The biggest problem facing many business and corporate bloggers is figuring out what to write about. When you’re trying to put together an editorial calendar for a year’s worth of weekly newsletters, or generate 365 topics for a daily business blog, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
The good news is that if you know where to look, it’s easy to generate a variety of content topics. Here’s a quick overview of some of the approaches that I use in my own content generation, as well as when I’m working with clients on their content marketing strategies. We’ll take a closer look at strategies to stay organized, and then dive into different ideas for generating content inspiration.
Get organized: centralize all your post ideas
There’s nothing more frustrating that losing fantastic ideas that could be filling critical slots in your content calendar. One way to avoid that is to start your process by centralizing your ideas. Whether it’s a spreadsheet on your computer, a file on your Google Drive or DropBox account, or another tab in your project management software, commit to this early.
Figure out a system that will really work with your workflow and then set up a schedule for updating it. Daily, weekly or even monthly check-ins are enough, depending on your actual content volume. But what’s most important is to avoid the frustration and sense of wasted effort that can happen when you’re running low on ideas and can’t find or recall the inspiration you had from a book you read, a client conversation, or while you were out for a job. Personally, I love to use my iPhone’s voice memo app to record ideas whenever they come to mind. Each idea is like a gold nugget, and gets me excited about my next topic to write about.
Transition this to a content calendar
Another key strategy for making your content marketing efforts successful is to ensure that you’re maintaining a content calendar. This can be an easy transition from the idea storage list above. Your editorial calendar’s objective is simple: to outline the pieces of content that you’re on the hook for, the dates that they’re run, and what you intend to talk about. Having this ensures that you’ll be able to meet your content goals, easily fit this deliverable into your schedule, and delegate responsibilities when necessary.
Take the time to sketch out what your content calendar should look like. Whether your goals are ambitious or you simply want to let your customers know that your business still has a pulse, this approach will work. Choose a chunk of time – anywhere from a month to a year – and start to fill out the blanks. What kind of content are you going to be creating? What’s your schedule for doing so? With these mapped out, you’ll know that you need, for example, 52 newsletter issues and 52 blog posts created for your business. You’ve then got a target for the number of topics you need to come up with.
Ways to brainstorm topic ideas