I used to find content creation a tedious, ineffective process. I would spend hours trying to think up a great blog post. Then several more hours banging my head on the desk trying to write it. Then, I’d finally post it, and by the time I got to this point, I was over it. More often than not, the post would fall flat and get minimal traction. I would then be reluctant to reshare or repurpose the content.
I ran a highly inefficient content process. Frankly, I was going through the motions because I thought content should be an essential part of my growth strategy. But the ROI wasn’t there, and I didn’t enjoy doing it. I was even sort of embarrassed by my content.
That all changed last year when I started working on Taskable. And what catalyzed this change was the beginning of the process for how I source ideas for content. I turned a vicious cycle into a virtuous one. Now not only am I proud of our content marketing, but it’s the core of our growth marketing and awareness/acquisition strategy.
Here’s how it works.
A better way to find content ideas
It all started with a question about launching on Product Hunt. I was in the Startup School forum and noticed someone asking about tips for launching. I had previously launched on Product Hunt and quickly dropped in my top 5 or 6 top ideas. My feedback was a hit – a bunch of people thanked me and gave me upvotes.
Wow, I had struck a chord with this advice.
Then over the next few days in other forums – Indie Hackers, Slack groups, Product Hunt Facebook groups – I saw that same question keep popping up. And I would go back to my original post in Startup School and copy/paste my tips into these other forums.
After the third or fourth time doing this, it finally dawned on me that my tips would be a good blog post. So I copied and pasted those tips into a Google Doc and created a whole post around it. I shared that on social media, and it got reshared quite a bit. I’d also respond to requests for Product Hunt tips in forums with some insights and a link back to my blog.
I realized this was a much better way to source content ideas. Rather than straining to think of ideas, I could instead spend time in forums and communities where my target audience hangs out. Notice the common questions they were asking, contribute my expertise where relevant, and create blog posts around the comments that resonated with people.
The best part was, the writing came much more effortlessly. Posting a comment in a forum is pretty quick. Scaling that up into an entire blog post was easy because I had already put most of the thought into the piece. Rather than taking a day or two to create, I could do a blog in a couple of hours or less.
Some do’s and don’ts when community marketing
Start with minimum viable content
The lesson I learned is to treat content like you would a product idea. Find the problems people need help with, and provide them the simplest solution to the problem, like a comment. If you get positive feedback, keep building on that product, such as a blog post.
But don’t stop there! If that blog post is resonating, find other ways to repurpose or build on that content. For example, the PH launch blog soon became a checklist we made in Notion that people could copy to manage their launch. Because that proved to be popular, we eventually turned checklist templates into a feature of our product. Users could import pre-built checklists into their accounts.
There are all kinds of other ideas for where you can take it. Perhaps a blog becomes a complete eBook, or a webinar series, or even a mini-product in itself.
My top tip for efficiently creating more compelling content:
- Spend time in forums where your target audience hangs out
- Find the questions/problems that keep coming up in discussions
- Provide your expertise or insight for how to solve those problems
- If the comment resonates, consider turning it into a larger piece of content such as a blog or video
- If that resonates, continue repurposing or repackaging that content in other ways, such as creating an ebook, or a video/webinar series
Matt is co-founder of Taskable, a smart to do list and personal productivity assistant that keeps you in flow. You can find him on Twitter here.