By Chloé Payen
Whenever I speak to my best friend Geneviève – which happens to be daily – we tell each other stories. Yes, I hate to break it to you but girls gossip. Whenever we gossip, we want as much detail as possible. Personally, I always find myself wanting to know who is involved and when it happened. I feel like situating it in time helps me picture the story, making me wonder where I was at that moment even if it doesn’t involve me. As for knowing who is involved, it helps me picture faces, emotions and thoughts for deeper analysis – and potential criticizing. This is why if I had to choose the two most important questions to ask before getting into writing digital content I would go with “Who and when?”.
My idea is not to compare gossiping with digital content but they do have something in common: storytelling. Storytelling is an art and finding a creative way to tell a story is tough! Adding different media (video, image…) to a written piece can add value to the message but I think the words need to be compelling to begin with. In order to keep your audience hooked, you need to know who you are as a brand, what your voice is as well as your audience’s. It is like dating, in order for it to work, the two parties need to understand each other, have common interests. As interesting as the content may be, if it does not get through to the right audience, it will be a guaranteed hit and miss. If the audience engages with your content – by sharing or commenting on it for example, it means your brand is right on and the audience can relate. Congrats, this relationship might work out in the long run!
Studying Communications and specifically PR taught me that timing matters – relationships tend to act as a reminder as well. The moment a press release comes out can decide whether your news gets coverage or not.
If major news comes out the same day as your announcement, chances are yours will be ignored. I believe it to be the same for digital content. A great fictive example is one seen in class.
When asked to write a tweet about the launch of a new Tim Horton’s product – the fruit tea – we had to reflect on our audience. For example, I decided to target mothers who often spend countless hours at the rink. Hockey and Tim’s coffee go great together to the eyes of most Canadians (sponsored hockey programs, ads, sponsored events…). Therefore, it was proven to be a winning strategy that could easily be applied to a new market of tea drinkers. My tweet consisted of an image of a mother driving her son to the rink, holding a fruit tea, wearing a toque and mittens. In order to present this product to mothers, I had imagined that launching this product during winter made more sense for my audience to relate. The same announcement in the middle of July, when it’s hot and sunny outside, would probably not have impacted my target audience as much.
After much consideration, “Who?” and “When?” are the two questions I would prioritize when writing digital content. Let me point out though, that, all questions matter. Considering the “Where?”, “What?”, “Why?” and “How?” as well as the “Who and when?” is the only way to bring an idea to its full potential. Answering each of these questions in relation to each other is the only way to write compelling content. For instance, the “How?” is directly linked to the “Who?” because the tone and personality of your content will resonate with a certain audience. Another example: the “Where?” depends on the “Who?”– choosing the right platform demands research on your audience to make sure you reach it.
It’s time to get creative, start writing!