How to Create Content People Actually Want

Jan 4, 2021   |   4 minutes  

When writing for the web, it's easy to get caught up in a self-focused haze. Everything is about us.

What do I want write about?

How do I get more traffic?

How can I make more money?

These are valid concerns, but unless you are just wanting to create an online diary, it's not the right place to start. What really matters is your audience. What problems do they have? What are their hopes, fears, and dreams?

Let's look at a few ways - some of them unconventional - to create content that your audience will love.

Collect Truth Tidbits

Any time that I'm on a site like Quora, in a Facebook group, in a comments section, or anywhere that my audience hangs out, I'm particularly keen to pay attention to what I call "Truth Tidbits."

Truth tidbits are sentences that don't sound like marketing. They sound like something a friend would tell you in a bar. Something genuine and slightly below the surface.

Which one of these sounds like what I'm talking about?

Option A

"I would like to optimize my website for SERPs so that I can increase my organic traffic."

Option B

"I'm honestly just feeling a bit overwhelmed. I'm finally making a bit of money from ads, but I just don't have time to do everything I feel like I need to do."

Answer: Option B

Any time I see something that feels just a bit more genuine or raw than usual, I copy and paste it into a swipe file.

But why?

The key to effective communication in any format is to understand your audience. You want to speak their language. If they say they feel overwhelmed, you should talk about how to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed. You should tell stories about when you felt that way and what you did about it. You need to get on their level.

Politics aside, Bill Clinton was a master of getting on the level of the people he was speaking to. Check out this clip from the 1992 presidential debate to see what I mean.

Get on the Phone (or Zoom)

If you really want the work that you do to stand out, try actually talking to a few people in your audience who are particularly engaged. Reading online is great, and you should do it, but there is something about one-on-one conversations that can't really be replicated by just reading.

The two biggest things you will get out of it - beyond a personal connection - are:

1. Hearing in a person's voice what they are excited about, worried about, and neutral about

It's not uncommon to *think* that people really want one thing, but in reality, they are more worried about something else. It's very hard to figure that out without real conversations.

2. The ability to ask insightful follow-up questions

It's very likely that a person will say something you actually hadn't thought about, and being in a real conversation offers you the unique ability to dig in a bit more and find out things you otherwise never would have. 

Read Amazon Reviews

One other place where you can get to know your audience is by reading verified reviews on Amazon of books that your audience reads.

This is particularly true in niches where books are prevalent like B2B or personal finance.

Essentially, this is the same as collecting truth tidbits. You want to look for people who express what they thought and why.

How did the book help them?

What problem did it help them solve?

How much better is their life now?

Finding these things is a bit like mining for gold. It sounds easy, but finding genuinely good quotes that reveal how a person feels can take some time.

Putting it All Together

So far we haven't talked about writing or creating content, which is what this article is supposed to be about.

What have we actually done?

We've walked through a few basic steps to identify the real wants and needs of your audience. 

If you've actually done everything above and catalogued what you've found, you shouldn't have a problem coming up with topics to write about. You should be able to create content that answers actual questions or solves real problems that your audience has.