Identifying pain points is the jumping off point for conversation. When you pay attention to what customers are saying, you're able to better understand how your products and services help — and by extenstion, you're able to provide engaging content that informs readers and solves their problems.
As venture capitalist Mark Suster wrote in an article for Inc.com, “unless your prospect has a need to solve a problem, they are not going to buy a product.”
1. Just ask
Social media is, of course, one way to understand your prospects’ problems: Linda Formichelli, a writing mentor and veteran journalist who’s penned stories for national publications including Health, WebMD and Redbook, encourages writers to post to Facebook or Twitter asking friends what issues they’re facing. The replies are later mined for inspiration for article ideas.
This tactic works for blog posts and other content as well. Customers are highly motivated to read content that directly addresses their needs and/or concerns. It’s part of why consumer magazines are so popular — they’re filled with “service” articles that offer actionable advice, a veritable promise to fix the reader’s problems.
2. Listen closely
Pay attention to what customers are discussing on social media. Twitter is one big water cooler, full of commentary on current events. According to the most recent Gallup poll on Americans’ social media use, the overwhelming majority (94 percent) use social media to connect with family and friends, but a good number (53 percent) also use it to share what they know, and 40 percent say they’re searching for information about companies and organizations. More than half of all Twitter users follow six or more brands.
3. Have a conversation
Aside from observing, you can also host a live tweet chat around a topic your audience is interested in. Start your own conversation by asking open-ended questions or offering Q&A-style advice. Create a hashtag for the conversation and capture screen shots of the conversation as it’s happening so you can revisit it later.
Your customers’ social media conversations reveal volumes about their goals and values, their lifestyle, and how they perceive themselves and the world around them. Be sure that your content better speaks to those issues.