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∞ content ideas
How I come up with ideas and never run out
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It’s 2:30 pm.
You know you need to write that new blog post, those 8 tweets, that 15-minute video script.
You rack your brain for inspiration and then finally…
Nope, still crickets.
Look, I’ve been there. Coming up with content ideas is hard business.
Lucky for you, I’ve suffered with idea constipation enough and now you don’t have to.
Here is the exhaustive list for how I come up with content ideas:
Open up a spreadsheet or Notion table.
On the left-hand side, you’re gonna list out the topics you allow yourself to post on.
This can be as generic or specific as you’d like, but make sure you actively post about each.
In the columns on the right, you want to optimize around emotions or outcomes you want to elicit.
When you need ideas, combine a general topic with a specific emotion or format to optimize around.
You’ll be surprised how often you’ll see a perfect idea formulate.
Ex: Gardening + Satisfied = A post that shows a collection of satisfying images of perfectly trimmed plants
The 120 minute rule
This one’s a little more theoretical, but TRUST ME.
If you are slumping creatively or starting completely form scratch, step away from your current activity (and the screen altogether) for 2 full hours.
When your mind leaves a contextual focus, it often works better on that problem.
Sometimes a distraction is actually a good thing.
Even better, make yourself bored for 2 hours.
Ideas will come rushing in and you won’t know what to do with them all.
This is connected to the 120 minute rule.
Once you take that time away from the context, return to a piece of paper (or digital doc) and get ready to put figurative (or literal) pen to paper.
Set a timer in the background for 30 minutes, and write down everything that comes to mind.
When I say everything, I mean:
The good ideas
The awful ideas
You can take this a step further and use the initial bullet points you come up with as roots. Then stem out and try to get more specific with those content ideas.
Write now, organize later.
Keep a backlog
If you do the 120 minute rule combined with brain dumping, you should have a backlog of ideas you can come back to.
The ideas may not remain relevant over time, but you’ll have thoughts on paper so you don’t have to redo that work.
Reference your notes.
You’ll often find gems therein.
Scrape other industries
By far one of my favorite ways to get new ideas.
You’ve heard of stealing ethically? Yeah, this is the way to do it.
Don’t steal your peers’ content and hope it’ll perform even better for you.
It won’t, and that sucks. It’s unethical and not compelling.
If you research other industries and scrape ideas and formats from them?
Fair game, with high potential.
I usually just use simple Twitter Advanced Search for this.
I’ll search “INDUSTRY tips” min_faves:500 to find high-performing content in another area.
This will help you come up with all kinds of new ideas, present novel formats, and get more engagement.
Scrape your DMs
It’s right in front of your nose.
You’re already getting questions in your DMs (or even your posts).
All you need to do is capture them in your backlog for future use.
Think about it:
These are questions that real people have actually asked you.
Very little guesswork needed to decide if it’s worth writing on or not.
FAQ-ify viral content
You see content going viral every day.
And if you’re like me, you sit there and get jealous you “didn’t think of that first.”
But you’re leaving ideas on the table if you don’t scrape the replies of those viral posts.
Here are the easy steps:
Find a piece of content that is already doing well
Scan the comments for questions and great ideas
Compile those ideas in your backlog
Write answers to questions and expand on ideas
Plan out and publish
If all else fails, you can easily generate ideas for:
All using this one tool.
Full disclosure, I’m an investor of this company so I’m definitely a little biased, but hopefully that shows how much I believe in its abilities.
Highly recommend if you just can’t seem to rev the ideation engines at all.
That’s all for this week, folks!
My question is…