How to unlock countless content ideas in one hour
Do you remember the feeling you got when you had that deadline for a project but you could not, for the life of you, come up with a single idea for it? Remember how desperate you got before you managed to find something to do at the last minute?
Most newbie bloggers go through this at some point. You run out of ideas or you don’t think you have enough to say but you MUST write. Or you will miss your deadline and not get anything out.
If you want a quick fix and to get an idea for your next post, you could use a Blog Post Title Generator like this one or look at this blog post by Olivia.co. This can help you get out of a tight spot and you will have something for your next post, but…
Wouldn’t it be better to spend a little bit more time and fill your content calendar for the whole year?
Keep reading to find out how, in one hour, you can come up with a year’s worth of content ideas and turn your readers into customers.
[Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may include affiliate links. This means that I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you.]
The biggest content mistake bloggers make
The biggest mistake bloggers make when they start is not having a content plan. And I don’t mean that you don’t have enough ideas to fill your content calendar so you always have something to write. I mean having a content plan that supports your business goals.
It is not good enough to write about the next thing that tickles your fancy or something that is trending if it’s not aligned with your business goals. And let’s be honest, the main goal of a business is to make money.
By creating the “right” type of content, you draw the right traffic to your website. Because getting the wrong traffic to your website is useless, no matter how large the traffic.
And getting the right traffic to your website but failing to turn them into paying customers is also a waste of your time. So focus on creating the content that will help you make money.
A couple of days before I was scheduled to create my content calendar for the year, this book fell into my lap, or rather my Kindle. Call it serendipity!
It’s a book written by Meera Kothand, a mom and freelance writer turned email marketing specialist that has a knack for simplifying anything to do with blogging and online marketing.
Meera claims that the book will not only “unlock countless content ideas” but “make your content work harder for you”, so I was intrigued. I have been reading her blog posts for a bit and know her advice is always sound. So I got the book and read it and thought I’d give it a go.
1 hour and 12 minutes later I had a spreadsheet with content ideas that will take me through the next year and a half, minimum. Yes, I spent an extra 12 minutes but that’s cos I changed a few things to do it my own way. Plus another hour that I spent reading the book.
What’s in it?
Here’s the Table of Contents so you can see at a glance what Meera has included in the book.
It will not take you long to read the book but it’s jam-packed with information. And just the fact that all this information is packaged in a handy little book is a great time-saver.
TIP: Schedule a couple of hours to go through the book with no distractions.
Yes, it takes about an hour to do the exercises but you still need some time to read the book. And I’d advise you to read the book first and then work through it to make the most of it.
If you want to know what Meera has to say about the book, you can click inside the book and read the introduction yourself.
How to create your content plan
I am not going to go through the whole process in detail because I can’t summarise everything in this blog post. It wouldn’t be fair to Meera to give you too much detail anyway. So I will just focus only on a few things.
But before I go into the nitty-gritty, there’s one thing I must emphasise: Meera doesn’t just help you come up with dozens of ideas that will keep your content calendar full for a year or more. She makes sure that every piece of content you create has a purpose and that it is aligned with your goals.
How I did it
Most of the time I work online and use Evernote and GoogleSheets to keep my notes and organise my ideas. In this case, however, I wanted to be able to move things around as I was doing my thinking. So I grabbed The One Hour Content Plan, a notebook and started going through the book and the Bonus file. You can download the Bonus file when you get the book.
You may find that printing the Bonus file and writing on it works better for you though. Or you could try something like Real Time Board to plan it.
Then, I wrote my topics for each category in the notebook, one page for each category, and each blog post idea in a sticky note and stuck each sticky note under the right topic.
Some things I did differently
In The One Hour Content Plan, Meera shows you how you can use your content ideas to promote your stuff. She helps you organise your ideas in a way that will move your readers from the “I didn’t even know there was a problem” bucket, to “I am aware x is a problem”, then to “I want to hear more from you and your products”, to “I want it but I have some questions” before finally getting to “Here’s my money, please take it”.
This also shows you which blog posts from your content plan you should prioritise.
In my case, I have no product and offer no services at the moment. We’re nearly in Q4, so my goals are to produce one post every couple of weeks, more if I can, and try to monetise some of my content through affiliate marketing before Christmas while I drive traffic to my growing blog.
Here’s how I used it:
After I stuck my sticky notes in the notebook, I picked three coloured pens: one colour to mark ideas I can add affiliate links to; one to mark “urgent” ideas to do before Christmas and one to mark evergreen content. I then scheduled these for the next few weeks in a spreadsheet.
The point is that some of these posts will, hopefully, bring me some income in the next few months. I will also have some evergreen content that I can add to my evergreen queues in SocialBee as well as some ideas to take advantage of Christmas and Q4 promotions that will also work for the rest of the year.
Here’s what my schedule until the end of December looks like:
10 types of blog post you must write
First, Meera teaches you how to come up with lots of ideas. Then she shows you the types of posts you should use to feed each of your ideas. And it’s not just coming up with a different headline for the same thing.
It’s about making the most of what you write. Everything has a purpose. And this also links to your goals.
For instance, the purpose of Myth posts is to establish your expertise.
So you can write a post called “7 myths about yoga”.
Once you have that you write something similar to the following series of posts:
- “10 yoga postures to help your back pain”
- “The ultimate guide to beginner yoga for back-pain”
- “How I got rid of my back pain thanks to yoga”
- “How you can cure your back pain in only 15 minutes a day(with this video course) “.
See how it works? Using the book and the Bonus file make this a really simple process. Or you can do it like I did and use sticky notes to move things around.
Applying it to what you do
One thing I like about Meera is that she takes into account that you need to be yourself. You can easily adapt Meera’s examples to fit any niche, as you saw above.
This is something that makes it a great book for newbies.
Plus she doesn’t just talk about coming up with ideas. She also helps you to figure out what your brand voice is (Chapter 9). And she even shows you how to improve your blog posts (you MUST READ Chapter 11).
My next steps
I already scheduled lots of content ideas for the next 3 or 4 months. But I haven’t scheduled the rest of ideas for the year. Don’t worry, they’re all in my spreadsheet.
Priorities change and my goals for each quarter will change. Therefore, I want to be able to add a post here and there and be a bit more flexible. Or I might prioritise one of the products I support.
They are still in my GoogleSheets, and I organised them by topic so:
- I can organise them into a series because this will save me time creating freebies for my email list
- I can turn them into a small digital product later on without much effort
- I can make the most of affiliate links when I write about the products I love
- It’s easier for me to make them fit with quarterly goals
YOUR next step
If you are an entrepreneur that needs to create content, get the book. And not just for blogging.
Meera wrote this book for bloggers. But you can also use it to create posts for your Facebook Page, Google+ or Slideshare, even your emails.
By the time you finish, you will have a series of posts and emails that will help you make sales. And you will do it without sounding like a second-hand car salesman.
Still not sure if this is for you? Just answer these 3 questions:
- Do you struggle to come up with ideas for your blog posts every week?
- Do you want to be more intentional and increase the money you make with your online business?
- Would you give one hour of your time to make more money with your blogging?
Answered any of these with a yes? Then why don’t you check out the book reviews and see what other people think? Don't just take my word for it. It's a best seller!