Creating relevant, fresh content efficiently and effectively is a constant challenge for internet marketers. And if you are writing your own website or blog content, you will need to spend some time coming up with topics yourself, apart from just doing the job that the business you are advertising online requires.
Here’s an easy 6-step exercise that will spark your creativity in a different way than usual. Your goal is to produce a large quantity of possible content topics which you will later screen for quality. Yes, this process will generate some junk topics, but marginal topics – the ones that aren’t clear winners – can be adjusted later and perhaps transformed into something worthwhile, or trashed.
The importance of writing all of your ideas down – regardless!
It’s important that you actually write down or type in every topic you think of. And don’t worry about creating a great title or starting an outline yet – this is about generating a bulk of ideas only. Writing will come later.
Be specific and relatable.
As you write down your topic ideas, be as specific as possible. For example, instead of writing “Reasons to Attend College” write down “Top Ten Highest-Earning College Degrees in 2020.” Great idea, right?
Don’t worry about the quality of the topic idea.
Again, some or even much of what you come up with will not be great. Don’t worry about that, this exercise is all about getting ideas flowing, not judging them as they come out. Allow each of the following six steps to stimulate your creativity in a different way and access a different part of your brain, if you will. You will surprise yourself with what you are able to generate in just 30 minutes.
What You’ll Need to Generate 50 Ideas for Writing Web Content
- Your Computer, and if writing topics down instead of typing, several sheets of paper and a pencil or pen;
- A timer;
- Internet access.
Step One: Find a quiet place.
This will be a place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted for the next 30 minutes.
Step Two: Open a fresh document.
This can be on your computer or your Google Drive, or if you are writing by hand, start with a clean sheet of paper.
Step Three: Set the timer for 30 minutes and start it.
You will focus solely on generating topics during this half-hour.
Step Four: Ask yourself the following questions.
Time: 12 Minutes
Goal: 25 topics
You will use these questions to create at least two specific and relatable ideas for topics per question.
If you are writing for your own site or blog, answer the following questions as yourself. If you are an online marketer or SEO you will answer them on behalf of your client.
- What are you passionate about in your field or industry?
Whatever skill, approach, service, or product you feel passionate about, think about angles you can get from that. For example, if you are passionate about SEO you are not going to write about “Why I am Passionate About SEO.” Instead, you’ll think of the aspects of SEO that you feel strongly about, for example, teaching SEO to others: “9 Essential Tips for Beginning SEOs.”
- How did you get started?
What drew your interest? What education or training have you had? Be relatable and tell your personal story.
- Why is your product or service the best?
If you can’t get behind your product or service, no one else can. Toot your own horn a bit. How about “How My [product/service] Changed Over 20,000 Lives For The Better.”
- What mistakes have your peers or colleagues made?
Another opportunity to get personal and relatable and share a cautionary tale about yourself or a colleague. “How Firing People Taught Me How to Hire People.”
- What is the greatest challenge your industry faces right now?
Advising the reader how he or she can overcome challenges unique to your field or industry will have them eating out of your hand.
- Who is the most successful person in your field?
Could you get an interview with them? Write “Interview with X” down as an idea for online content.
- What does success look like in your field?
“The Top Five Attributes of the Most Successful [Product/Service Providers].” This could be a by-product of your interviews with industry leaders.
- What current event is the most significant news in your field?
Jot down ideas for topics about something that is trending right now. Is there a new manufacturing technique? A new major player? Explain what impact this will likely have.
- .What was your greatest success or failure?
Just about everyone loves a success story, but absolutely everyone loves to hear how successful people first failed, then succeeded. “Why Failing Out of College Made Me A Millionaire.”
- What personal skills must one have to be successful in your field?
Make a Top 5 or Top 10 list – again this could be gleaned from your interviews.
- What tools does one need in your field?
Another Top 5 or Top 10 list, or something like “7 Reasons a MacBook is Essential to Success in [product/service].”
- When, where, and how do you do your finest work?
This lends you authority, if you can share how you get things done, and/or how the industry leaders you interview get things done.
- What is changing in your field? Why?
Discussing major developments and their possible ramifications is always a hit with readers.“Three Ways Manufacturing [Product] Overseas Will Create Jobs Here in 2020.” Then you can write a 2021 update that explains how your predictions were accurate, or not.
- What are some business practices or processes that you have perfected?
Sharing expertise is als a big hit. Plus, it paints you as an expert and lends you authority.
Step Five: Searching online for topics.
TIme: 12 minutes
Goal: 25 more topics
Search for the following online and record at least five specific ideas from each source:
- Blogs of leaders in your field (2 minutes)
- Websites of the major players in your field (2 minutes)
- Social profiles of leaders in your field – Twitter and Google+ (2 minutes)
- Search Twitter again for topics relevant to your field that are trending right now (3 minutes)
- Use Google auto-complete and “People also ask” to generate topics (3 minutes)
Step Six: Think about the information you’ve just read.
Time: 6 Minutes
Goal: More topics!
Consider what you’ve brainstormed, read, and learned over the last 24 minutes. Your brain has been on fire and it is very likely even more topics are coming to you now – don’t judge them, just write them all down.
Let’s say the timer goes off and you find you came up with only 48 topics by this process – that will still yield enough high-quality topics to keep you busy for weeks or even months. And, you may have come up with more than 50 topics!
The next phase is to assess your topics for quality and adjust them (or strike them off the list) accordingly.
Last Bit of Advice about Generating Topics for Content for Your Website
Whether you are writing online content for yourself or for an online marketing and SEO client, always write your ideas down as they occur to you, no matter how good or bad they might seem to you initially. And keep abreast of developments in your field and what your field’s leaders are up to – this will inform your topic generation and writing as well. You can also find content ideas and keywords using a tool such as AHREFS.
Best of luck!