I’m a major fan of straight-forward advice.
The kind that cuts to the chase and will obviously work, as long as I do.
I came across this recently: Anytime I’m asked the same question three times, I create a product to answer the question.
And it hit all the right buttons for me. I realized immediately that every single time I take that advice, it will work. And, better yet, every time anyone takes that advice, it will work.
I came across in such a round-about way. I wanted to learn about Pinterest and whether I thought it might work for promoting my work. I came across an obscure note that attributed the idea to Dan Miller.
I’m not familiar with Dan Miller’s work and I couldn’t find anywhere else where he’s talked about about this bit of advice— but it’s great anyway. So I’ll give him credit, just in case.
It’s such good advice that I’m going to follow it forever.
Anytime you’re asked the same question three times, create a product to answer the question.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’re a writer. Which means that you have the potential to be a blogger, if you aren’t already.
Your product is a blog post.
If you’re asked the same question three times, answer it with a blog post.
Does that simple sentence make your brain tingle the way it does mine?
I mean. It’s so obvious. If three people are asking, at least thirty are curious and aren’t asking. And three hundred don’t even know that they need the answer yet. And so on.
This is a great way to build a body of work that is targeted to what your audience actually needs from you. Pay attention to your comments, to what people say to you on social media, and to what you find yourself answering over and over wherever you hangout.
In fact, this post is me creating a product to answer the question how do I know what to blog about that I’m asked at least three times a day.
What a great exercise is learning to pay attention to what your audience needs.
Your answering post doesn’t need to be complicated or heavily researched. It doesn’t need to be earth-shatteringly original, either.
It might that all you need to do is point your readers in the right direction. Give them a list of resources or show them how to find the answer to their question on their own.
I’ve sometimes found that what’s really needed is for me to articulate something that comes easily to me.
If people ask you the question, it’s because you know the answer. If you know the answer, there’s a good chance that you’ve fallen into the trap of assuming that because something’s easy for you, it’s too simple to write about.
The thing that’s so simple for you, that seems so easy that you barely even think about it, is completely confusing to someone else. Not probably. Not maybe. It is. And that person really needs to understand.
That’s why they’re asking the question.
If three people ask the question, then you know. It’s time to create your product — your blog post — to answer it.
And by the way.
If you find yourself being asked the same question — not three times, but time after time after time — then you have a good opportunity to start thinking about creating a different kind of product.
A larger product maybe. A book. A course. A podcast. A series.
Let your audience guide you. They know what they need.
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter and Instagram and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation, and The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.