Feedback generating avenues like social media are a goldmine for ideas for new articles, features, and promotions. If you’re missing out on some great ideas for content, your existing audience may be willing to let you know by leaving comments like “why aren’t you discussing a different angle on this” or even something more direct like “I’d rather hear about X.”
Marketing ideas for small businesses that gravitate toward growing the business and planning content that your audience craves is a great way to expand your prospective customers.
Rumor has it…
While it’s easy to try to get the most likes, comments, and re-tweets, those may not be the most important things you can get from social channels.
Facebook and Twitter are both great sources for audience opinions for content ideas. For example, an IT solutions business may do a weekly security software review that gets shared on Twitter. If a lot of those tweets compare the program in the review to a competing program, you’ve just figured out which program you should review next.
Twitter is also useful for looking at current conversations related to your brand and industry via hashtags. You can gauge audience interest by looking at what’s trending in topics related to your business. Facebook on the other hand may provide comment feedback that directs a weekly advice column.
For example, an automotive publication may put out a tips article that covers what different fluid colors mean when examining a leak that receives several comments asking how to identify when the fluids are going bad. This sort of feedback works particularly well with recurring content and lets you focus on planning content you know carries audience interest. (You’ll have to sift through comments filled with negative feedback from audience members complaining about content they’d like to see instead, but despite the poorly communicated tone these comments may contain great content ideas.)
Being direct with your audience every so often and asking what they would like to hear about can generate new ideas for content while establishing a better relationship with your audience by letting them know you’re listening. However, just posting something along the lines of “what new content would you like to see from us” on Facebook will likely be met with a tepid response. Instead, give the question a little direction like, “last week’s album review was a big hit, what would you like us to cover next” to get more insightful responses.
Other less public avenues like audience emails and comments left on your site are also viable places to look for audience-inspired content ideas. Be sure to include a “contact us” email section on your small business’s website for general feedback and questions. If you have one visitor email you and ask you a question, it’s very likely that other visitors are wondering the same thing and just aren’t taking the time to ask you.
These questions can be a great source for FAQs and article ideas. Content page comments are also useful in this regard. Don’t hesitate to respond to questions people ask in the comments section directly or by adding new content.
Dan S is a former news journalist turned web developer and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things tech and believes the person using the machine is the most important element.