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Monday Question: Finding Inspiration and Creating Content

In this issue, we tackle the challenge of content creation for niche sites, especially if you’re new to that area.

Reader Rick is developing content for an iPod/iPhone niche site and asks for assistance in creating content for his site, specifically “Where am I going to get relevant content that is of such a nature that Ipod fans would feel it was worth reading about and that they couldn’t just go to Apple’s site themselves to read

It will seem challenging to create content when tackling a new niche, but I see it as an opportunity to learn something new.

As information marketers, we’ll need to continually be receptive to picking up new skills and expanding our repertoire of marketing knowledge.

The surest sign that there’s a ready market for any type of product is to check out if there’s a “For Dummies” guide available.

Spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon in a Borders or Barnes and Nobles and you’ll see that these Dummies guides fly off the shelves. Don’t let the name fool you either because some of the top minds write these books. Dr Ruth authored the “Sex for Dummies” book and sales guru Tom Hopkins wrote a sales-related Dummies title.

Note that although the Dummies guide started out as a help for PC computer “dummies”, it’s since expanded to include “Wine for Dummies”

If you need inspiration (or to do a little research), visit the Dummies website.

dummies

So after hitting the main page, where you see that the label has diversified into a myriad of areas including:

  • At Home
  • Health, Mind and Spirit
  • Making and Manging Money
  • Travel
  • Sports and Leisure

Proof that the iPhone is a hot area? It has it’s own page:

dummies

Besides the iPhone, we can see that hot topics include:

  • “iPod”
  • “iTunes”
  • “Mac TV”
  • “OS X Leopard”

So now you know that there’s hot demand (and you might be tempted to start a “crochet pattern” and “sudoku” niche site…), how do you create content?

At its core, content is an answer to a question.

Content is just the name given to the solution to a problem.

If you’ve done your research, putting the content together is pretty easy.

Off the top of my head, I’d think the questions for iPhone buyers might be:

  • How long should I charge my iPhone for? Would it be better to undercharge or overcharge my unit
  • How tough is the LCD screen? How long will it last for? How do I take care of it?
  • What can I do at iTunes? What can I buy? Can I get a discount or coupon code? Can I buy music and videos from other sites?
  • How do I backup the data on my iPhone?
  • Besides the regular functions, are there other “undocumented” features that the iPhone comes with?

Although you might find some of these answers on the official Apple site, it’s likely that most of them aren’t answered, that’s where the content comes in.

On hindsight, it might’ve seemed smart to have developed my Rabid Niche Cash Machine product, but at that time, the iPhone books hadn’t been released yet. It has to do with keeping in touch with news and trends through newspapers, magazines, blogs and forums to get an idea of what’s hot and what’s going to be the next rabid niche.

At its heart, great content answers questions, and might open up a few more questions (and your visitors will come back to check it out, leading to ‘sticky’ content)

Creating Content

Now that you have the questions and the answers, how do you put your content together?

One way is to list the best answer to the question in bullet points. You can outline the steps involved, or a series of comparisons (pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages). When you put the answers together it will add up to quite a substantial mass of information.

Just imagine you’re explaining the process of swapping out your iPhone battery to your grandma. Surely you can’t just tell her to pop the lid and prise out the old battery with your fingernail…

[Using this as a hypothentical example] You might need to backup your data onto your computer, shut down the system in a certain safe mode, find a paper clip to wedge it in a special notch and twist it counterclockwise, before lifting the lid from the bottom side first, etc…

Just because I am familiar with gadgets and have taken apart more of the electronic equipment I own doesn’t mean I’m familiar with everything, I just might need to buy that Dummies guide for my next Tivo with biometric features…

1 comment on Monday Question: Finding Inspiration and Creating Content

  1. Aurelius Tjin
    November 6, 2007 at 2:45 pm (4585 days ago)

    I agree with that Andrew. If you are to create info-products on a particular niche, you must make sure that you are equipped with all the necessary knowledge and expertise you can well impart to your clients.

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