“How do you come up with the right content that is almost guaranteed to be successful?”
With the rise of ChatGPT, a lot of people might say "You should use ChatGPT to help you write better content".
Is that true? Or is there a way to outshine content written or assisted by ChatGPT?
Let's rewind so that I can ask you a question —
How do you come up with your articles, videos, or even tweets right now?
If you’re saying “I think about what’s useful to people and start creating”, hmmm, I sense trouble.
You probably hear this a lot about creating a product, but this is also true for content creation. Ultimately, a good piece of content is a solution to a problem (questions) people have.
And this solution leads to other outcomes (sales).
If you use ChatGPT to help you brainstorm new content, you might go down a path that uses a lot of mainstream knowledge, keywords, or jargons. It could be good content, but are you answering some of the key questions your audience has?
Maybe. But most likely not.
The truth is that the best creators do not hypothesize about what content might or might not work.
They follow the data provided by their audiences.
People are willing to tell you their problems
You’ve probably visited a doctor before.
When you get to the clinic, the doctor goes “How are you feeling today?”
Then you just go on and scream out all your symptoms without taking a breathe.
The doctor doesn’t even need to do anything, “Oh! It is just a cold. I’ll give you some medicine. Rest for a day and you’ll be fine.”
What just happened there?
Patients understand that they need to share problems so that doctors can do their job.
Now, in content creation, how can you get people to tell you their problems so that you can create long-form, actionable, helpful content for them? How can you win their hearts and trust?
You don't need ChatGPT here.
I have created 32,000 tweets, 50+ long-form essays, and 70+ videos on my YouTube channel. Today, I want to share with you my top 2 favorites.
FYI: the second one is my favorite-favorite.
1. Create mini, low-effort content first
Oftentimes, I hear creators spend 6-10 hours creating a piece of content (article or video) that ends up having only 10 impressions.
It is terrifying because I was once in that position — it took me 30 hours to create one lifestyle video back in 2018 and only my family and friends watched it.
To reduce that risk, I now spend 6-10 minutes coming up with a short tweet for the exact same topic. Then I’ll be able to see how people react to it.
In this essay, I talked about the real roles of social media and one of them is Assessment — assessing your ideas.
So in my tweets, I look out for 3 things:
A. Are they agreeing or showing interest?
When I tweeted:
Jeremy and Arvindh jumped in with their replies:
The thing that caught my eyes was Jeremy’s word:
“Thank you for helping me brainstorm a very concrete deliverable, Kevon!”
This was a strong signal that this content angle has great value. Because a person in my audience has taken action based on it!
Another time I tweeted:
And I got positive reactions from Dylan, Jeremy, and Sowmya:
Again, I know this idea has wings. It can fly if I write an essay to share with my newsletter subscribers or a video with my YouTube subscribers.
B. Are they asking questions?
I was quickly sharing my Build in Public process:
Shae popped in and asked about the tool that I was using:
This might not be a super strong signal but at least I know “systematically getting feedback from a group of people” might have potential.
C. Do a lot of people like it?
I put this at last because I always prefer a reply. It means a lot more when someone takes the time to write back with a thought or question.
But the number of “Likes” can also give me some signals.
This tweet about engagement pods has 128 likes and 36 replies (way above my average) and it is clearly appealing to people.
Then I start thinking “Why? Do they react because they also hate people in engagement pods? What would they want to know about this?”
The answer could be “Yes, this is worth becoming a long-form content” or “No, don’t do it”. Either way, signals guide my decision.
You can now see that social media is a goldmine if you know how to use it.
By the way, avoid asking super open-ended questions like “What problems are you guys facing? I want to help!” When you frame it in this unfocused way, you’re never going to get valuable data.
Assessing social media content is not the only way to collect data, there are other super efficient ways, like this next one.
2. Invite people to ask questions
If you want to get high-quality data to create irresistible and useful content, you have to ask people what’s on their mind.
But do you know what most early-stage creators do?
They would create a survey and send it out to their audience to fill it in.
Oops! Only 3 people filled in. Why?
That was me in my early stage, until I learned a very important lesson about data collection:
When people need something from you, they are 100x more likely to give you something.
When you’re simply asking people to fill in a survey, you’re not giving them an incentive. This means it is highly likely they will ignore you.
Now, before I go on, I want you to think about — what is something valuable that you can offer to your audience right now?
For me, it is always knowledge.
Because I run a live course, Build in Public Mastery, I love showing up live to connect with my audience. This way they can get the knowledge and a feel of my teaching.
So I’ve been running a free event, Build in Public Bootcamp, every quarter to share my framework and latest tips with them.
When they RSVP to the event, they have to answer this question — "What is one burning question you have about Building in Public?"
Now, if they want something from me (the free bootcamp), they have to give me something (one struggle). It is a fair exchange. Actually, they get more than they give!
After the event, I clean up the data and find patterns or common pain points.
This list becomes my ultimate source to create super duper useful content that my audience will surely love.
With this superpower, you can think of many other ways to collect data, e.g. before someone receives your freebie, after someone finishes your course, offer a gift in exchange for filling in a survey
Can content creation be based on your expression?
To wrap this up, I know, you might be thinking —
“This approach feels like I’m creating content to serve people more than expressing myself. But I see many creators, especially YouTubers, who just express whatever they want to share and they make a lot of money! ”
You’re not wrong!
This depends on what kind of creators you want to be and how you want to make money.
YouTubers, mostly creator-entertainers, are creating a following based on themselves (the personal brand). They then go on to make money from sponsorship deals that leverage on the size of following.
The approach I shared with you above is more suitable for creator-educators who focus on teaching specific skills. By answering questions from the right audience, you become the thought leader and that’s why they would go on to buy a knowledge product like course or coaching program from you.
But still, I’d say the most successful YouTubers are actually very smart at following the data but creating content that feels like it is their own expression! This is the most masterful skill in the 21st century!
Can content creation be powered by AI?
This is another big question that you might be thinking.
I have to admit AI like ChatGPT is super powerful and we all have to learn to collaborate with it. But if you're relying on AI to help you create content to share with your human audience, you won't create irresistible content.
If you want to be most helpful to your human audience, your best shot is to listen to them.
Then what is ChatGPT useful for? Let me show you one way.
At first, I had the title "How to Write Recommendable Content (using Data from Your Audience)" for this essay. It was communicating what I wanted to say, but it lacked a spark.
So I asked ChatGPT for help.
I liked the word "irresistible", so I refined the title and asked again. This time I wanted to say "Beat ChatGPT".
This time, ChatGPT gave me the word "outshine" and I liked it too.
And my title became "How to Create Irresistible Content (to Outshine ChatGPT)".
Actually, I didn't end up using it because I felt that it was too buzzword-y. I preferred a plain & direct title.
Of course, this is only a tiny use case of ChatGPT, but you get my point. ChatGPT should be an assisting tool. It shouldn't replace your closeness with your human audience.
Are you ready to grow faster? Go get the data from your community!
- How can you leverage social media to test new ideas?
- What valuable things are you offering? Can you make it an exchange so that they will tell you their problems or questions?