3 Ways to Tap Customers for Content Ideas

Successful businesses and organizations don’t create content that just talks about them. Sure, it’s important to let customers know about your products and services, company mission and history, news and events, etc. But it’s not all about you. It’s about them.

A savvy content-marketing plan covers what customers need and want to know from your business. This includes web articles and blogposts, social media updates, white papers and case studies, YouTube videos, email and print newsletters, direct mail pieces—anything where you’re creating and sharing content related to your business and expertise. (See our post on making your content more shareable.)

Your content should show customers, through real stories and anecdotes, how you’re solving their problems and addressing their concerns. So, where can you find engaging content ideas that speak to your audience’s interests, challenges and passions? Go straight to the source.

Mine your own FAQs
Does your website include customer-centric Frequently Asked Questions? This means a robust FAQ that answers actual customer questions and issues they’ve encountered. (You don’t want another flimsy FAQ that doesn’t seem to be written with customers in mind at all.) If you have a well-crafted, updated FAQ, that’s great news! You can develop each FAQ item into a deeper, more-detailed web article, blogpost, video or other content.

Pay attention to audience buzz
What are customers and clients commenting about on your Facebook, Google+, Twitter and other social-media sites? What are they discussing on your competitors’ pages? Social media offer an unprecedented glimpse into the hearts and minds of customers. Watch for trending topics in your business and industry, and develop content that speaks to what’s important to your audience right now.

Ask customers for feedback
Too many organizations still use social media as a one-way street—posting content but failing to respond to visitor posts or engage customers in dialog. What an opportunity lost! Invite feedback via your social-media sites and in your email newsletters during customer events and after you’ve completed a sale or project. Ask people what’s on their minds. Their answers might surprise you.

Pay attention to any and all customer correspondence. Their comments—both positive and negative—are potential content gold nuggets! Turn the most glowing praise into customer testimonials, in which potential clients can see themselves in your business’s success stories.

Timely, relevant content ideas are there … if you take the time to ask your audience, and listen to their responses.

Heidi LaFleche

Heidi launched her writing career as a newspaper and magazine journalist—most notably as a Boston correspondent for People magazine. She transitioned into marketing communications for business, helping clients find the right words to engage their audiences. Heidi is a Senior Editor for Wordsmithie, and also runs her own freelance writing business on the side. She writes within a range of industries including technology, healthcare, financial services, legal services, education and nonprofits. Her slogan: “Every business has a story. Let’s tell yours together.”

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