How To Brainstorm Content Ideas & Create Linkable Content
Today we have a post which has been contributed by Christina Zila, the communications manager over at Textbroker.com. The post is about how to brainstorm content ideas and how to use that to create better content.
Brainstorming is a simple process… You can start with just one word and it can lead you down a trail to a mountain of possibilities. Unfortunately it is under-utilized by many bloggers, which is a shame because the results can be fantastic.
If you are thinking about brainstorming for the first time, chances are you already have writer’s block. The good news is that you can get started quickly and it doesn’t take long to get the ideas flowing… All you have to do is get the ball rolling.
So scrap all of the conventional rules; you want good content? Here’s how to get it!
Generating Simple Content Ideas
The first step is to create some very simple topic ideas. Start with a blank page and write down a few keywords that you want to focus on? Do you have a niche? Write it down and then just let everything related to that topic start to flow from your mind to the page.
Note From Mark:
It can be tricky at first, but once you have 2 or 3 ideas your mind suddenly seems to open up. Try it out and you’ll see how well it can work!
Your ideas don’t have to be perfect and they don’t even have to make a lot of sense at this point. The key is just to start the creative train moving in the right direction. So don’t filter yourself, just let your mind wonder and using the paper to map where it goes.
Turning Topics Into Title Ideas
Each new topic that you write on your piece of paper has the potential to destroy your writer’s block. So don’t focus on your lack of ideas, focus on telling yourself everything you know about each topic.
As you brainstorm those simple ideas you will naturally spot a few similar topics or perhaps a topic or two that you know can be expanded on. Review your jottings so far and pick out a topic at a time, you can then use this to generate ideas.
When you wanted to know something when you were growing up, what did you do? You probably asked questions, right? Asking questions still works. Write down the questions that you have related to your topic and don’t stop until you have a page filled with information.
Note From Mark:
For more blog post ideas, simply Google your topic and do a blog search if necessary. Look at some popular blog posts on the topic, read them and make notes. Also, read the comments and look out for any additional questions the users may have asked. Add everything to your list.
You can create as many content ideas as you like through brainstorming, but try to think about the problems of each topic through your reader’s eyes. Remember that what is obvious to you may not be to others, so think as a user and ask yourself the sorts of questions your readers might have.
Refining Your Ideas
First of all, let’s look at all of those questions you have jotted down. Take each question in turn and spin it into different title ideas. Not all of these titles will stick, but let yourself keep playing and jot down all of the ideas in a new list.
Next, browse some of the non-questions. Anything you have written down, try to turn it into a title, it doesn’t have to be an instant win, but just make it coherent. You can always spin your titles some more later on.
Creating A Short List
Keep your master list of titles and go through it one by one. You should have a pretty long list by now and hopefully you will find some titles that you think will make good blog posts. Put your best ideas into your short-list, so that you can write some content with them.
As you look through, you can also take out any titles that you think are interesting, but need more work. If you spot a title that is too short, too generic or just needs a new angle, keep it in a separate “needs work” list. This list can be the seed list for your next brainstorming session!
Creating The Content
Of course, coming up with title ideas is one thing, but actually creating content is quite another. Now that you have a list of ideas, you can have a rest if you like. Don’t try to write when you’re not feeling “in the zone”.
The beauty of having a long list of ideas is that you can dip in whenever you like and pick a title that interests you. Having a choice means that you should always be writing about something that you actually want to write about.
Researching Your Topic
Chances are you already know a thing or two about your topic, but never assume that you know it all. Also, don’t assume that what you are about to write hasn’t already been written.
Before you write a post, Google it; have a look at the top few results, see what similar posts have been written and see what points they made. Make notes and in particular try to critique them; this is how you will create a unique angle.
Note From Mark:
If you don’t have time to do all of the research, go onto Textbroker and have 3 star article written. Request the article to be written with lots of headings and bullet points. This is an effective (and cheap) way to get all of your research done and handed to you in an easy to digest document, it shouldn’t replace your research all together, but it can be a real time saver!
What If They’re All Really Good?
If there are already lots of posts like the one you want to write, and if you can’t find any way to add value; put that title back in the “needs work” list and start again with another title.
Note From Mark:
If you have a keyword in mind for your article, Google that keyword too. This will show you what content Google thinks is most valuable for that phrase. Again, take some ideas and find new angles or add extra value.
Writing The Content
Doing some good research should pretty much leave you with a plan. So go ahead and start writing. Follow your bullet points and make sure that you cover every point well, concisely and in order. Take your time and focus on writing for your audience, whoever they may be.
Once you have finished your post, leave it for a while and come back a day or two later, re-read it and make-sure it all makes sense. Ask yourself whether each point has been well explained and whether the post is helpful to your readers. Add any additional ideas that you might have… Oh and add a few images, people like pictures!