I spoke earlier in this chapter about visiting online forums to get information directly from your target market. While this will definitely get you information that you can use to understand your market, there is nothing like talking to them in person.
Sitting down with people, or even just one person in your selected niche, can give you a wealth of information that wouldn’t be as easily picked up through online forums. For example, a ten minute conversation with a young engineer could yield five to ten challenges he or she is dealing with, which could then be used to create five to ten articles or podcasts on The Engineering Career Coach website.
The best way to accomplish this is to attend a major conference in your market segment. This will give you the ability to talk directly to those who will ultimately consume your content. Fortunately, you already have a list of upcoming conferences in your niche from the prior section.
If you decide to attend a conference, make sure you are prepared with a good list of questions for those that you speak with. Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ For example, “If you could change one thing about your current career situation, what might it be?” Another might be, “What is the biggest challenge you are facing in your career today?”
If you are on a strict budget and attending a conference is impractical, then you can still use online forums and talk to people over the phone. Use forums or social media sites like LinkedIn to connect with people in your target market, and explain to them that you are creating a resource for people in their industry and you would like 5 or 10 minutes of their time for a quick phone call. You will be surprised at how many people will want to help you help them.
I have found that these one-on-one conversations spur amazing creative ideas for content development.
It’s time to start talking to the people in your target market.
Author of The Content Marketing Equation