Case study 1: Matching angle with user story

Archery is a sport in which it’s difficult to visualise the minute actions that make the sport so precise, so critical and so physically and mentally demanding.

A lot of the content that World Archery creates is designed to break down the barrier between the audience and their understanding of the sport. That ranges from demonstrating the relative size of the target to the athlete – which is severely misrepresented in broadcast of competition – to finding accessible comparisons between archery and everyday life.

Some of this content is more successful than others.

It works best when this content is packaged behind an angle that not only adds interest and value, but makes the subject matter reusable.

For example, writing five articles that compare object to the size of the target would be repetitive.

But finding five angles for articles that include comparisons for the size of the target reuses the same subject, reinforcing the important messaging and adding value to the content.

  • User story: As a casual fan I should understand the principle of repetition in archery so that I can appreciate athletes in competition
  • Angle: A world number one has a very visual tick to his routine

Kim Woojin, one of the best archers in history, touches his glasses before he shoots every arrow.

In reality, it’s not physically an essential part of his technique – but the fact he has made it part of his routine speaks volumes about how important performing identically each time is in the sport of archery.

The angle of the video is something quirky, unique and interesting, at least to the audience of casual archery fans at which it is directed. The subject of repetition and consistency is hidden inside.

5 steps to producing good content

If you have nothing to say, then shut up.

The internet is full of crap. Newspapers, magazines and other paper-based publications were also full of crap, previously, but nowadays it’s far more available and far more prevalent. These five steps prevent you from adding to the white noise.

The principles apply to all kinds of content – including social media messaging, photography and videos – not just written articles.

1. Identify a question

Every piece of content is an answer. To avoid splurging words like a penned-in politician, write the question first. If you don’t have a question, an answer isn’t necessary – and if an answer is necessary, you’ll know whether you’ve answered the question.

Example: How do I write content that isn’t shit?

2. Describe the audience

Who’s asking the question? The answer will change dependent on the niche you’re speaking to. No answer has more than one audience, although it may be useful or interesting for a group that you didn’t intend.

Example: Audience is content producers looking to improve.

3. Set a goal

A realistic outcome from your piece – and not something generic, but an attainable achievement given the question and the audience you’ve already picked. Other, secondary outcomes might come to fruition, but the only one you’re interested in is the goal you’re highlighting right now.

Example: Explain the concept of user stories.

4. Write a user story

Put the above three three items into one sentence, using the following formula: As an (audience) I should know about (goal) so that (question).

Example: As a content producer I should know about user stories so I produce less shit content

5. Use it

Write your user story at the top of the page, on a post-it on your desk or on the back of your hand, and no matter what twists and turns your piece of content – be it written, video or anything else – takes, you’ll be creating something to answer a specific question, for a specific audience and with a specific outcome in mind.