Question: What’s your problem?
Everyone has one. Whether we admit it or not.
Most of us that fire up our browsers and dig into the search engines, on a quest to find good information. Truth be told, if you are doing a search for an information product – you are looking to solve a real problem.
The problem may take a variety of forms: How To???….Where To???…When To?? What??? We’ll sift through hundreds of sites, bookmark, print and tag those sites that we believe offer the most value, or perhaps the answer our question as quickly and painlessly as possible. So, as internet marketeers it’s our duty to offer solutions in the form of good content. Good content gives real value… “stellar content” rocks the audience and keeps them coming back for more.
Unfortunately, as internet marketeers, one of our biggest problems is product or content development. Before we can be the “saving grace” for any potential customer, we have to come to terms with our own “pain” and our need to find a solution that works. It’s easy to simply declare ourselves experts in our respective area of interest. Its a lot smarter to get a handle on what the needs are and build a solution based on the need or demand.
I remember when I created my first website and E zine for technology and music enthusiasts. I started out with an unbridled passion for both subject areas. I hired a staff of writers, conducted interviews, set up a list of paid and “gratis” advertisers and created a full color pdf magazine. I was in publisher’s heaven! – Then, when my sales numbers fell short, the reality set in. I failed to ask the important questions…these fundamental questions that would have put my advertisers at ease, and offer my audience a ray of hope. I failed to ask the number one question most people fail to ask when they have
a bright idea( and a just enough resources to pull it off).
Next Question: What do you want????
I know I sound kinda cranky here. But this is it…. “What do you want?”… the magic question that kept eluding me. Why? Was it ego? My own creativity getting in the way? Did I operate in a vacuum or did I assume that my audience would just “get it “and support my efforts (whether my little product satisfied their needs or not.) Without a real snapshot of what my audience needed or wanted, I found myself constantly defining or re-defining my focus.
To save you all from any additional grief or pain, I’ve identified 3 key steps in the process of content development.
1. Identify your prospects real problems and needs.
Your assignment if you choose to accept it is to simply fill in the gap. Find out what the prospects really need or want. Don’t just copy what many of the internet marketeers have done, give yourself permission to come up with something fresh. This may become the start of a new relationship with a business partner. (Woot!!!)
* Survey your audience by asking questions and take copious notes. You can build relationships with your audience by sending out a simple online survey. It may seem a little scary to lead with a survey, but you invite your audience to participate in product development that is customized to suit their needs. You come out looking like a hero when you create a simple solution to the problem. (Yay you!)
* Survey other people’s audience. Research the competition and figure out what they are doing that works.
* Read testimonials and commentaries. These are little gems of wisdom and experience. Why not make it a point to actually read testimonials to see what people are thankful for and excited about. Real testimonials get to the heart of the matter and if you can hold back the tears you may find them to be a very valuable source of information, concepts and key works. What the user got out of the experience or product is
very good data.
2. Brainstorm possible solutions to a number of problems.
List topics drawn from your areas of expertise… or someone elses.
Its’ OK to toot your own horn here. Brainstorm a list of 25 things you can talk about off the top of your head with a measure of authority. If you have just drawn a blank here… never fear! Take a moment and type in “information products” in one of your favorite search engines. You’ll retrieve a list that will get your creative juices flowing.
OK so you’re not an expert in anything really? You are in luck. There are hundreds of topics that have been covered by information gurus. You can take a look at their titles and put your own spin on an existing concept. (Note. Never plagiarize an idea or program, but you can get inspired by some of what is out there and even give the original author or source credit. Cite sources as needed.
* Visit guru sites as well as the information product sites for examples of top internet information products.
3. Give them the SOLUTION – Develop Great Content.
Basically this is not your common “Make $$$ Money Secrets Online… blah blah blah.” Create content that will excite your specific audience and motivate them to press the “Share” button. Great content may be delivered in the FORM of a PDF, YouTube video, Facebook Fan page, email blast etc. but, it’s the content – the information, style, tone and voice that will capture the heart and mind of your audience.
Make your content a reflection of you. Bold – Impressive, Easy to Understand.
and effective, but design it to suit the wants and needs of your audience.
Great content does the following:
* Grabs the attention of the audience (ah ha moments all around
* Tells a story
* Clear, crisp and concise
* Shares your ideas (and reveals your passion/heart)
* Adds real value – affects the reader in some positive way
* Focused on the needs of your audience
There are hundreds maybe even thousands of people out there competing for your audience’s attention. Your content doesn’t have to be filled with capital words or exclamation points, but it should be memorable, and it should give the audience a reason to come back for more. If you are the solution provider you must design a solution that meets or exceed expectations.
To do this, you must simply give the audience what they want…then repeat.
Rock Your Content,