By now, it’s pretty clear that knowing how to develop content is pretty vital for just about any business. But how can a small business owner develop content that really matters to customers?
After all, there isn’t a lot of profit in taking shots in the dark. You really need a way to tap into that “wow” factor.
Fortunately, there are several easy ways to accomplish this goal.
Do a Little Digging
In a previous post I talked about using Yahoo! Answers and LinkedIn Answers to find out what your target market is thinking about.
Some things have changed since that post. LinkedIn Answers went away, for example (though LinkedIn Groups now serves the same basic function).
You can dig elsewhere, too. Forums that cater to your target niche are a great place to see what people are asking about. So are blogs. You can just look right in the blog comments to determine what people are struggling with.
Listen While They’re There
Every business has a group of about 20 questions that customers ask again and again. 18 of those questions probably have both a “long answer” and a “short answer.”
Deliver the short answers in person (that’s probably what’s already happening). Turn the long answers into blog posts.
You might even save your staff a little bit of time, which never hurts.
See What’s Trending
Sometimes, it’s all about the latest and greatest. You can also build relationships by pointing people towards other people’s blog content.
But it’s pretty easy to lose yourself in a content sea.
I recommend following blogs and Google alerts through Feedly. You can separate content by category or search term and get a look at the current state of your industry in a matter of minutes.
This is nice, because it lets you come up with content that’s a bit more insightful and in-depth. “What is a Widget?” posts have their place, but “My Analysis of the Latest Widget Development Featured in Widget Crunch” is actually capable of driving a conversation.
Watch Your Analytics
Search terms that constantly appear in your Google analytics tells you something about the kinds of problems that people are trying to solve by coming to your business.
Sometimes, the queries will be vague or strange. Other times, you’ll get long tail keywords that are nothing more than a question begging for an answer.
It’s Still a Guessing Game
All of these methods really only produce educated guesses about content development. It’s important to realize that any post you create is going to be something of a guess.
And that’s okay. Because a website should never be all about a single piece of content.
A website is a total content package, built up slowly over time.