What products are your audience BEGGING you to create?

May 28, 2024

I like variety.  If you’ve been listening to my podcasts or reading my blog for a while, you’ve most certainly picked up on the variety that exists in my daily life.  I’m creating digital content for my online platforms, serving as the pastor of a local church, teaching at Cairn University, and leading a mission board that helps start new churches in various places in the United States.  As you can imagine, those responsibilities keep me plenty busy, but again, the variety appeals to me.

Regularly, people ask me if I could share some pointers on how to be productive as an online content creator when you’ve got a lot on your plate in your day-to-day life.  I suppose there are multiple suggestions I could share, but a major suggestion would be to find ways to use what you create in more than one way.  That’s one of the best suggestions I can offer because that’s the primary pattern I’m following.

Each week for Platform Launchers I write a blog post, record myself teaching it live, release the audio as a podcast, the video to YouTube, and create an exclusive long-form version with Q&A for our membership community.  This is a pattern I would encourage you to replicate if you have a calling to be a content creator while holding down responsibilities in other areas of your life at the same time.

Following this pattern recently led me to discover a new product that I’m about to create.  Let me explain.

Because I’m always trying to find ways to use the content I’m creating in more than one way, I started teaching a course that I teach at Cairn University at my church as well.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach a course on foundational theological concepts at the university, and then on Wednesday evenings, I teach those same lessons at our church.  

Our church asked me to do this, and I was more than happy to do so, but some of the people who wanted to attend in person were unable.  That resulted in multiple questions like, “Will this also be something you make available online?”  In fact, I received that question more times than I remember which led to a new idea…

“I should turn this content into an online course that people could access whenever they wanted.”

Now I’m in the process of recording these lectures so I can release them online.  It’s going to take me a little while to do this, but once they’re ready, I will make them available to our church family AND make them available on my faith-based website, BibleStudyHeadquarters.com.  

My purpose in telling this story is to highlight the fact that the idea to create this online course didn’t originate with me.  It came from the people who are already interested in the content I create.  I’m confident that when I finish recording this course, it’s going to be regularly utilized.  Why am I so confident of this?  I’m confident because people are regularly telling me they want it.  

I’m not begging them to want it.  I’m not trying to force my ideas on them.  I’m not creating this product based on a hunch.  What I am doing is directly listening to the people I want to serve.  They told me what they wanted, now I’m dedicating time to meet that need.

I suspect that if you’re actively attempting to serve a specific group of people, they are giving you clues as to what you should consider creating next.  They’re telling you with their words and they’re telling you in other ways as well.  Here are four quick questions you can ask to help you figure this out…

1.  What pieces of your content are they downloading most?  Sometimes this can be one of the most helpful ways to determine what we should create next or create more of.  I create various forms of content, but some of it gets utilized and downloaded much more than other content.  The content people are already downloading gives me very helpful ideas on what I should keep creating.

2.  What problems or needs do they regularly ask you questions about?  I bring this up regularly because it’s extremely helpful.  We don’t always listen as closely as we should, however.  One of the biggest roadblocks many content creators experience when they’re trying to develop their online platforms is creating forms of content that don’t really interest people other than themselves.  They aren’t solving problems or answering actual questions from readers, watchers, and listeners.  That’s a mistake we need to stop making.  It’s much wiser to listen to the questions others are asking you when you’re trying to determine what to invest your time into creating.

3.  What other kind of content are they consuming?  It wouldn’t hurt to ask especially if you’re attempting to gain a better understanding of what they’d like more of.  Are there books they find helpful?  Podcasts they find interesting?  YouTube channels they regularly watch?  Newsletters they subscribe to, or blogs they frequently read?  It would be worth your time to find out if you’re trying to discern what you might want to create next.

4.  What have they personally thanked you for?  This may not be something you’ve considered when trying to discern which products to create next, but it’s a helpful way to determine what you should be investing time toward creating.

Let me give you two recent examples of how this was illustrated to me.  Not long ago, I was officiating a wedding.  Following the ceremony, the father of the bride came up to me and told me that he listens to my “Dwell On These Things” podcast every Monday morning.  In fact, he told me that both he and his new son-in-law do that, and then later in the day, they discuss the content.  He thanked me for creating it each week.

I also recently received an email from a woman who lives a few hours from us.  She and her husband asked about visiting our church on an upcoming Sunday.  When I asked her how they became familiar with our church, she said, “I’ve been listening to your podcasts for the past four years and we wanted to meet you in person.”  They’ve been thankful for the shows and this is how they’re expressing their thanks.

The people I know who lead successful online platforms are faithful to create new content regularly AND they make a point to listen to what their ideal audience wants next.  They’re looking for new ways to use their knowledge and experience to help others.  If you’re trying to figure out which products you should be making available, I hope some of these suggestions will help.

© John Stange, 2024

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