What do marketers want? That is a much easier question to answer than the million-dollar interrogation of what women want. Marketers want to engage with their audience. Real engagement is an achievement that goes beyond choosing the right keywords for SEO; it is all about creating what your audience finds relevant. The main problem that content creators are facing today is that they are producing content that is irrelevant to their targeted audiences.

In order to create engaging content topics to target your audience, consider what your audience is expecting. Fortunately, we’ve already done the heavy lifting, so you just need to read this article and then put all of these valuable tips to use.

1. Predict and answer questions.

Your audience has doubts—we all do—and what do we do to find those answers? We read articles or guides online that can help clarify those doubts. As a content creator, you need to predict those doubts or questions, in order to address them in your content.

Now, how do you find what people are asking about? The answer is simple: keywords. Let’s imagine that you own an online retail store that sells autographed books. You can use a tool like the Keyword Planner to find topic ideas, and find the keywords with the highest potential for targeting. Those keywords would be the ones with a decent search volume and the lowest competition possible.

You can also simply type “autographed book” in your Google search bar, scroll down to the bottom of the first page, and see what people are searching for the most. Let’s see:

What have we learned? First, if you want your content to be found, it is better to use the word “signed” than “autographed” since it’s used more often. You also learned that people are trying to find how to get a signed book (by going into your store!), they want to know the value of signed books, and they want to know where to find signed books (at your store!).

Now you can start coming up with content topics that answer those questions. Lead them to your site, show them your collection of rare books, provide them with the solution they are looking for, and convert those new visits into sales.

2. Piggyback on holidays, breaking news, and events, which are your new best friends.

When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, you couldn’t type a simple “r” in the Google search bar without it automatically suggesting you to search for “royal wedding.” Holidays, events, and breaking news are rich sources of content that many brands use to their advantage. More importantly, they are also a source of hungry users searching for the latest information about the topic of the moment.

For instance, let’s change our example from signed books to sports apparel. You can take advantage of any sporting event, such as the World Cup, to provide good and interesting content to your clients. You can simply share a “May the best team win!” kind of message, which shows that you are present and up-to-date, or you can put more effort into it and try to make your customers interested in your apparel through your engaging content.

For example, you could write a post on the evolution of soccer uniforms since the first World Cup in the year 1930 until today, or about how the length of sports shorts has evolved throughout the years

The 4th of July, Christmas, Easter, and Halloween are great occasions to engage with your audience and potential customers. You just have to be prepared for them. Below there is an image of a successful Easter campaign done by Heineken, where the green bottle was represented by green foil paper peeled away from a partially eaten chocolate.

3. Share your story.

Make your audience interested in your brand by sharing your story. Everyone sees your success—the tip of the iceberg—but people are usually eager to know about what lies beneath—the frustrations, the effort, the grind. Why? Because they are all experiencing their own journey to success and dealing with failure along the way. They want to find someone who faced the problems they are facing right now and want to know how it was solved.

Do not be afraid of sharing the dark moments. You will find a great number of people identify with your story. On that note, offer them solutions. Be completely honest about how you overcome each and every single obstacle you bumped into. Your audience will be thankful.

Show what motivates and inspires you. In this way, you might become the source of inspiration for others. Show your audience that you share their thoughts. Promote the ideals of your brand and make them reach for these in their search for those ideals.

On that note, invite your customers to share their stories with you and how your products made their lives better or have brought them joyous moments. They will enjoy it, and the activity will result in loyalty on their part, which can easily convert into sales.

4. Become a valuable expert in your area.

Positioning your brand as an authority is one of the best ways to influence your audience. Position your brand as an entity they can respect and go to when wanting to learn or deal with an issue related to your area of expertise. Become valuable.

For example, if you sell biodegradable straws, you can write a post about how the new tendency of going paperless or avoiding the use of plastic has already helped the environment. You can also give tips to your audience about how they can help in their own way. You do not even need to sound salesy.

Instead of writing “Help the environment by buying my biodegradable straws,” you can become a source of knowledge about the environment and provide ways to avoid producing pollution. You will gain the trust of your audience, and trust turns into life-long sales.

5. Ask questions and start discussions that revolve around current topics.

Using holidays and events as a source of content creation is a one-way type of communication. You create a piece of content; the user reads it. However, participating in discussions will allow you to have a multiway communication with your visitors. This is a great way for you to engage with your followers and for them to engage with one another.

The best types of questions, or the ones that make it easier for followers to engage, are those that can be answered with either a yes or a no. Those type of questions are more likely to be answered and, even though some followers will not go much beyond that, others definitely will give a longer answer.

Remember, the more relevant the question, the more engagement you can receive. It does not have to be rocket science. For example, the Friday before Father’s Day, you can ask your followers if they’ve already bought their presents or if they tend to wait until the last minute.

You can then do a brief promotion of your product: “If you haven’t bought your present yet, avoid the embarrassment and get a bathing suit for your dad. You will receive a 30% discount if you buy it within the next hour!”

Posting this type of salesy content is a mistake if done constantly. If you follow the 80-20 rule, where only 20% of your content can consist of promoting one of your products, your followers will understand and might even thank you for it. It is all about the balance.

I hope you found these tips useful! Remember, every time you decide to post something, do it thinking about what your followers want or need. That is the most important thing. Your followers are first, second, and third, and only then come your brand and your products. Sounds contradictory, but that is the way to build a strong audience and generate sales. Start applying these tips in your next post, and let me know how it goes. Comment below!

Read more: Nine Habits Of Highly Engaging Content Marketers