As content creators, we are constantly encouraged to push out more content.
It seems that whatever we create simply isn’t enough. There’s always more to do.
Whether you write a short blog post that gets very little traction or a massive guide that leads to backlinks, traffic, and subscribers, there is always demand for another article, video, infographics, or maybe even all three at once.
I’m not suggesting that this is a bad thing. It’s simply a matter of competing in the crowded space that the online world has become.
In fact, according to Blog Tyrant, over 65 million articles are published every month. That’s insane!
It’s pretty scary when you think about all the competition out there. If we aren’t creating enough content, we’re falling behind.
What often makes it difficult to continually create fresh content is simply coming up with new topic ideas.
In reality, there are millions of topics we can cover, even within our respective niches.
Regardless, when it comes time to start brainstorming, things tend to get difficult fast.
I’ll hopefully alleviate this problem by showing you the simple process I use to brainstorm a whole lot of content ideas quickly.
The Top-Down Approach
I have a top-down approach to brainstorming new content ideas.
This means when I sit down to list out ideas, I think about the niche I serve, the topics within that niche, subtopics, and key questions and problems within those subtopics.
This leads me to ideas for case studies, different forms of content, opinion pieces, interview topics, etc.
The deeper we go, the better the results.
The reason I use this process is that I’ve found it’s far easier to come up with ideas for specific topics, questions, and problems, than for larger, more general ones.
Let’s start from the top
I’ll use a cooking blog as an example.
Now, to be honest, I don’t know much about cooking blogs (or even cooking for that matter).
Regardless, the topic isn’t as important as the process itself.
Let’s say that as a cooking blogger, you tend to write content on the topics of lunch, dinner, and dessert.
Nearly all your content has something to do with food preparation for these three topics.
Although you offer guides, ebooks, and even interviews with famous food bloggers, it all seems to lead back to either lunch, dinner, or dessert.
As a blogger, you have to know your audience:
Who do you want reading your blog? What are they looking for? Why would they continue reading? How can you keep them entertained? How can you get them to subscribe and keep them coming back for more?
In this case, we will say that your target audience is made up of housewives that cook because they enjoy it. They don’t do it simply because they need to, but because they consider it a hobby.
As we move forward, we need to keep this in mind.
Now it’s time to break up our major areas of coverage into subtopics.
For example, for lunch and dinner, we could break it up into Italian, American, and Middle Eastern.
For dessert, we could branch out to quick and simple options, and more extravagant desserts for parties and large gatherings.
As you can see, our idea map is already growing.
However, even these subtopics are a bit too broad. We need to build out our map more for this to be an effective strategy.
Specific topics and ideas
Now it’s time to go one level deeper.
In reality, the more granular we get, the better.
The reason for this is that the really granular topics become content opportunities themselves.
As we continue to branch out, our idea list (or map) turns into a maze of opportunities.
Let’s continue where we left off for dinner: Italian.
Italian could include simple recipes, full meal guides, interviews with related people, videos of the preparation of homemade foods, a personal article on your relation to Italian culture, etc.
What’s crazy is that we can continue going deeper…
Suddenly, we start to realize that these specific topics provide immediate content opportunities.
For example, we could make a video of us creating homemade ravioli, or interview food bloggers to create a roundup post of all their favorite Italian desserts.
We could vlog our entire trip to Italy, or write a 4000-word guide on a proper Italian dinner.
The ideas are nearly endless.
As I said, I don’t know the first things about food blogging, but it doesn’t matter.
This formula allows you to break down the larger, daunting topics into bite-size pieces that turn into content opportunities your audience will enjoy.
To recap, start with your niche. Who do you serve and what do they want?
Break it down into smaller categories that act as the umbrella over most of the content that you offer.
Now, break it down further by diving into the specifics of these subtopics, while making sure that it still aligns with the audience.
There’s a very good chance that you will get overwhelmed with ideas, but that’s a good problem to have.
After all, content marketing is a never-ending game, and there are so many options available.