From blank box to killer content


Email planning for an email campaign can often start as a blank box on a send calendar or launch schedule. But how do you ensure that you can put the reader back into the heart of the content? Here we look at 3 proven methods to move from planning to customer-centric delivery.

“OK great – that looks like we have an email channel plan” As all eyes turn to a sequence of boxes, decision trees, and timings mapped out.

And then a voice from the back of the room asks “so what are we actually going to say in each of these emails?” And the room goes quiet….

Ever got to that stage in planning, where you’re simply not sure what content to create? Well, here are three well-tested planning tools to help you avoid ever reaching this moment.


Silly name, great framework. This helps you articulate the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your business -- and your message.

DIFFERENTIATE – your product or service. What sets you apart from the crowd?

REINFORCE – your brand message. Why consider doing business with you?

INFORM – create awareness. How can you help and what will the experience be like?

PERSUADE – take action. What does the reader need to do next to progress this transaction?

This approach to creating your message works really well when you’re focussed on segments. What of all your key brand components is of most relevance at this moment in time to this audience?

It also ensures that you’re focussing on what’s in this for the reader, as you’re creating from their perspective, not yours.


A personal favourite of mine. This approach really helps move you from planning to delivery.

KNOW: What do you want the audience to know or learn?

THINK: What do you want the audience to think?

FEEL: What emotion do you want to evoke. How do you want your audience to feel?

DO: What action to you want the audience to take?

Part of the reason I find this approach so useful is that it highlights the need to consider the emotion of your marketing content, something many marketers miss or feel uncomfortable dialling up as an element of the output.

Why is this so important? Well 90% of decisions are based on emotion. We then use logic to justify these actions. So how an email makes us feel is a key element to the success of that marketing.

Here’s an example of how this framework can be used when creating a planning document. In this case, for a hotel and leisure client.

KTFD example


Given that email is an action-based channel, most often the content is trying to influence a behaviour. Helping a reader to reach a decision that is mutually beneficial is a key need.

The EAST model defines four simple principles and was created from a large body of evidence on what influences behaviour, curated by the UK government advisory body ‘The Behavioural Insights Team.’

If you want to encourage a behaviour, make it:






A clear focus on what you want to achieve really helps frame the content you need to create. Putting the reader at the centre of the considerations makes this a really powerful approach to creating your content.

Using any or all of these approaches to create your content will move you from planning to delivery in a way that will connect with your reader, helping you with these 5 key considerations:

  1. Put the reader first: is the content relevant to your customers’ needs, wants desires
  2. What’s the point: never produce content for the sake of it. Each reader needs to come away with something to think about, feel, or do from any communication they see from you
  3. Be human: make the message heart-felt (the emotional, social, and human connection)
  4. Is it easy to understand: simple, succinct, and clear content means it’s easy to absorb at speed
  5. Show, don’t tell: how will using our product or service make a difference or impact

So next time you’re facing that blank screen at the start of the email creation process – reach for one of these planning approaches and enjoy the process. What other channel gives you this kind of connection opportunity?

ashley west edwards AjcVTjCz310 unsplash 600Photo by Ashley West Edwards on Unsplash