In the era of overconnectivity, people are bombarded with all sorts of content and promotions. While the average attention spans are at all-time low, the expectations of the quality of content are higher than ever. The only way to stand out in this flood of information is to be so useful and so valuable, they simply can’t ignore you.

Your content should be so brilliant that your audience can’t help but share it, repin it, and bookmark it. Yet, to create it, you have to understand what informational gaps people in your audience have. You have to uncover their pain points, and what issues they’re facing right now to be able to provide a solution. Here are a few ideas on how to “pick their brain” for effective content creation.

FAQs.

If you’re very involved in your business, you probably know what types of questions people often have about your products or services, or industry in general. What do they want to know before they commit to a purchase? What hesitations do they have?

Ideally, you already have a page on your site that details all of those frequently asked questions. It’s also a great idea to revisit this page sometimes to update and expand the information. Plus, you can also create short blog posts or video demos to respond to the most popular types of inquiries.

Not only will you impress potential customers with the level of diligence and understanding of their needs, you will also save yourself loads of time by pasting a URL into an email instead of typing the answer out every single time.

Related: Creating Pinnacle Content to Measure, Evaluate, Empower

Social media.

The same basic principal applies to social media. Here, however, pay attention to everything that surrounds your presence. This goes without saying: you have to respond to questions. But you also have to do much more, including responding to reviews, identifying recurring themes in praise and criticism and chiming into conversations about your business online.

Be mindful that not every online conversation will directly mention your business. It might be a rant or a quick tweet from a customer who was blown away. So, there are tons of tools that help with social listening by monitoring keywords and mentions.

Also, social media enables you to legally spy on your competition. Monitor what people are saying about your competitors and identify their weaknesses, strengths and opportunities where you can improve. Also, see what they’ve been up to on their social channels and what content gains traction from their followers.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

Quora, Reddit, industry forums.

These are treasure troves of content ideas. Millions of people go to these sites every day to ask questions and get support. See what types of questions often surface in your niche. Identify areas where your potential customers lack the necessary knowledge to make a good decision.

There are a few huge benefits to being on relevant online forums: you gain the customer insight you need by acting as a good citizen and promoting your content at the same time. Let me explain that. When you respond to people’s questions, you take the time to provide them with valuable information unconditionally, which is pretty impressive in itself. So, please, don’t ruin this by blunt self-promotion; strive to be useful first.

Another effective strategy is to write a blog post responding to a question and then sharing the link. People who are looking for answers to the same types of questions will likely click on your website, increasing its traffic (and this is where you put your products in front of them).

Keyword research.

Keyword research is another powerful strategy to produce popular content and drive traffic to your site. There are quite a few tools that will give you an insight into popular search queries in your niche.

I personally love Google Keyword Planner as it provides tons of information on the volume of searches over time, different variations and relevant search queries, as well as how competitive specific keywords are.

Related: The #1 Secret to Keyword Research for Local Businesses ...

Questionnaires / polls.

Finally, it might be the easiest to just ask your existing customer base a few questions to get to know them and their needs better. Create a short questionnaire or a poll about what struggles they experience and what types of information they’d find the most valuable.

Craft very meaningful and targeted questions to ensure that the results will be useful in future implementation of this feedback. You’d also be surprised how much you can find out by simply allowing additional comments at the end.

Knock your customers’ socks off and break through the noisy digital environment with meaningful content. Spend some time getting to know your audience and show your consideration of their needs, and you will reap amazing results that will translate into sales.