Writing a white paper or an e-book, or preparing materials for a webinar is always easier if you follow Stephen Covey's famous advice to "begin with the end in mind." This means that it's important to make some basic decisions about the content asset you're creating early in the development process.
The starting point, of course, is to define the general topic that the asset will address, determine what format will be used for the asset (a white paper, e-book, etc.), and specify the approximate length of the asset (in words, pages, minutes, etc.). However, it's important to go beyond these basic attributes. There are three specific questions that I always want to answer early in any content development project.
- What are the primary objectives for the content asset, both for the "consumer" and for the content provider?
- Who is the primary target audience for the asset? What are the characteristics of the "ideal" reader/viewer/listener?
- What are the major themes that will appear in the asset? What will the main points of the "storyline" be?
To make sure that I've answered these questions and to give me a reference to use throughout the content creation process, I use a tool called a Content Resource Brief. This one-page document is designed to capture the intended objectives, target audience, and major themes for a new content asset. The version that I use for most content development projects is shown below.
If you'd like a PDF of this tool, please send me an e-mail at ddodd(at)pointbalance(dot)com.