“I know I should be blogging and putting things on social media, but I just don’t know what to write! I don’t have enough content ideas.”
It’s a common concern for many business owners. But it doesn’t have to be!
The first reason that most people have an issue coming up with content is that they don’t have a plan. Without a plan, they just wing it. They sit down at the keyboard and think to themselves, “I need a blog post.” And they stare at the blinking cursor and feel totally frustrated. And when they can’t whip out a post, they feel like a failure.
A plan will win over winging it every time. And the first part of the plan is coming up with a massive list of all the possible topics you can talk about, blog about, and post about. Here are 4 ways to develop that list.
1. Audience Questions
This is my favorite way to come up with content! What are your customers asking about? What are their biggest problems? What will make their lives easier? What will add value to their lives? What leaves them puzzled, frustrated, anxious, or other negative things?
Make a list of the questions they’re asking about, and then turn it around. Let’s say you run a health and fitness business, and your customers are asking about healthy food options. They might want to know how to eat healthy on a budget, and how to eat healthy with limited time to spend in the kitchen. From that one set of questions, you could come up with tons of content! Here are a few ideas:
– multiple posts on grocery shopping tips
– multiple posts on healthy recipes
– tips for meal prepping
– tips for cookware
And those are just about healthy eating on a budget and with limited time – imagine all the other categories of material you could turn into content for a health and fitness business!
2. Good old-fashioned Brainstorming
If you have clarity on who your ideal audience is, and what you are doing to add value to their lives, you could come up with a pretty decent list by just doing some basic brainstorming! Clear out your distractions, turn off all your notifications, and pick a quiet place to focus a little bit. Grab a notebook and pen, and just start writing!
As you brainstorm, try to let the “high level” topics lead to “granular” topics. We can use the health & fitness business as an example again. For example, “high level” topics would be things like: cardio, strength building, healthy eating, and so on. These could help prompt more “granular” topics like: running, cycling, weights, etc. And then you could keep going, taking each of those a step or two further! “Running” could prompt things like running shoes, running in various weathers, running clothes, running playlists, running posture, improving pace, improving speed/time, running for beginners, and so on. That’s a pretty good content list right there, and I only dug into one of the high level topics!
3. Get Ideas From Google and Pinterest
Hear me clearly when i say this: DON’T take someone else’s material and pretend it’s your own. I’m not suggesting that you copy what others have written! That’s copyright infringement, and frankly, that’s just wrong. However, by looking at some of the other materials that are out there, you can get some ideas about what content you can create!
Sticking with our health and fitness business, you could do a quick cursory search on Pinterest for “exercise” and your search results will yield everything from clothing to exercise DVDs for sale to training tips to at-home exercise videos. As you scroll through the page, you don’t even need to open the pins to have ideas sparked! One pin about yoga pants might prompt you to come up with content about proper fitness clothing in cold weather. You might not have been able to come up with that on your own, but seeing something might trigger a related subject.
4. Join Networking Groups, and Take Notes
If you’re a member of an active networking group on social media, or if you hang out with people who talk about your industry, take notes! As people chat, they will ask questions or tell you about the challenges they are facing. Turn that information into content! You, as an expert in your field, will be uniquely equipped to answer the questions that people are asking! If you learn to be a good listener, you will be positioned well to have a steady flow of content available to your audience.
Using just one of these methods should get you a really good sized list! I recommend you try each one to see which yields the most ideas for you. And don’t forget to do this a few times a year. You might find that you can utilize content you’ve already written in the past to respond to what your audience is asking for down the road! Also, you want to be sure that you are in tune with your audience and aware of what they’re needing.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried any of these methods? Do you have a different way to come up with content? If you give these a try, which one works for you? Drop me a comment below or send me a note to let me know what is your favorite way to come up with content ideas!