Let’s go back to my very first year of teaching kindergarten. You knew I used to teacher kindergarten, right? I wanted to be the best teacher I could be and I thought the key to that was planning. I planned an entire year of quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals for my students before I even laid eyes upon them.
Here’s what happened the first day: a fire drill, kids crying, some kids knew how to spell their own name while other kids didn’t know the difference between letters and numbers.
One student wandered out of the bathroom with her pants down and asked me to wipe her butt. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.
In other words, my plan was useless. I created a content plan without getting to know the needs of my students first.
It took me a long time to realize that the difference between a pro teacher and a newbie teacher is listening, not planning.
I put my planner away, opened my eyes, and unplugged my ear-holes.
I watched them play and took notes. I listened to them talk and took notes. I tried a few activities with them and took notes.
I was finally able to create content that truly helped my students because I listened. Soon after I adopted this student-centered approach to teaching, my students were flourishing and other teachers were coming to me for advice.
It’s not about you. It’s about your audience and how you can help them.
Here are two ways you can be a better listener and create mind-blowing content.
1. Facebook Groups
I absolutely must preface this with what NOT to do.
“Hey group! I’m currently writing a book on email marketing. What questions do you have about email marketing? TIA.”
This is wrong for many reasons.
The first reason this is wrong is because you should never say TIA (thanks in advance). We don’t have perms and live in 1987.
The second reason is that asking a question like that takes you right out of the seat of authority. If you are an expert at email marketing, you should already know what questions people have. People want you to solve their problems. Don’t ask them how to do it, just do it.
Most people that really struggle with a topic like email marketing don’t even know why they struggle with it. The only people that answer your question will be people making stuff up.
Here’s what to do.
Search the group for key words that describe your area of expertise. For example, if you create content that teaches people about branding then join my Facebook group and start searching.
Seriously, why aren’t you in my group yet? If you are a blogger or online biz owner, get in there! There are thousands of people that have already joined.
Do you see that little “Search this group” box at the bottom right of the cover image? That is where you will enter your key words.
So, if you blog about branding, then you can look up keywords such as: design, logo, color palette, website, branding, voice, style, etc.
You will not only see the problems people have, you will learn how they describe those problems. People don’t post a question in a Facebook group when they have a general wondering. They post a question when they are in a moment of desperation. Group members are communicating their pain points explicitly and directly. That, my friend, is gold.
2. Twitter Chats
Have you ever read a blog post or taken a course that makes you say, “OMG. This course just gave me my life with a cherry on top”? The course creator seemed to read your mind, offering you strategies that are exactly what you needed.
Chances are the content creator spent an incredible amount of time researching you.
Many people who participate in Twitter chats are yelling about themselves so loudly that they aren’t listening to what everyone else is saying. If you join Twitter chats to promote yourself, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’ve never joined a Twitter chat before, then read this post and learn how.
Participating in chats and offering thoughtful commentary is important, but so is reviewing the chat afterwards.
Here’s what to do.
Find a Twitter chat that your target market participates in and search the hashtag after the chat is over.
See that “Search Twitter” bar in the top right corner of my header? That’s where you enter the hashtag and press enter.
BUT WAIT! Before you say, I already knew that, let me give you a pro tip. You can search for more than one thing on Twitter and you can use real words, not just hashtags.
So, if you want to search #creativebizchat (my Twitter Chat that is on hiatus) AND you only want to see tweets that relate to branding, then search “#creativebizchat branding”.
See you in my private Facebook group.