We live in the content creation era.
If you have services and products to promote, you need to be in the content creation game.
And the content creation game is overwhelming. It’s difficult. And it never ends.
Whether you’ve just hopped on this content creation train or if you’ve been riding these rails for a while, you will inevitably struggle to come up with new content, new topics, and fresh approaches.
There are only so many things you can say about your area of expertise, right?
If you’re a fitness expert, there are only so many things you can say about squats.
If you’re a tech security expert, there are only so many things you can say about passwords.
If you’re a productivity expert, there are only so many things you can say about morning routines.
And on and on.
If you’re feeling burned out and struggling to come up with new approaches to your content, allow me to share how I brush away the brain cobwebs and come up with new and enticing angles.
First off, stop trying to come up with new topics.
You likely know your main categories and subcategories of your expertise.
For example, in my business, some of my main categories are:
And within each of those categories, there are subcategories, like for Public Speaking there’s:
But when you ask yourself, “What else can I say about this topic?” and your brain replies with “NOTHING!,” then it’s time for a new approach.
Instead of brainstorming a list of topics to write about, I have found it wildly helpful to brainstorm my reader list.
By creating your reader list, you aren’t asking yourself, “What topic should I write about?” Instead you are asking yourself, “Who specifically would I like to write for?”
This approach aligns perfectly with the philosophy of influence I’ve been preaching for some time now.
Don’t start with the question, “What should I say?” aka “What should I write about?” That will almost always put you on the influential back foot. Your better question to start off with is, “What do I need to know about the person I want to influence?”
Influence doesn’t happen in a void. There has to be the influencer (you) and the person you want to influence, in this instance, your reader(s).
Creating content feels like it does happen in a void because you’re not really talking directly to someone. They’re not right in front of you. However, when you get into the mind of your reader first, you will create content that feels like a powerful conversation.
So, let’s talk about how you can generate your reader list to help spark some fun and new ways to approach your content.
Option 1: Write for Someone You Know
First, think about the people in your life – friends, family member, clients, etc. What problems are they facing? If you could help them out, what would you tell them?
Often times my articles start out as letters to someone I wish I could help or venting about something someone did that bugged me. The first draft is always raw (aka more emotional with a whole lot of curse words). Then, through the editing process it becomes an actual article.
Tim Ferriss says that this is how he wrote his first book, The Four Hour Workweek. Tim had a friend who was grinding in the 9-to-5 world. So, he wrote the book to that specific friend. It was all the advice he would tell his friend to help him create a lifestyle to have more freedom and money. And, hey, it worked out pretty well for Tim.
Option 2: Solve the Specific Problem
If you don’t have someone close in your life who is dealing with an issue that you can help them with, then option two might be for you: Think about problems or specific scenarios your readers might be trying to navigate through, then write about that specific issue.
For example, let’s say you’re a productivity expert. Obviously, one of your main topics is how to get more done in less time. You’ve probably written about that ad nauseum. The principles are the same no matter what, so you’re feeling burnt out writing about those principles. But let’s take a look at how you could change it up when you create your reader list.
You could writing about how to solve productivity issues for:
- A single mom who works full time
- A grad student working on their thesis and working a part-time job
- A CEO who hasn’t taken a vacation in 5 years
- Someone who is job searching
With each article, you would have subtle changes to your advice that would make it feel personalized to your reader. The goal is for them to think, “This is exactly what I need. This person is talking directly to me!”
The added beauty to this is that you can easily repurpose the content you create. With each reader “niche,” you can share the article in LinkedIn groups, facebook groups, sites, magazines and forums where that particular reader hangs out to get helpful information. So, now you’re creating fresh content and expanding your market reach. Double bonus points!
Option 3: Write for Someone You Don’t Know!
Your third and final option is to write directly to someone you may not know personally. This would include your favorite celebrities, public figures, or even fictional characters. Who do you listen to or watch regularly? For me, one of my favorites is to listen to the Joe Rogan Podcast when I’m driving, cleaning, or taking a lunch break. I’ve written a few articles based on something that I observed while watching his show on YouTube. I’ll disagree with something someone says or I’ll notice something interesting in the conversation or body language. Then, I’ll write an article to that guest or to Joe himself.
Starting an article’s rough draft by talking directly to someone makes things SO MUCH easier than trying to talk to the faceless masses of your readers.
Some of the people I’ve written articles “for” include:
- Joe Rogan
- Jennifer Lopez
- Bill Burr
- Gary Vaynerchuck
- Even fictional characters, like Frank Underwood
No one has to know who you started writing an article for. That gets chiselled out in the editing process.
By choosing a specific person to write for, your content and personality will flow much easier, and you’re less likely to get stuck with the thought, “I don’t know what else to say.”
Break out of that content creation block by asking yourself, “Who specifically do I want to talk to today?”
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