Have you ever had a conversation with a 7 year old?
They never run out of questions.
When you answer one, ten more pop up.
But when you write content, you run out of ideas. Why do you think that is?
It’s because you forget to tap into that brain of yours. You forget to leverage the knowledge you already possess.
And more importantly, the knowledge you have right at your fingertips.
Let me explain.
The Problem Isn’t a Lack of Ideas
You have plenty of ideas.
The problem is that you fail to break apart and really dive into the ideas that you have.
You’re soaring up in generalities, and you aren’t giving your readers and customers specific, actionable information they can use right now.
So, how do you get out of this vicious cycle?
The first step is to talk to a customer.
Step 1: Find a Customer You Like
The best way is to get on the phone with a customer.
If that isn’t possible, email them.
And if that doesn’t work, then go through old emails and conversations you’ve had with them, and take notes.
The reason you’re looking for a customer you like is because you want to attract more customers like that.
And you can do that by focusing in on what they need help with. It will free you from trying to come up with content ideas, because you can just ask.
In future sales calls or conversations with customers, you can throw in questions like, “What do you struggle with most right now?”
Surveys work, too. But keep them short.
Then take notes, because the answer to that can be made into dozens of articles, podcasts and videos.
But let’s say you do get on the phone with a customer. What do you ask them?
Step 2: Interview Them
Here are a few examples of questions you could ask:
- What’s your biggest problem right now?
- What specifically about that bugs you?
- Why did you decide to buy from me?
- What problem did my product/service solve?
- What problem did my product/service NOT solve that you wish it did?
- Is there one piece of content you’d like to see that we haven’t covered?
- What steps did you have to go through to solve your problem?
To make this concrete, let’s take an example from my own business, where a conversation might go something like this:
Me: What’s your biggest problem right now?
Client: I don’t know how to start building my email list.
Me: Could you elaborate on that? What specifically is it that you’re struggling with?
Client: Well, where do I put the sign-up form? How do I get people to sign-up without attracting freebie seekers? What do I write once they’re signed up? Will I have to keep writing every day or at what frequency should I produce content? And will I have to separate my newsletter content from my blog?
Henri: Great questions. I’m curious, could you tell me more about the problem you have with getting people to sign-up to your email list?
Client: Okay, so I don’t know if I should give away an ebook, podcast, or video. Should I even give away something, I know some people don’t? If I do, how long should it be? How do I find the intersection between getting people interested while also keeping it relevant for my business, so I can get more sales?
Are you starting to see how many ideas we have just from that short conversation?
It doesn’t stop there. We haven’t even drilled down, which is where this gets fun.
Step 3: Drill Down
Drilling down is simply diving into one specific topic.
Let’s say you wanted to write an article on how to craft the perfect email list incentive. The outline might look something like this:
Headline: How to Craft the Perfect Email List Incentive
The Problem With Most Incentives
How to Craft the Perfect Incentive
The Biggest Mistake You Can Make
To drill down, all you have to do is pick one sub-topic from the outline above and make it into its own article, so let’s pick the biggest mistake. Here’s the outline:
Headline: The Biggest Mistake Businesses Make With Their Email List Incentive
Why an Incentive is Crucial for Sales
The Biggest Mistake
You could drill down even further by yet again taking another sub-topic, such as creating an article just focusing on examples of great incentives.
But I won’t do that here, because I think you see where I’m going with this.
Can you see how just one idea can spark dozens of articles?
How many content ideas would you have if you took one conversation with a customer and broke down all of those ideas?
But there’s a problem, isn’t there?
Doesn’t This Take Too Much Time?
Anything that isn’t a priority always takes too much time.
You alone have to decide whether creating great content for your business is worth it.
You don’t have to spend extra time to interview customers. You can blend in questions during regular conversations, such as sales calls, emails, or even coaching sessions.
You could even set-up an automatic feedback loop on your blog or email list, where you get people to fill out a 60-second survey.
The possibilities are endless.
You see, you have plenty of ideas.
If you think back to interactions with customers, I’m sure you can come up with many common objections and frustrations.
These frustrations are the foundation for your content.
Your content should bring value to your customers, but it can also be used strategically to remove objections and make it easier for prospects to become customers.
Today’s Micro Action
Think about what one thing you can take from this article and use in your business.
Do it now.
Then write it down.