You write a lot.
Naturally, you run out ideas.
But why do you write posts?
What’s the goal of each post?
Your goal is to make each post benefit the reader in some way. This could be by entertaining them, informing them, or by teaching them.
If it’s benefit you’re after, isn’t it better to solve problems they already have? You don’t always have to spend your time trying to come up with ideas to blog about. It’s hard to make some random idea you came up with interesting to your readers. Figure out what they want and write about something they already crave.
Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spas decided to do exactly that and provide solutions to his audience’s problems in a post. His company went from spending over $250,000 a month on advertising and over drawing from the bank to making $1.7 million in sales from the first post alone. Even New York Times had to talk about him.
He wrote a post solving a problem his audience had and it spread like wildfire.
Don’t waste time tying to come up with things your readers might be interested in.
It’s like trying to attract bees to something you think they might be interested in, like a cheesecake or a hot dog. Just figure out that they want honey, and give them honey.
Don’t make this harder on yourself than it has to be. Not only is trying to come up with ideas a painful process, it’s also a lot less effective. Solve your readers’ problems and answer questions they can’t seem to figure out. This will benefit your readers more and attract people to your blog.
So, how do you find out what your audience wants? What are their problems and questions? What’s their honey?
1. Use Google To Find Out What’s Bothering People
What’s the first thing people do when they have a question? They look it up on Google. Use this to your advantage.
Step 1. Go to the Google Keyword Tool and Log in. If you don’t log in, you’ll see the older version of the page that’s slightly different, but you can still use it in pretty much the same way. Once you Log in, click on “Search for keyword and ad group ideas“.
Step 2. Type in your niche or a broad topic from your niche under “Your Product or Service” and click “Get Ideas“.
Step 3. The “Ad group ideas” alone should give you insight into what problems your niche is facing but click on keyword ideas so you can look for more specific questions.
Step 4. Arrange them by “Average monthly searches“.
Step 5. Look for keywords that are three or more words long. These usually indicate a problem.
Step 6. These keywords should give you insight into the problems people have. Here’re a few possible questions (in posts) that you can answer from these keywords:
- Why Should I Consider A Raised Garden Bed?
- How To Build Raised Garden Beds
- What To Look For In Square Foot Garden
- What Makes A Good Raised Garden Bed
2. Find What People Are Complaining About On Forums And Online Groups
If you spend time on forums and online groups in your niche, you’ll probably notice that people ask a lot of questions. If one person has a question and it bothers him badly enough to ask about it, chances are other people have same question as well.
Take advantage of this fact. Look at what questions people want the answers to. An added bonus to this method is that the second you write about it, you can go ahead answer the question in the forum with a link to your post.
Find a forum in your niche, browse people’s posts and look for questions. Here’s an example from Warrior Forum in the marketing niche. Notice how many of the posts are questions. If any of them fall within the bounds of what your blog is about, answer them.
Groups on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can be used in the same way. Find groups that are relevant to your niche and take a look at the questions people are asking and the problems they are running into.
3. Use SeoGadget’s Content Strategy Generation Tool
There’re a lot of places you can go to if you want to look for questions, but doing all of this takes time. This is where the Content Strategy Generator Tool (CSGT) by Daniel Butler of SEOgadget comes in.
This is one epic tool and a huge time saver. You type in a keyword into the tool and it searches a massive list of news sites, social media sites, content aggregators, and Q and A sites for related content. Here’s a break down of the huge list:
- News and Discussion sites – Google Discussions, Google News & Bing News.
- Social Media – Digg, Reddit, Youtube, Topsy Latest Tweets, Topsy Latest Top Trending Tweets, Twittorati Search, All Things Now.
- Q and A sites – Yahoo Answers, Wiki Answers, How Stuff Works.
- Content Aggregators – Blog Catalog, Fark, Redux, Helium, Cracked.
It takes all the data and breaks it down so it’s easier for you to digest. The data from the news sites is broken down into Title, Who and When and Description.
It also order’s questions from Yahoo Answers, Wiki Answers and How Stuff Works by most answered. Start here. Look at what the biggest questions are. You’ll generally find something worth writing about here, but if not, move on to the rest of the sections. A lot of the data from other sources are questions in disguise. They hint at what people are having problems with.
Go get the tool here. It’ll make your life a lot simpler and save you time. When you get the tool it’ll be in view only mode.
To change this, you have to make a copy. Log into your Gmail account. Go to File and click make a copy.
This window should come up and ask you what you want to call the copy. Type a name in and click save.
You can now use the tool to look for problems in your niche. Enter a generic term in cell B3 and look for what to write your next post about.
4. Ask Your Followers
Take advantage of your Twitter and Facebook following. Once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to just ask. If you don’t have a large following, go to Forums and Facebook groups and post a question there. Ask them what they’re struggling with.
- What are some problems you ran into this week?
- What is your biggest hurdle in accomplishing ____?
- What’s a problem that keeps bothering you?
5. Tap Into The Power Of Quora
What better place to find people asking questions than on Q and A sites?
Quora is a popular site for asking questions and you shouldn’t have any problems finding some. The only exception to this might be is if your niche is extremely small.
Step 1. Head over to Quora and type in your niche or broad topic from your niche. Quora will give you all the questions people had about your topic. Here’s what it would look like if you’re looking to write to Breaking Bad fans:
Step 2. That’s it. Your done. There is no step 2. It’s just a matter of picking one.
6. You Are Part Of Your Audience
To really be a successful blogger you have to understand your niche, which means on some level you have to be a part of it. Take a closer look at what’s stopping you from accomplishing things. What’re some problems you’re running into? What questions do you have?
Figure out how to solve these problems and write about it. You’ll be surprised by how much this’ll resonate with your audience.
7. Search Twitter For Questions The Right Way
Twitter is another place people go to when they’re looking for answers. With a few simple tricks you can search Twitter for questions very effectively.
Method 1. Look for the phrase “does anyone know” + your keyword. So if you’re looking for questions about content marketing, you’d search “does anyone know” content marketing. This is very accurate at serving up real questions:
Method 2. You can also look for question marks. Use this syntax: copywriting ? -filter:links. This makes sure you’re not getting promotional tweets of blog posts in your search. No links. Only real questions.
Set this up through Hoot Suite if you’d rather monitor a constant stream. Use Tweet Beep if you’d rather get one automatic daily email.
8. Ask Your Readers And Get More Sales
Neil Patel wanted to test out the power of conversation. At the end of an email he asked his subscribers to “hit the reply button and tell me what you think of the email“.
When some these people emailed him, he replied back to each and every single one of them, thanking them for the feedback. Out of these people, over 71% ended up buying his product.
So talk to your readers. This will help you generate ideas and will help you sell things down the road.
The next time you send an email to your subscribers, end by asking them if they have any questions. You can also make it more specific and ask them to tell you about some problems they ran into this week.
If the people take the time to actually email you back, you can bet it’s a problem that’s been really bothering them.
A simple “Click reply and send me an email if you’re running into problems” goes a long way. If you get any emails, be sure to reply back to them or at the very least tell them you’ll be writing a post on it soon.
So, how do you listen to your audience?