TEN TOP TIPS ON GETTING IDEAS FOR CONTENT The following tips can apply to any kind of content: social media posts, website material, blogs, newsletters, direct mail, adverts, articles, books etc. 1 Chunking With this technique you can get lots of spin offs from one idea. Draw a diagram with a square in the middle (write your main idea in this box; for example ‘time management). Put a few smaller boxes below that one (these are component parts of your main topic; for example: ‘prioritising’, ‘scheduling’, ‘delegation’). (If you want, you can put successive rows below that one as well, with smaller and smaller component parts of each sub-element) Put a wide box above your main one (this is something your idea is part of; for example effective management). Put some boxes to either side of your main box (these are equivalent ideas; for example ‘organisation’, ‘stress management’, ‘planning’). Any one element of this diagram can give you ideas. 2 Fractals A fractal is a pattern that repeats at different levels. So a cauliflower exhibits a fractal pattern (each successively small floret has the same shape as the whole cauliflower). So you can take an idea and then do mini-versions of it and then mini-versions of that. Go into more detail each time while keeping the topic the same. For example: branding as an overall topic, website design as an element of branding, conversion techniques as part of website design, capturing contact details as part of conversion techniques. 3 Personal advisors This is to do with creativity and use of your unconscious mind. Think of a question; for example ‘What shall I write about today’? Then imagine a succession of ‘characters’ in front of you, one at a time, and ask each of them that question. Your characters could be someone from a film or book, a famous person - alive or dead, a cartoon character, an animal, a vegetable and so on. Ask each one the same question and notice the answers which pop into your mind. If an answer doesn’t come immediately move on, otherwise you’ll be using your conscious mind, which wasn’t giving you suggestions anyway! 4 Association Take one topic and then find associations with it. For example, suppose your topic is Budgeting. Take the first letter of that word and find– other things beginning with ‘B’ that you could write about – not necessarily connected with budgeting (blogging, bucket lists, bosses). Take similar topics to budgeting (financial management, taxation, cash flow) and write about them. Take job categories that could be related to budgeting (accountants, bookkeepers, financial advisors) and write about thoseo. Take budgeting skills (attention to detail, forward planning, cost/benefit analysis) and write about skills. And so on. 5 UGC – user generated content This is normally users of your products or services providing content for you but you can also ask your customers/clients/newsletter readers etc. what they would like you to write about. That way you can enlist other minds, as well as your own, to come up with ideas. 6 Your own surveys/polls/research/questionnaires Find out what your own ‘followers’ are interested in. You can do polls on LinkedIn. You can design questionnaires for customers or potential customers. You can pose questions in your newsletters or on your website etc. You can also ask friends and colleagues what they think might be suitable topics for you to write about. 7 Existing research Do some key word searches to find out what people are interested in in relation to a particular area. Look at online services such as ‘Ask the public’ which give you questions people want answered. Find out what topics are of current interest and what people are searching for. Look for current trends too. 8 Competitors Find out what your competitors, or others with associated businesses, are writing about. Don’t just copy them – that could be inappropriate for various reasons, but if it’s working for them, it could give you ideas about what to do yourself. 9 AI/Alexa Ask what topics you could cover in relation to a particular issue or field. And pose your question in slightly different ways so you can get a broader range of suggestions. For example: What could I write about carrots? What do people want to know about carrots? What research has been done into carrots? What are some interesting facts about carrots? 10 Media and publicity When you’re watching or listening to anything, look out for topics you could cover. This can include magazines, newspapers, professional journals, books, radio, TV, podcasts, videos, webinars, social media and so on. Also pick up free magazines in supermarkets, leaflets in waiting rooms and other printed items anywhere you go. Even labels on products, the way addresses appear on envelopes, and signs can produce material for you. So, to sum up - you need to be receptive to ideas so that you notice them and when you practise this receptivity it becomes second nature. Ideas are everywhere – just let some of them come to you!
TEN TOP TIPS ON GETTING IDEAS FOR CONTENT The following tips can apply to any kind of content: social media posts, website material, blogs, newsletters, direct mail, adverts, articles, books etc. 1 Chunking With this technique you can get lots of spin offs from one idea. Draw a diagram with a square in the middle (write your main idea in this box; for example ‘time management). Put a few smaller boxes below that one (these are component parts of your main topic; for example: ‘prioritising’, ‘scheduling’, ‘delegation’). (If you want, you can put successive rows below that one as well, with smaller and smaller component parts of each sub-element) Put a wide box above your main one (this is something your idea is part of; for example effective management). Put some boxes to either side of your main box (these are equivalent ideas; for example ‘organisation’, ‘stress management’, ‘planning’). Any one element of this diagram can give you ideas. 2 Fractals A fractal is a pattern that repeats at different levels. So a cauliflower exhibits a fractal pattern (each successively small floret has the same shape as the whole cauliflower). So you can take an idea and then do mini-versions of it and then mini-versions of that. Go into more detail each time while keeping the topic the same. For example: branding as an overall topic, website design as an element of branding, conversion techniques as part of website design, capturing contact details as part of conversion techniques. 3 Personal advisors This is to do with creativity and use of your unconscious mind. Think of a question; for example ‘What shall I write about today’? Then imagine a succession of ‘characters’ in front of you, one at a time, and ask each of them that question. Your characters could be someone from a film or book, a famous person - alive or dead, a cartoon character, an animal, a vegetable and so on. Ask each one the same question and notice the answers which pop into your mind. If an answer doesn’t come immediately move on, otherwise you’ll be using your conscious mind, which wasn’t giving you suggestions anyway! 4 Association Take one topic and then find associations with it. For example, suppose your topic is Budgeting. Take the first letter of that word and find– other things beginning with ‘B’ that you could write about – not necessarily connected with budgeting (blogging, bucket lists, bosses). Take similar topics to budgeting (financial management, taxation, cash flow) and write about them. Take job categories that could be related to budgeting (accountants, bookkeepers, financial advisors) and write about thoseo. Take budgeting skills (attention to detail, forward planning, cost/benefit analysis) and write about skills. And so on. 5 UGC – user generated content This is normally users of your products or services providing content for you but you can also ask your customers/clients/newsletter readers etc. what they would like you to write about. That way you can enlist other minds, as well as your own, to come up with ideas. 6 Your own surveys/polls/research/questionnaires Find out what your own ‘followers’ are interested in. You can do polls on LinkedIn. You can design questionnaires for customers or potential customers. You can pose questions in your newsletters or on your website etc. You can also ask friends and colleagues what they think might be suitable topics for you to write about. 7 Existing research Do some key word searches to find out what people are interested in in relation to a particular area. Look at online services such as ‘Ask the public’ which give you questions people want answered. Find out what topics are of current interest and what people are searching for. Look for current trends too. 8 Competitors Find out what your competitors, or others with associated businesses, are writing about. Don’t just copy them – that could be inappropriate for various reasons, but if it’s working for them, it could give you ideas about what to do yourself. 9 AI/Alexa Ask what topics you could cover in relation to a particular issue or field. And pose your question in slightly different ways so you can get a broader range of suggestions. For example: What could I write about carrots? What do people want to know about carrots? What research has been done into carrots? What are some interesting facts about carrots? 10 Media and publicity When you’re watching or listening to anything, look out for topics you could cover. This can include magazines, newspapers, professional journals, books, radio, TV, podcasts, videos, webinars, social media and so on. Also pick up free magazines in supermarkets, leaflets in waiting rooms and other printed items anywhere you go. Even labels on products, the way addresses appear on envelopes, and signs can produce material for you. So, to sum up - you need to be receptive to ideas so that you notice them and when you practise this receptivity it becomes second nature. Ideas are everywhere – just let some of them come to you!