Producing content you made yourself isn’t that difficult if you look at it the right way. Most forms of non-fiction content can be broken down into a series of questions. From biographies of famous historical figures to videos on getting perfect abs, this content can be created by answering questions customers are likely to have.

This process can be used to produce magazine articles, ebooks, books, documentaries, radio programs, lectures, videos and just about any other medium. Diet books and videos, cookbooks and videos, how-to guides, exercise information, relationship help and financial advice can all be developed by choosing a niche and following this simple formula.

Ask these five questions, take plenty of notes, look up information when needed, and you’ll quickly amass useful information:

1. Who is this for?

Know your audience. There are several factors that affect the level and way in which you create your content. Is this for young people? Old people? Beginners or advanced learners?

Identify your audience so you can understand what they’re going to want to know. If they’re people who are interested in a subject, but know next to nothing about it, your content is going to be based on a very basic level. If they have advanced knowledge, then your information needs to deal with very specific aspects of the niche you’re in.

It’s also important to know about your audience so you’ll have an idea of how to present your content. The behind the scenes footage of skaters throwing fire crackers at each other makes great entertainment in a skate video. It’d probably be a bad idea to include something like that on a video for accountants in the mortuary business. But you never know.

2. What do they want to know?

The purpose of your content is to answer questions they have and to tell them information they want to know. List all of the possible questions someone might have about a particular niche. Each one is a potential book or video. In magic there are videos on close-up magic tricks, videos on card tricks, videos of specific card tricks and videos that show you different ways to do the same card trick.

Exercise videos are another example of targeting a specific question. When someone asks how they can get in shape, they might really want to know how they can look like they’re in shape. Videos on exercises for abs are a specific answer to a general question.

Think about why you were interested in a specific topic. What other aspects did you find interesting? Most instructional videos teach one of three things pertaining to a subject: General information, how to be skillful and how to make money at something. Which is your content? Does it involve two or all three? This tells you the purpose of your project and the direction the content should go.

3. What are the major points?

What are the major concepts you need to get across to your audience? A point can be some accepted fact or something that’s controversial. Controversial is always good. Each one should be a simple one or two sentence statement. These points form the basis of your outline. Your whole project can be based upon just one theme. Generally, I try to limit myself to between three to five major points. That’s usually plenty for a person to handle in one sitting or read.

It’s important that your content has at least one major theme; otherwise it’s going to be hard to organize it into something that is coherent and useful.

4. What information supports your points?

If your content teaches something, teaching your audience supports the theme that they can learn what you offered. If you’re communicating something controversial, your content needs to build a case for it by supplying supporting information.

Information can be facts, anecdotal stories, research and interviews. Using all four of those can build a very strong case. The information in a how-to product is video or text describing what to do. That’s the information that supports the theme of the concept.

A diet or exercise book or video would mix both researched information along with instructions in how to do something. This builds the case for the diet as well as showing people how to follow through on it.

5. How can they apply this information?

Sometimes there’s nothing for your audience to apply. In that case you should ask how you could reinforce the information. You’ll use the same method to do both. Sum up what you’ve told them into specific points. In the case of applying it, give them actions that they can do to put the information to work.

Ask yourself what you should do with the information once you have it. Are there physical things that can be done? Are there things that have to be done on a regular basis? Is application of the information an afterthought?

Break the application of the information into very specific steps. A cookbook tells people step by step how to make something. They don’t normally leave it at, “Throw everything in the oven and then eat.” How long? What temperature? An exercise video or content that teaches a specific skill divides the information into separate areas that can be covered individually.

Ask all of these questions and fill in the blanks. You’ll end up with useful information that can form the basis of video, text, audio and dozens of other forms of content.

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