It feels great to be teaching again! I have a class of 30 NYU PR and corporate communications grad students. We are exploring social media objectives, strategies and tactics. One of the required course assignments is to create a blog with eight posts due by the end of the semester. As a blogger, a great deal of my writing stems from paying attention to my community and “Listening” closely to the conversations . So, for all of my students (who I hope are reading this blog post) and for my communications friends, here are my five tips on how to “Listen” so you can create more compelling content for your community.
1. Find the experts and you will find the questions. There are plenty of professionals participating on platforms such as Focus and Quora, and in LinkedIn groups. They are busy creating questions for the community and answering them at the same time. Once you identify the most pressing topics, you can create your blog posts around additional thoughts and perspectives on these critical issues. One step further would be to ask an expert to create a guest post or to participate in a Q&A on your blog.
2. Dig deeper into the blog comments and you’ll find even more interesting topics and questions. When you read your favorite blogs, hopefully you are getting an in-depth look at a topic by a trusted source. However, digging deeper into the community comments is where the discussion gets really interesting, and you can find varying opinions on a subject. The comment section is often overlooked, yet it is a valuable source of information. You will also find additional questions in the comment section go unanswered. Now is your chance to answer these questions for your own community.
3. Watch your Twitter stream for a couple of minutes and you will have plenty of blog ideas. My Twitter stream is filled with questions, opinions, statistics, articles, photos, videos, etc. I think you get the picture. Knowing the trending topics and offering a different angle or learning about new technology and sharing your thoughts and personal experience is not only great blog material, but also truly helpful, if you are breaking down a complex subject into simple and usable layman’s terms.
4. Peer related questions are asked every day and how many do you answer? Your peers are talking non-stop and you can offer them your answers on your blog. Just because you check your social media communities a couple times a day (maybe more) doesn’t mean the conversations stop. Simple monitoring tools and following hashtags can help you to uncover an abundance of questions. Now is your chance to answer the questions and to help your peers.
5. Follow your favorite experts and personalities, and filter their information into your news feed. I learned early on that whether it’s a friend or a colleague, when people are excited about some “big” news, even if they can’t tell you about it right away, they will allude to the excitement on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. If you are listening, you can be there to catch the actual news when it breaks, or ask if you can receive information as soon it’s publicly available. If you’re listening carefully you may be among the first to report a breaking story to your community.
These are just a few of the many ways to “Listen” for better blog content. I hope you turn on your listening ears on to create meaningful posts that ignite your audience and lead to more interesting conversation and engagement. What are some of the ways you are “Listening” for better blog content?