So you want to create content on topics learners actually care about—the stuff they turn to Google for—but where do you begin? How can you provide real value for your learners when you don’t even know what they want? If only there was a way to know what your learners were typing into that little box on their browser. We’d basically be reading their minds! Oh wait, we can – and I can even do you one better.
What’s better than reading minds, you ask? Data. And thanks to the likes of Google, there are oodles of it just waiting for you to add to your caboodle. And before any of you non-analytical minds get spooked by that four letter word, rest assured there are amazing tools that generate topics for you.
Can you solve problems better than Google?
People turn to popular search engines like Google to solve problems. As Kineo’s Head of Learning Design said in this post: ‘In and out of the workplace, there’s no greater way to generate traffic than problem-solving.’ This a powerful testament to why social learning often works so well. It also highlights the importance of taking stock of your content – and begs the question: are you solving your learners’ challenges?
7 tools for generating learning content that provides real value
Answer the PublicNo seriously, Answer the Public. Head on over to this site and you will not only be delightfully entertained by ‘the seeker’, but you’ll also get a great repository of what people are searching for. Answer the Public takes things one step further than the auto suggest results of your favourite search engine by visually illustrating the top questions and prepositions associated with a keyword, which can easily be exported to Excel. You’re welcome.
StoryBaseWhile Answer the Public and StoryBase are both really great, they’re great for different reasons. They both give insights into what’s being searched on the World Wide Web, but StoryBase provides some really great insights you don’t get with Answer the Public. Want to know the demographics of who is searching for a particular topic? Consider it done. StoryBase also has a slick interface that gives you the questions being asked about your topic, the phrases and related words – making possibilities for content ideas endless. StoryBase also makes it really clear how often this particular word is searched for in your country, and that’s some really great insight for prioritising which courses you want to produce.
BuzzSumoWhere Answer the Public and StoryBase focus on what people are looking up on search engines, BuzzSumo is for the more socially inclined – those folks who really want to know what’s trending. To quickly discover what content performs best, enter in the keywords related to your field and bada bing bada boom, you’ve got a great list of what people are really interested in. There are great filter and search options - and honestly, it’s one of the hottest tools for marketing, so if you can’t cough up the fee for the paid version, you might be able to cut a deal with your new best friends over in marketing. It was created by some of the same people behind Kineo and Anders Pink, the content curation tool making waves among the L&D community. So, yeah - you know it’s got to be good.
Anders PinkBet you didn’t see that coming. Anders Pink is a content curation tool that I once overheard a client say looked like the Pinterest for the learning world, but it is so, so much more than that. It’s a really powerful tool that integrates with Moodle and Totara LMS so that, with the right settings and filters, you can automate the process of generating content for your learners. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty nifty but it also has additional benefits for generating content. Anders Pink can help you discover topics that would be great for your next online course. If you want to find out more about the power of content curation and Anders Pink, head on over to this post.
Your LMS search queriesA few years ago we helped BMI Healthcare transform their compliance training from a clunky system with Totara LMS. Since then, they’ve used the flexibility of Totara LMS to create a learning platform that is their go-to place for all their training needs. That transition isn’t easy and you might be feeling similar pain points. So make sure you steal a page from their playbook and start tracking search queries in your own learning portal. With this information in hand, you’ll know exactly what your learners are searching for and fill the gaps.
FaqfoxOh Faqfox, you are one clever fox. And unlike that murderous sound of your brethren, you are the answer to sleepless nights. I don’t know how you personally got into L&D, but I got into education because I like helping people and solving problems – it’s the same reason I later went on to work in marketing. Faqfox solves a huge challenge: it mines the likes of reddit, Quora and other online forums so you know exactly what questions people are asking – HUZZAH!
Social platformThis one should be a given as I touched upon it at the start of this blog post, but having a social learning platform is a really powerful way to answer people’s problems. The questions, answers and discussions on your company’s platform, as our Head of Learning Design pointed out, can be used as the ‘…basis for new, more formally delivered content’. And when there are no answers or it’s a problem that’s regularly being brought up, there’s your opportunity to fill the gap.
So there you have it, my tell-all for coming up with content ideas. There are lots of tools out there, but these tools made the list because they are simple yet comprehensive. With these tools in your arsenal, you can spend less time thinking about what you should create next and actually start creating it.