6 Words to Create Great Content

I was thinking about Content and how to express am easy to understand and easy to follow Content Strategy when I came to the HBR.org marketing piece on Content Creation strategy. From that came my 6 Words to create great content.


“To help shape my content strategy, I go back to a Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 poem “The Elephant’s Child”:

I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

We can use Kipling’s “serving men” to kickstart a content strategy too. While all of the five Ws (and one H) merit attention, focusing on why, who, and what is a solid foundation. It also helps us ensure that our content is both business centric and customer aware.

Why — As Simon Sinek says, we have to “start with why.” Your reason for doing something.

Before you do something always ask yourself Why you are doing it


When it comes to your content strategy, your why is your business objective. Why you’re doing this. This is the “business centric” part of creating good content.

Content marketing can accomplish one of six business objectives — branding, community building, public relations, customer service, and lead/sales generation. Simply pick one of these objectives and use it as an anchor as you answer Kipling’s other questions.


Who — With “business centric” covered we now need to make sure that our content is also “customer aware.” Good content has to solve problems for our audience. It needs to serve a need in their lives.

Who Benefits? Who is this For?

Who Benefits

Start by asking yourself who the audience is that you’re serving? With a target segment in place, really kick the tires. Have you been specific enough? Do you need to go deeper? With that nailed down, start fleshing out who they are and what’s important to them. Include quantitative demographics as well as qualitative psychographics.




What — Finally, based on your business objective (the why) and who your audience is, how can you create content that’s of service to both? What form of content works best?  What Is This About? What is This For

It’s about creating the content that’s right for your brand and that serves your customers. We need to get more prescriptive with content strategy in way that focuses on fit. Forget what everyone else is doing — what’s best for your brand?

Why, who, and what provide a simple yet solid foundation for a strategic framework” See the whole article here https://hbr.org/2016/05/your-content-marketing-strategy-doesnt-have-to-be-complicated

While their style is very formalistic the questions they pose are good ones, and relevant to any content you create:

1) Why are you creating any content in the first place?

Before you do something always ask yourself Why you are doing it


Now in simpler English I think there are two reasons:
1. is to help you and your content get found by your potential “tribe” using the search engines
2. is to help you clarify for your “tribe” who you are and what you offer to them.

We’ll talk about Search engines in another topic but the key “why” for me is to clearly demonstrate for my tribe who I am and what they can count on me for.

You see when you market on the internet you market to people, most of whom are not going to meet you in person, and if you market as your brand you want the brand to be the one they consider following. So it is only through your internet content that they can come to know about you and/or your brand.

So as you create content think what is is that you want people to know about you and your brand and to think about you and your brand.

2) What is clearly about the content of the content?What Is This About? What is This For

If you market widgets then you need to talk about your widgets; what they are and what they do for the user.
You also need to think about what form to put the content in… perhaps you want to do a demonstration in which case you need a video, maybe images will do, an image after all is worth 1000 words. But maybe several images are required.
“What” is definitely about communication what form and what words best communicate fully to your “tribe” the reason they want and need your widget. Remember wants will almost always trump needs, but you may want to consult Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, as certain needs are paramount and when they are the need becomes a want and even a burning desire.

3) Who now this is clearly your tribe and it is critical that you know them as if they were your own children. the more you know about them the more you know what are their burning needs/wants.

Who Benefits? Who is this For?

Who Benefits

Once you understand that then you can prepare your content to express how your widget, which can be an information product or a physical product or a service, can fulfill that need or want or desire.
Try to reach them on an emotional level as it is the emotions that cause cause people to act.





4) When is the next question.  The truth is that most people act out of urgent current need/want. So you need to give them a reason to act now.

When? NOW! Forget Delayed Gratification Action has to be Now!

When? NOW!

People tend to put everything off, with the best of intentions, but you may not be in their thoughts when the want/need becomes urgent.
Of course thanks to our ability to retarget we can stay in the thoughts and minds of our tribe or perhaps you have put them into a group or gotten them to become rabid fans on Facebook, all of which can help ensure that when the want/need become urgent they think of you.

But out of an abundance of cution the When, in your mind that you implant into that of your tribe needs to be NOW. Give them valuable reasons that they need to act now. You won’t persuade everyone but you will persuade some and if you do it well enough you will be well rewarded.

5) Where is the next good serving man and it depends a lot on what you are offering both the form and the content.

Where is it? Where is it happening?

Where is it?

If it is a digital product it may well be a simple download that they can access immediately.

If it is a physical product then you need to be really clear about where they are going to be able to access it. Will it be shipped to them, do they need to come to our store to get it, is it going to be presented at an event, in which case bohu the timing and the location are essential content that needs to be conveyed.

If it is a service then where it will be delivered or what they must do to access it must be clearly conveyed.

You can see that a big part of where may be timing as well as there may be a specified time as well as a specified location where it will be available.

6) How is our final question but How sort of permeates several of the other questions as How it will benefit your tribe must be clearly conveyed as is the How they can access it, and finally How they use it to fullest benefit.

How Can I Use This to get the Results I want?

HOW is always Present

How to get a result that they badly want is the main concern of your tribe and should be a big part of your thought process in generating any content.

How is what I am about to offer going to impact my tribe and is it an impact that they badly want? This should be your first thought and you should figure out a way to make sure that any offer you make fits into this question in a positive way.

Your tribe is only going to exchange their money for your widget if they see it is going to deliver the benefit they want/need badly, in other words have the impact on their lives, that they badly want/need.

May these 6 serving men, What Why When Who Where and How serve you well in your content creation.

Remember every word you say or write is content. Consider if that content is having the desired impact on your tribe(s).  Is your content causing your tribe to get to know you , like you, trust you and see you as a valued provider, or advisor in their lives?

Let me know in the comments how you’ve been able to use these 6 words in your content.  Have they helped you?

About the Author

Mary Sloane

Mary has been blogging and helping people online for well over 4 years. Her passion is empowering others to be all they can be, so they can make the difference they were intended to make. Mary is also very concerned about our world which is awash in debt, which will ultimately overwhelm and destroy our way of being. If you'd like to join me in my quest to change this situation one gold saver at a time check out http://gettingpaidingold.com

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Lydia Brown

The old Who, What, Where, when, and How one of the early things we learned in school. How can we forget but in writing I find myself doing so. It’s like a checklist to review before I post. The “Why” is the hardest thing I learned since working from home online. First I was clueless then I had to define what that “why” really was. What that part became truly clear things began to change because my motivation was way up there. Thanks for this post.
Lydia Brown recently posted…How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From AddictionMy Profile

    Mary Sloane

    Tried and True Lydia

    Your personal why is critical I too have struggled and have been sort of going through the motions but now I am on fire
    with my mission to help people grow and keep their wealth int and through their golden years

    Always good when you’re telling a story to keep the 6 key questions in mind

    Thanks for visiting

    To Great Success


Deborah A. Ten Brink

All good points you cover here, Mary.

How can we reach our target audience and assist them if we don’t know who they are? What will get us out of bed each morning, willing and ready to serve, if we don’t know why we’re doing it?

I like to make it a win-win all around, Mary!

As a blogger, our needs and goals are met, and our blog visitors get what they came for. 🙂

Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted…Mission Statement For Clarity And FocusMy Profile

    Mary Sloane

    Thanks Deborah

    I certainly agree win win all around is the way to go.

    Asking the right questions can really help us create that win-win

    To great success


Joy Healey

Hi Mary,
Interesting how the old school concepts still translate well into the online business world.

I know I still need to work on my “Who” to target my ideal customer. The others are very important too!

Thanks for reminding us of an excellent way to structure content.

Joy – Blogging After Dark

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