How to Find Unlimited Content Marketing Ideas
If you’ve got a side-hustle, you know the importance of content marketing. Articles, stories, and long-form copy are some of the most-evergreen ways to drive free traffic to your business.
Social posts are temporary.
But people will always search for answers. When you create specific answers to niche questions, you can leverage your content to build your email list or drive traffic to your product.
However, content marketing can be a real slog.
If you don’t have a limitless we’ll of ideas to serve your niche, it can be very hard to keep writing in one area.
Many side-hustlers burn out fast with content.
But that doesn’t have to be you.
If you give me ten minutes, I’ll give you the five steps I use to generate an unlimited well of content for my marketing. And you can too.
I get a lot of emails from new writers who are worried they won’t have enough to say. Remember, you don’t need an unlimited number of ideas to start. All you need is a endless content loop that will produce enough ideas ahead of your marketing calendar.
Five Steps: The SPMSC Formula
The SPMSC is a simple formula to ensure you’ve got all the pieces necessary to build an unlimited content well at your disposal.
There’s nothing worse than sitting to write and struggling for ideas.
If we want to be as efficient as possible with our content marketing, we’ve got to have our ideas ready before we write.
- Who do you serve?
- What problems to they have?
- What’s your magic formula?
- How can you solve that problem from a thousand different angles?
- Always carry a capture device and never lose an idea
We’ll dig deeper in a second, but the key point to remember is we must come to the work table with ideas in hand, if we want unlimited content.
The work table is no place to start naval-gazing and searching for today’s article idea.
Who Do You Serve?
The people you serve are your tribe. This is your niche. Here, with your content, you’ll go an inch-wide and a mile-deep.
If you want to gain traffic with content marketing, you’ve got to give specific answers to niche questions.
Your tribe is everything to your business.
We must know who we serve first, so we can craft our message to gather our audience.
We don’t want a random content plan. Instead, think laser-focus. With laser focused content, it’s easier to own your little niche.
With content marketing, you prove you can help your readers before you ask them for money.
Through your content, you give your tribe valuable tips and strategies to solve their problems, asking nothing in return.
If the reader wants more information, she might click the link at the bottom of your article and join your email list for a deeper-dive.
If you treat the people you serve with respect and deliver high-value, in turn, they will help you get what you want from your writing business.
What Problems Do They Have?
There are many ways to uncover the big problems in your niche. We want to solve only the big problems, as they are the ones that get the most attention.
You can search social media, Reddit, forums, or ask yourself (if you’re a member of your tribe).
One of my favorite ways is to write my readers and ask them.
But we can’t ask them directly. Most people can’t tell us what they want.
However, they can tell us what they don’t want. And through deduction, we can develop content ideas to solve their problems.
When you understand your reader’s pain-points and problems, you can tailor your content to attract them.
- What are they searching for?
- What life do they want to escape from?
- What do they want more of?
- What’s broken and needs repair?
- Who do they want to become?
Each of these answers alone is worth a lifetime of content.
What’s Your Magic Formula?
Here’s a secret: for this article I invented the SPMSC formula. This isn’t something I name in my work.
Instead, I created it in 45 seconds to make a point.
Developing a formula doesn’t have to be difficult. The steps don’t have to be 100% new either.
The only rules of your formula is that it’s yours, and the formula must be unique to your niche.
Your formula should be memorable
Our brains love acronyms and catchy phrases. We like acronyms that spell other words, as they are easiest to remember.
These little formulae are mnemonic devices to help us remember a paragraph-worth of information, using a few, catchy letters.
Not bad, right?
Also, your secret formula becomes yours.
Your formula becomes something of value. You can let it out in little bits, with simple definitions. You can dig deeper with webinars. And you can give the entire process in a book or course (or both).
We always want more of something we like.
This is human nature.
Which is great for content marketing.
When you’ve got a powerful formula, not only can you sell the secret-sauce, but you can write about it from multiple angles.
A Thousand Ways to Solve the Same Problem
We’ve got the audience. We know them well. We’ve got their big problem(s), because we asked them. We developed our secret formula for solving the problem.
Now, it’s our job to get specific.
Every person is unique. You can come up with a thousand different hypothetical ‘case studies,’ highlighting different situations, which all lead to the same problem (and same solution).
Let’s say I solve email list-building problems (which I do).
I can write about list-building for coders, mommy bloggers, tech enthusiasts, preppers, novelists, coders, side-hustlers, and anyone looking for more in their lives.
Each of the thousand case studies becomes a piece of content.
Each piece of content becomes a lead-generation tool for a very niche audience, looking for a solution.
You don’t have to make a new solution for each person. All we need to do is target them from their vantage point and sell them the same product we sell to the rest of our niche.
Content marketing is powerful stuff!
Always Carry a Capture Device
Your capture device can be digital, analog, or both. I use both religiously.
Our brains are designed to provide their best ideas when we’re in motion. This means we’re not at our creative best when we’re sitting still. Like when we’re actually doing the work of writing.
We need to gather our best ideas away from the work desk.
Whether you’re out walking, taking a shower, exercising, doing laundry, or even driving—our creative, subconscious is always humming in the background.
The point is, we can’t predict when we’ll get a great idea. The best we can do is ensure we don’t lose the good idea when we get it.
If you start capturing all your content ideas in real-time, as they come to you, you’ll have an ever-running list that never runs out.
Sure, not all the ideas will be good.
You can always (and you should) curate the ideas later, but never curate as you’re thinking. Capture everything in a little notebook, a file in your phone, a digital recorder in your car (I use this for hands-free notes) or scraps of paper off the cereal box—anything.
If you’re always capturing, you’ll never run out of content ideas.
I like to use disposable 3 x 5 notebooks.
When I buy fancy notebooks I’m too careful with how I use them. With the disposable ones I have a stack. I shove them in my pocket until they’re too damaged to use.
I keep a master content list in my phone, backed up to the cloud, so I can access the curated list from anywhere.
When I buy fancy notebooks I think my ideas are fancy and I find I’m less-creative than when I use disposable capture devices.
Your Content Plan
Using the SPMC formula, or any formula you choose, you can develop an unlimited string of content ideas.
Be sure to curate your ideas in a separate session, outside of the ideation phase.
Curation and creativity are two very different parts of the brain.
This well of content isn’t limited to articles either. You can use the same idea list for social posts, podcasts, videos, and later—entire books and courses.
Use your content traffic as a lab for future paid projects.
If a single article gets more traffic than the rest, you have an idea that resonates with your audience. Write more on that subject and you’re almost guaranteed to win.
Another important key piece of the content game, is a marketing calendar. Plan your publishing in advance.
You need a steady stream of new readers to replace the ones who leave you for whatever reason.
Have daily, weekly, monthly, and annual content goals.
When you keep a marketing calendar as part of your content marketing system, the production process becomes a lot easier. You’ll know if you produce so many pieces of content per week you can estimate a certain number of new subscriber (and new buyers) per day, with relative accuracy.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell more work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.