What To Write About This Time
You are committed to putting out content consistently (or you should be!). Your followers and prospects need to hear from you on a regular basis to build the trust and relationship that leads to deeper engagement.
That means you need to write something… again.
But you just aren’t sure what to write about this time.
First of all, you should never be in this situation. Staring at a blank screen is a drain on your energy and productivity, and it’s not an effective way to invite creative inspiration.
Ideas usually come, not when you need them to, but when you least expect it. Your job is to start expecting it, and capture them when they show up.
Generating topics is something I love to do. There are many techniques and places to look for them.
Since your content is what allows people to build a relationship with you, the most important thing is that the things you write about are from YOU. Your ideas, opinions, reactions, stories.
So what are your ideas?
That’s pretty generic! It’s helpful to look around and ask what your ideas are about something in particular.
It is common to start on the “inside” of your business, since you have a lot of ideas about the work that you do.
But after a while, that can get a little narcissistic. Mix it up with some “outside” topics ideas. They can still be related to your field, although they can push the boundaries a little.
What do I mean by “outside” ideas? It’s about cultivating your own ideas about things out in the world.
Expose Yourself To Other People’s Ideas
I was recently at an event called Leadercast. It’s an annual event with screenings all over the world. If you aren’t familiar with it, I highly recommend checking it out next time!
I got to hear incredible speakers like Seth Godin, Rudy Giuliani, Peyton Manning, and others.
As I took notes about the ideas they were sharing, I also wrote down ideas of my own. Reactions to what they were saying. How my perspective differed from theirs. Quotes I could expand on with my own twist.
Exposing yourself to other people’s ideas is a great way to get your own ideas flowing. It expands your own knowledge and experience, and allows you to put it into your own context.
As you listen to another person, or read their stuff, ask yourself:
- Does that resonate with me? Why or why not?
- Do I agree or disagree with what they are saying?
- Is there an example from my own life that illustrates their point?
- Or contradicts it?
Where To Find Them
The world is full of other people’s ideas. You just have to look around. The trick is to find ideas on topics that get you excited, that make your own passion come out. Here are a few possibilities:
#1. Live events
In-person events are a great place to go to hear new ideas. I enjoyed Leadercast and am part of Creative Mornings, a monthly live event that takes place in cities all over the world. There are many others, including your own industry conferences.
Being at an event live is particularly powerful because you have a higher level of focus and energy when you are in the room with the speaker. You also have the benefit of being around other people, maybe even getting the opportunity to ask a question or discuss the ideas afterwards.
#2. Recorded events
There is no shortage of recordings you can watch and listen to. TED Talks are a great place to go to find interesting ideas. Both Leadercast and Creative Mornings have recordings online of the speakers featured at their events. Look for a topic that excites you, sit down with a pen and paper, and take in someone’s ideas while asking the questions above.
#3. Written ideas
People also share ideas through writing. A great go-to topic is to review one of your favorite books. What do you like about it? What ideas made an impact on you and how? You can also generate ideas by reading other people’s articles online, in magazines, or other platforms.
Write It Down!
The most important thing is to document your thoughts and ideas when you have them. Write a note on your phone, leave yourself a voice message, jot it down on a piece of paper… whatever works!
I guarantee, you won’t remember the idea later if you don’t.
Take my word for it. I’ve lost too many ideas because I didn’t write them down in the moment.
Capturing topic ideas is an important habit to develop. Whether it’s when you are exposed to other people’s ideas, in conversation with clients, or even in the shower (that’s a tricky one to document!).
Keep a topic list so that, next time, you don’t have to face that blank screen.
Do you have a topic list? When do you get your best ideas? Have you written a review piece? Let me know in the comments.