This past week I spent three days at the Digital Marketing For Business conference in Raleigh. During that time, I attended several presentations and I even spoke at a few sessions of my own. Actually, I was the speaker at four sessions - the most of anyone at the conference. One common thread between all my presentations is that I crowdsourced part of the content for each talk.
I spoke about SEO for Business Managers, taught a course on WordPress Plugins and Widgets, lead a panel discussion on Video SEO, and introduced a large audience to the possibility of creating content for Wikipedia to promote their business.
To create my presentations for each of these topics, I relied on my own knowledge of SEO, WordPress, and Wikipedia. However, I also relied on crowdsourced questions from the broader audience online. You see, it's easy to forget the basic questions that beginners will have after you become familiar with a subject.
This process can be applied to conference presentations as well as blogs, and any other project which requires insight into what your audience may want to know about. The best way to figure out how you can serve your audience is to simply ask them what they need - then provide that. This is exactly what I did for each of my presentations and they were very well received.
One way to assess what your audience needs is to ask them directly. This works for people with a large mailing list, or some other form of direct access to their audience. Another option is to find out where your audience is online and ask your questions there.
This is where an often overlooked tool came in handy for me - Quora.com
If you've never used the site, Quora is a place to ask and answer the world's questions. Want to know the best pizza restaurant in Rome, ask Quora. Need a list of places to visit during your trip to New York, Quora can help. Looking for the top questions about SEO, WordPress plugins, and Wikipedia - I asked Quora for help.
The next time you're stumped for blog topics or trying to create an outline for a conference presentation, just ask the people on Quora what they want to know. They'll give you the topics and all you have to do is provide answers. You can ask for a list of questions about your topic, or toss a few keywords into the search bar on Quora and see what people are already asking. This allows you to crowdsource the questions your content will address.
Best of all, when you provide great answers to questions people are asking on Quora - you can post a link to your answer on the site. This helps drive traffic to your site while supporting the community with more great answers to their questions. You shouldn't simply post a link as an answer. Instead, you should write up a summary and include the link for anyone seeking more information or an elaborate answer.
The content from my talks last week will be re-purposed into a wide range of content. Some will be transformed into blog posts, other presentations were recorded and will be published in video format. As these resources find their way online, I will go back to the questions I asked on Quora and publish links to the answers found in my presentations and the associated content.
Now, get on Quora and start creating content to answer the questions your audience is asking.