As we move towards the end of the year, we start to think about the highs and lows that make up our year. For me, one of the professional highs has been my collaboration with a marketing company called How Great Marketing Works. I’m reviewing their marketing programme with a series of blog posts. And I’ve also created a series of posts about how to write great content, called How to Write Great Content.
How Great Marketing Works has been created by Finola Howard, whose strategic approach to marketing has shaped my own content-writing strategy. Her whole philosophy is that before you can promote your business, you have to ask yourself some serious questions. You can then use the answers to these questions to help you create a story for your business, and you can then sell to people by telling.
For arty types like me, and I’m sensing many of you who read this blog also fit into this category, the idea of selling makes us really uncomfortable. The How Great Marketing Works approach takes the sting out of selling. If you think of selling in terms of telling a story rather than relentless promotion, it takes the pressure off. And it helps you recognise that you have something valuable to offer, and to find people who will appreciate your creativity and the value of your work.
I created the Five Ws series to help prospective and current users of the How Great Marketing Works programme sell by telling. It’s a series of four blog posts showing people how to write great content. It centres on five central questions we must ask ourselves if we want to write successful content. As these questions all begin with W, I call them the five Ws.
Why: the reason you do what you do in the first place. Remembering this will keep you motivated when your spirits are flagging.
What: We may think we know what we do, but it’s good to pin it down. Think of what you do in terms of how it benefits the people who will buy from you. What is brilliant about your books?
Who: Think of the people who will buy your books. Draw up a profile of them: how old they are, what they like to do in their spare time, what books or articles they like to read.
Where: Identify the best places to reach those people, through social media, websites or offline outlets.
When: How often will you write content? Scheduling your content will ensure you write it consistently and that it won’t fall down the list of priorities.
I then applied the five Ws to the series of four posts. Two of them are available from How Great Marketing Works, and I’ve linked to those. And you can look forward to the other two in the coming weeks.
How to Build a Great Content Writing Strategy: This was an introduction post outlining the five Ws and how to apply them to any content you write.
How to Write Great Media Content: This post shows you how to use the five Ws to create newsworthy press releases that will make journalists sit up and take notice.
How to Write Great Content for Your Website: This post shows you how to fit the five Ws to different pages on your website, so you can get your message across in your web content.
How to Write Blogs That People Will Want to Read: In this post, you’ll use the five Ws to create interesting web content and ensure it reaches the right people at the right time.
I’m delighted Finola Howard has given me this opportunity to write these blog posts. I’ll be clear that this is a professional arrangement, but on a personal level, I’ve found it beneficial. It’s helped me hone my content writing and selling bills, and also more aware of how I run my business. It’s helped me become more professional in my approach to my work.