Killer Content Marketing: How to Use the 5 W’s (and H) Like a Pro

The 5 W's of content marketing with Hubspot

Drums, please for our blog guest today: Hubspot! Hubspot offers a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software to support businesses to grow and deliver great customer experiences.  128,000+ customers in over 120 countries have been using Hubspot, among which: Suzuki, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Soundcloud. Tony Minh Do, Associate Marketing Manager in Hubspot is going to explain to us how we can deploy a successful marketing strategy for a website by using the 5W’s. Let’s roll!

 

A whopping 82% of marketers actively used content marketing tactics in 2021. It’s no secret that content marketing effectively boosts brand awareness, drives sales, and increases engagement with your target audience. 

But with more marketers jumping on the content marketing train each year, how do you stay competitive? 

The key lies in the quality of your content, not the quantity. 

You can post three articles a week and multiple social media stories every day, and you still won’t get the results you want if you aren’t providing value to your audience. 

Still, many brands put all of their faith in quantity. That’s because they don’t have a straightforward process that helps them create content that provides real value to people. 

But not you. You’re here, which means you know that quality is the most critical part of your content marketing efforts

Keep reading to discover how you can use the 5 W’s and H framework to ensure that all of your content resonates with your audience.

 

What Are the 5 W’s?

The 5 W’s and H are the essential questions you should ask yourself if you want to create content that your audience will love. The questions are: who, what, when, where, why, and how. By answering these questions, you better understand your audience and what they want to create content that provides real value.

Once you learn to create value for your audience consistently, you’ll keep them coming back. 

These six questions are a powerful tool you can use in all aspects of your marketing strategy, from blog posts and videos to your email campaigns and website layout.

Let’s dive in.

 

Who

The first thing you need to know is: 

  • Who am I creating this for? 
  • Who will benefit from this content?
  • Which segment of my audience am I targeting? 

To understand your audience better, create a standard buyer persona for your typical customer, and take time to outline their interests, behaviors, and habits. 

If you don’t know enough to create a persona, there are several ways you can learn more about your customers, including: 

  • Surveys – Use surveys to gather customer feedback.
  • Interviews – Chat with customers to learn more about their interests and buying behavior.
  • Help desk chats – Review your customer service requests or support tickets to see what kinds of questions your customers ask and where they need help. 

Building customer relationships is an essential part of your business model. When you engage with your audience, you learn more about what they need from your content, and you build a strong foundation of trust with your brand. 

 

​​Screenshot of a customer discovery survey on TripAdvisor.com

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If you haven’t started implementing information-gathering tools, it’s not too late to integrate them into your website and customer interactions.

Besides understanding who will benefit from your content, you need to decide who will create the content. That is your internal stakeholder. 

Based on your knowledge of customer needs and habits, who has the skills and expertise to create high-quality content efficiently?

It may be more effective for small businesses without a large marketing team to outsource content creation to an expert freelancer. It all depends on your team’s capacity to turn around content.

Identifying your internal and external stakeholders will help you narrow down answers to the rest of the questions on this list.

 

What 

Like the “Who” question, your “What” question has an internal and an external element. 

Internally, you need to define your objective and what you want to get out of the content piece. Then, choose relevant metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), to measure success. 

Here are some common objectives and the digital marketing metrics you can use with them: 

  • Increased engagement – likes, shares, email opens, link clicks, time on page
  • Drive traffic to your website – link clicks, website visitors, search engine ranking
  • Maximize sales – purchases, average cart value
  • Improve retention/customer experience – customer ratings, repeat purchase, subscription renewal

In addition to your internal goal, you must also know what your audience wants to get from your content. What’s the specific value your content piece offers? 

Potential customers engage with your content for several reasons, such as learning a new skill, finding a solution to a problem, or completing a task. Knowing your customer’s goal helps you understand what to include and which content type best suits their needs. 

Let’s look at an example:

Quickbooks offers a suite of accounting products, and some of them are targeted at freelancers. Here’s how they might tailor their content based on what that audience needs:

  • Learning a new skill – Article on how to file taxes as a freelancer
  • Solving a problem – Tutorial video demonstrating how to use Quickbooks for freelancers
  • Completing a task – Customer invoice templates for freelancersScreenshot of Quickbooks Self-Employed tutorials

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As you can see, the answers to each question begin to build on one another. 

 

When

Now that you know who you’re creating for and what format your content will take, it’s time to set a timeline

First, ask yourself how long it will take to create the content and what’s a reasonable timeframe for getting it done. 

Then, to help set priority, consider how the publishing time affects your customer’s value. 

Is this problem urgent for your audience? Is there seasonality involved? When does your audience need the solution? 

Some types of content are only valuable if they’re delivered on time, while others can be more evergreen. Examples of seasonal content include back-to-school shopping guides, holiday recipes, and tax tutorials.

Halloween Instagram post from Pillsbury 

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Where

In addition to deciding what kind of content to create, you’ll need to choose where to share it. 

In technical terms, what’s the best marketing channel for your target audience? 

You want to deliver your content on the channels that receive the most engagement. That’s why it’s essential to understand your audience’s behaviors and habits in the first question. 

Email marketing newsletters are an excellent way to deliver helpful content to your existing customers and subscribers. Plus, drag and drop email builders make it easy for you to create engaging newsletters for all types of content, including video. Screenshot of HubSpot drag and drop email builder

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You can also automate emails so that customers receive them at precisely the right time. If you sell software or SaaS products, you can use email automation to welcome new customers and deliver tutorial videos right after they sign up.

Reviewing your internal goals for the content can help you choose your channel too. For example, if your goal is increased engagement and your KPIs are likes and shares, you should share your content on social media. 

 

Why

And finally, the last of the W’s  —  “Why?” Why does this content matter to you? 

Start by ensuring that every piece of content you create has a clear mission. Ultimately, your content strategy should align with your overall marketing goals and business model. 

Then, consider your customer and see if you can answer the question, “Why does my customer want this content?” What’s the big picture? 

Maybe your customer wants to improve their business by increasing their customer base or enhancing their marketing strategy. 

Or, your customer could have more tangible results-driven goals such as increasing web traffic or maximizing revenue. 

Kinsta video tutorial for How to use SEO to Increase Website Traffic

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Tying your mission to your customers’ why helps you create content that goes beyond solving a problem or teaching a skill; it resonates deeply.  

 

How

Now it’s time to put it all together. 

With your new information, develop a content marketing plan that incorporates the 5 W questions:

  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • What do they want?
  • When do they need it?
  • Where should I provide the solution?
  • Why is it important? 

Creating the right solution depends on your internal (your business) and external (your customer) stakeholder needs. There’s no “one size fits all” solution that works for every business.Screenshot of HubSpot marketing business templates 

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You may even find that you need different approaches for the various segments of your customer base. Try starting with a general template of your content type and then personalizing it to maximize engagement from your target buyer persona.  

 

Final Thoughts: Mastering the 5 W’s (and H) for Killer Content Marketing

Let’s face it. When it comes to content creation, the options are endless. Without a set process, it’s easy to feel like you’re taking a shot in the dark every time you try to figure out what type of content to create next. 

Delivering the best answers starts with asking the right questions.

The 5 W’s of marketing help paint a picture of your audience and how your content creates value for them. The questions also help you consider your business goals. 

All of this information lets you narrow down your choices until you have an effective plan that delivers value for your customers and your business. 

 

Tony Minh Do
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Tony Minh Do is an Associate Marketing Manager and Marketing Specialist at HubSpot. Currently, his focus is on growing and developing SaaS companies through SEO, link building, and influencer marketing as a part of HubSpot's global marketing strategy