The core issue for many content marketers is this: How do I come up with article topics? Without topics, you have no articles, no content, and therefore no content marketing. It’s obvious that we need to figure out how to come up with topic ideas quickly and effectively. This article can help you come up with your own set of topics to write about on your blog.
The idea here is to go for quantity, not necessarily quality. You might come up with some junk ideas as you race to write them down, but at least you’ll come up with ideas. Those ideas can be massaged and coaxed into an awesome title or topic for a winning article. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Force yourself to write stuff down. When you actually begin to type words, you begin to come up with more ideas and to think in clearer ways. There are three major sections I’ve outlined in which you will be prompted not just to think of ideas but to write those ideas down. This exercise will be completely useless unless you actually write things down.
This is idea generation only. Don’t worry about assigning article topics, craft the perfect headline, or article outlines. These are ideas, pure and simple. Confine your efforts, and you’ll maximize your productivity.
Be as specific as possible.
The following is a process for coming up with tons of topic ideas, but the specifics are up to you. As you write stuff down, also force yourself to be specific.
Now, let’s come up with some ideas…
- Go to a place that is free from distractions and interruptions. This doesn’t need to be anywhere magical or special. Just turn off your phone if that helps.
- Open a document to capture your thoughts. Since our goal at this point is speed and efficiency, it doesn’t matter what note-taking application you choose. I use Evernote and Drive for quick-and-easy document creation.
- Having a specific amount of time will force you to be productive, so let us focus for 30 minutes. Knowing that the timer is ticking down the seconds will either paralyze you or motivate you to action. If you feel paralyzed, remember that you need to kick yourself into gear.
- The question phase. Ask yourself questions, and try to create at least two topic ideas from each one. What are you passionate about in your industry? Is there a certain angle or approach that gets you excited? What’s your greatest skill? What do you prefer to spend most of your time on? Rather than answer these questions directly, think of article angles that you can derive from them. How did you get started in your industry? Everyone enters their niche in a different way. How did you get interested in your area? What training did you have? Why is your product the best? If you sell a product, you are hopefully convinced of its value. Why does it rock? What does success look like in your industry? What does it mean to get to the top or to dominate? How do you get there?
- The Search Phase is where we can actively seek out ideas elsewhere on the web. Perform each of the following searches, and jot down at least five ideas from each source. Visit the blogs of industry leaders. What are other leaders saying? If they are all discussing similar things, there’s a good chance you need to be part of the conversation. Join the topic and provide your own angle. Simply browsing around on an industry leader’s blog for two minutes should give you plenty of fresh ideas for content. Visit the social profiles of industry leaders. Focus on Twitter and Google+. If you’re following other leaders in your industry (and you should be), track down their presence on Twitter, and Google+. Search Twitter for trending topics in your industry. Twitter is perfect for getting the buzz on current events related to your niche. Use Twitter’s search function to find out what’s trending in your particular niche.
- Unplug and write stuff down. Now that you’ve absorbed this torrent of information, you probably still have ideas percolating in your mind. These are probably the very best ideas that you’ve ever come up with. Your mind has been pushing hard for twenty-four minutes, crawling through industry-specific topics, and generating ideas galore. Finally, relax your mind just a bit, and let the good ideas flow.
By spending 30 focused minutes, you can come up with enough content ideas to last for months.
Always be learning. Whether it’s from reading, talking, watching Ted Talks, or trolling social media, you should always be in learner mode. The more you take in, the more you’ll be able to come up with great topic ideas. Absorb, read, consume, gain information. Always
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