, unique, and engaging?

  1. WHEN Will They Read It?

Is the audience a busy group of working executives who are catching up on content during their morning commute to the office? If that’s the case, the content should be published in the morning to grab their attention. If they’re parents who sit down to catch up on the day once their kids are in bed, you’ll want to publish in the evening. The better a content creator knows their customer, the better they can target the ideal distribution time.

  1. HOW Should Information Be Relayed?

What format works best for your readers? Do they have the time to read long-form content or watch a 10-minute video? Or, can they just catch a couple of seconds here and there for news? Will an infographic or image help tell your story better?

“Where is the targeted audience hanging out? Are they on social media or are they blog followers? Maybe they’re checking out websites? By understanding their behaviors, content creation experts can provide content where the audience is, making it easier to find.”

Don’t Get Bogged Down by the Questions, Leave It to the Content Creation Experts

These fundamental questions help us to produce content that your audience finds useful. We never just create content because someone said so. We do it because our customers ask us to.

At Iris Content we give our customers what they, and their audiences, want and need. In return, your content will be rewarded with reads, views, shares, and Likes from your audience. We’ll make sure your content is something you want to showcase on your refrigerator!


Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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