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This post was anonymously written as part of Blog Secret Santa. There’s a list of all Secret Santa posts, including one written by me, on Santa’s list of 2013 gift posts.

How what when why where who is my favourite model for any strategy or planning. This can be applied to anything, at both the strategy and tactical levels. Hilary uses this as her definition of content strategy and it is equally applicable to planning some specific copy.

This article lays out each part of the model to help fill any planning gaps.


Why is the gatekeeper. Nothing happens unless the gatekeeper is satisfied. It starts with a measurable business purpose. Each following section needs to help meet that purpose.

Some examples of purpose for content include brand awareness, brand positioning, customer retention, or revenue generation.


Who is the actor. The actors are the people that will respond to the ‘what’ to achieve the business purpose. With content this is usually referred to as the audience, but could also be the user, customer or association member.


What is the deliverable. This is the activity, content, technology, or whatever that the actor will respond to the achieve the business purpose. Plans need to include the all parts of the deliverable. For content parts of the deliverable could include success metrics, content guidelines, brand guidelines, and technical requirements, to name a few.


How is the methodologies, processes, technologies, and governance that will be involved with producing the deliverable to meet the business purpose.

In content strategy this includes the editorial workflow, risk management, publishing methods and frameworks, measurements.

Who #2

Once the ‘how’ is defined the producers can be named. The producers are the people involved in the process of producing the deliverable. This includes content creators, project managers, management, content owners, risk managers.


Where is the vehicle. This is the method for bringing the deliverable to the actor. For content this could be a website, blog, support documentation, or educational material.

Included in ‘where’ is the tactic for making the audience aware of the content, which may be further content like social media, email newsletters, or changes to website components.


When is the timing for all activities and deliverables. This includes deadlines, timeframes, life-cycles, and frequencies of repeated tasks. ‘When’ is crucial for managing resources and budgeting costs.

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