One of the biggest problems that anyone has who runs a blog or a newsletter is finding topics to write about. After all, if you write material on a daily basis and you don’t run a news site, eventually you may well run out of things to say. However, there is a very easy way to find material which is appropriate for your niche while at the same time boosting your name with actual potential customers and even doing something useful for your SEO efforts. Here’s what you need to know:
Find Actual Customers
The problem that most of us have, especially if we run an online business is that we don’t usually get to interact with actual customers. Instead, we tend to sell a product to people whom we hope enjoy whatever it is that we have to offer. Even if you have a relatively responsive e-mail list, you will find that you don’t hear from most of your customers about what they really want to know or what features they would want in your product.
There is however one place where you can find out what real customers want to know about – forums.
Now I know that some people are going to comment on this blog post and tell me that social media is the way to go and that forums are passé. Now while it is true that many people now turn to Facebook to get recommendations and even ask questions, I find that these tend to be much more superficial discussions which clearly peter out and get lost in the “noise” of the social networking universe.
Forum discussions by comparison are still generally long form. People actually drop by, ask questions and get real, thoughtful answers. Sure there are the “drive by” people who will leave a two word answer, usually with a spammy link back to their website at the bottom. However, forums still provide the opportunity to really engage and see what real people think in more than 140 characters or in a breezy Facebook update.
How to Pick
Now I’ll assume that you know which forums are the most popular ones in your niche. If you don’t know, I suggest that you do some searching on Google to find the ones which seem to be popular, join them and start commenting. Don’t leave any links at first. Just build yourself up as an authority on the forum so that people begin to trust you. Once you have built yourself up, you can then start to leave links in your signature.
However, in the meantime, you can pick out the questions which people are asking. Look for the ones which seem to repeat in various forms over and over again. Or, alternatively, look for the threads that seem to have engendered a heated discussion. These are the topics that your potential customers want to know about and want to discuss. Write about these things authoritatively and you will grab the loyalty of your customers, establishing yourself as an expert in your niche.