10 Prompts that deliver blazing content creation ideas

content creation ideas

I have a secret to share with you. I have so many content creation ideas that I have a backlog of more than 300 possible blog posts I’ve never written.

content creation ideas

I other words, I’m going to keep coming at you with big ideas for a long time to come! But these meaningful ideas didn’t appear out of thin air. I pay attention to the world around me, and — just as important — I record ideas as soon as they come to me.

I’m convinced this can work for you, too. If you have the discipline to watch for the prompts all around you, you can fill your notebook with content creation ideas. Here’s how it works for me …

1. Questions

This is by far the best source of my content creation ideas. I get bombarded with questions all day long … from students, friends, social media connections, clients. If these ideas are important to them, they’re probably important to the rest of the world, too!

Even when I’m doing a podcast or video interview, I will be slyly making notes of the best questions people ask. This is pure content fuel.

Christopher Penn recently offered this content hack — Copy questions in the chat function at online conference events:

  1. Go to free virtual events where your ideal audience or customers hang out.
  2. Listen in to sessions where your product or service would apply, such as sessions given by your competitors.
  3. As questions are asked in the event chat, copy and paste them into a text file on your computer.
  4. Later on, find all the questions from the event and start creating content from them that answers those relevant questions.

I’ve been creating some short, helpful new YouTube videos. Almost all of them simply answer a question I’ve been asked!

2. How do I do this?

When I’m hosting a coaching call and my client is confused about the kind of content to create, I usually start here. What would happen if you simply peeled back the curtain and explained your world? How do you do what you? As an example, I’ve written posts on:

These posts are easy to write because it’s just an honest exploration of how you do your job.

3. Personal introspection

If you’re like me, you’re in a constant state of introspection and self-improvement. Why not admit that?

Showing some vulnerability can help create a powerful emotional connection between you and your audience. I recently opened up about my daily struggles with chronic personality flaws. This can be uncomfortable, but every time I dig deep and share something personal, I’m rewarded for it. The response is usually, “How did you know I was struggling with this too?”

Introspective posts don’t have to be negative. A few years ago I wrote about what it felt like to be famous for 24 hours.

4. Connecting the dots to your own life lessons

When I was starting out as a content creator, I was shy about sharing my personal experiences and stories. Why would anybody want to hear about me? The answer, I learned, is a lot of people.

Of all the content creation ideas, this is the one that’s so easy and effective but often overlooked because it takes courage to put your own stories into the world.

The most dramatic example of how far I’ve come with this prompt is my book Cumulative Advantage.

I added myself as a primary character in this book. This was a risk and a grueling decision, but people seem to appreciate my story and its relevance to the narrative.

5. Social media prompts

I love to engage in healthy debates on LinkedIn. People seem to love to challenge me there and I am getting a ton of content creation ideas from these discussions.

An example would be the recent post I wrote on the myth of short attention spans. This emerged from a LinkedIn discussion thread.

Where are people questioning you and challenging you? Twitter? Facebook? At work? How can you turn those healthy discussions into content creation ideas?

6. Who inspires you and why?

I have lots of marketing heroes. Martin Lindstrom. Jay Baer. Gini Dietrich.

And I’ve written about all them, sharing what I’ve learned from them. I’ve even written about teachers and bosses from my past and how they’ve impacted my approach to business. If you learned an important lesson from a hero, many people would probably benefit from that insight.

7. Avoid my mistake!

I think this is one of the most provocative headlines you can write. “Don’t let this happen to you!”

I’ve written extensively about my mistakes and life lessons over the years. These posts are easy to write because it’s a personal story and by definition, you’ll stand out because it’s unique.

8. Any new idea that makes you go “wow”

If you listen to the Marketing Companion podcast, you’ll see this prompt on display every episode! Examples would be:

If there are new ideas that make you go “wow,” chances are it will make your audience go wow, too!

9. Bust a common misconception

Perhaps this is what I’m best known for?

I tend to be a practical and realistic person. So when I see people getting too weird and navel-gazing about marketing I eventually flip my lid. Now, I want to be clear about something. I never take cheap shots and attack people. I attack issues. And I’m never provocative for the sake of being provocative. That does not earn authority over time. It becomes silly.

Examples of posts that took a stand:

I can understand why people would be nervous about putting a controversial position out there. But it is also a very effective source of content creation ideas if you have the boldness to do it. Always my most popular posts.

10. Leverage research

Another big source of content creation ideas for me is research reports. There is so much good research out there=, I’ll summarize a number of different trends and create a cool round-up post.

An example of this would be a recent post called Five facts indicating dramatic post-pandemic consumer changes. This was one of my most popular posts of the year, but I didn’t even put much work into it. Over a period of weeks, I simply collected interesting ideas and curated them into one solid post.

Final thoughts on content creation ideas

There has never been a more difficult time to create original content that stands out from the crowd.

But I hope this post shows there are amazing ideas everywhere! You just need to have the discipline to be aware of what’s happening around you, take notes and record them, and devote the appropriate amount of time to make content a priority.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of some of the world’s bestselling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Follow Mark on TwitterLinkedInYouTube, and Instagram.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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