The Journalist's Secret to Adding a Creative "Spin" to Any Product or Service
NOTE: This a Collective Inkwell guest post, written by Sherice Jacob of ielectrify.
You might not think of journalists as creative — after all, they’re conditioned to report “just the facts.” But their approach to doing just that has some interesting points to help anyone become a more creative writer.
If you’ve ever written a report in school (and who hasn’t?) – you’re taught from the very beginning to examine the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of the topic. You may be thinking “My product doesn’t have a WHERE” or “My Service doesn’t have a WHEN”, but bear with me – because you’re about to see some fresh new angles that will jumpstart anyone’s creative gears!
The WHO – Beyond your musical tastes, the WHO goes well beyond the maker of the product or service. Who will use it? Who won’t? Who needs to know about it? Who doesn’t? The who part of your question helps you narrow down your specific audience when coming up with creative solutions.
The WHAT – Possibly the hardest one to tackle, the WHAT part of your solution centers on the problem. What is it about this obstacle that makes it so difficult? What can we do about it? What is out of our control? What could go wrong? What could go right? This question forces you to examine the current and future status of the problem so that you can break free from the common complaints that are holding you back.
The WHERE – This isn’t just about location, but its effect on the product or service. Where will this be sold/shared? Is there anywhere else that could work just as well? Where have my competitors sold/shared a similar item? Does the location affect the brand or how the product/problem is perceived?
The WHEN – This is all about timing. When did (or will) this problem happen? What will happen if we speed things up or slow them down? When will you know the time is right to launch?
The WHY – This is the question that most often leads to other questions (and some very creative answers!) Much like the 4 year old who constantly asks WHY?! It’s about breaking down what seems to be the simplest explanation into more manageable parts. Why does your product or service exist? Why should people know about it? Why sell it the way you’re currently trying to? Why choose that location or timeframe? Why did you come up against this problem in the first place?
The HOW – Here’s where the real solutions come from. Once you’ve nailed down all the W’s, it’s time to take a closer look at the answers. How do you describe your product or service? How could you prevent problems from happening next time? How can you be even better? How did you come up with it to start with? How can it be improved on? How are other products different?
It’s a lot of questions, but even things that are crystal clear to you may be overwhelmingly difficult to your customers or users. Take the time to ask yourself these same questions so that no matter what you’re up against, you can always tap into your creative reservoir to come up with simpler facts that help you sell.