There are countless ways to grab the attention of your audience, but keeping them coming back for more is where the real value lies—it’s where you build influence. Mom bloggers are a good example of this. Those who developed the greatest influence did so with good content—and kept their audiences engaged by producing more of it. But just because they were moms and their audiences were moms didn’t make them influential. It was the quality of the content they produced that resonated with a particular audience.

It doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, we can all create our own content and influence hubs by listening, engaging and sharing with those whose voice either echoes our own, or incites us to think differently. Effective content creation does not depend on labels or names—it does depend on understanding your audience.

Creating Better Content Starts with Understanding Your Audience

I talk often about the importance of Looking People in the Eye Digitally through social channels, and the same idea applies to content creation. If you want to understand your audience, you need to do two things: interact with them and listen to them. As long as you’re willing to make the effort, social makes it easy to reach out, connect, and start the conversation.

However, talking is the easy part. You can talk all day about your business, products, services, or marketing plan, but that won’t get you any insights from the people who matter most. That comes from listening. There’s just no way around it. You can’t learn if you don’t listen, and you can’t expect people to respond thoughtfully if you don’t show them that you’re paying attention.

Creating Good Content Requires a Strategy

The best content comes from conversation, which fits nicely with the theme of listening to your audience. The conversation starts before you begin writing a post, and – if you do the job right – continues long after you publish. It can happen on social, in the comments section of your blog, or anywhere else you choose to connect with your audience.

While there is no prescription for how to create good content, there is a strategy in creating content that works…and that is testing, retesting, and continually observing how your audience grows and reacts. I like to say the best content is conversation, and empowering that to happen requires being in touch with results, listening… and allowing your team to adjust accordingly.

But if good content is king, distribution, syndication and connection is definitely the queen, because she drives the bus! Once you’ve got a good feedback system in place, you’ll want to get your content in front of as many interested eyes as possible. Every niche has a content creation community, so there should be opportunities for mutually beneficial agreements or collaborations with other creators… or simply jump in when the time and context allow.

Having the right conversations and listening can go a long way toward your goals of constant improvement and consistent quality when it comes to producing content. It’s another area where relationships – with your audience, content creators, and influencers in your niche – play a starring role.

As human communicators we all have the power to influence someone. Whether we build on that influence is largely a function of how well we listen, and how well we can use what we learn to produce content that means something to people. The nuts and bolts of content creation is often solitary work, but everything else about the process is ripe for conversation and collaboration. You’ll find what you need to reach your goals, as long as you’re willing to listen.

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