Or, how to make a mountain of topics out of a molehill!
One of the things my clients have the hardest time with is coming up with ideas for blog posts. This post will show you how to 10x any topic. That means if you can only think of 5 topics, you could turn it into 50!
There are various strategies to creating blog topics such as using the 4 W’s, but most people overlook how prolific you can be by talking about the same topic from several perspectives. Not only do you get to reiterate important concepts, you will also have a much easier time of coming up with a plethora of topic ideas. The key is to examine the topic in different ways. Here are 10 variations you can apply to any topic idea.
1. The 10 best
This could be the 10 best ways to do something or the 10 best versions of something.
Examples: The Ten Best Ways to Cook Broccoli or The 5 best Short Haircuts for the Busy Mom
Notes: Any number works, but 5-10 is best. Being specific is best to help users identify with the topic.
2. This or that
Compare 2-3 variations of the topic
Examples: Which is better for you: Broccoli or Kale? or Is a short or long hair style easier for a Busy Mom?
Notes: People love comparisons especially if they have an opinion. Controversial comparisons can work well, but be careful not to delve into sensitive or triggering topics (unless that is your goal)
3. Topic 101
A beginner treatment of a topic is a good way to attract the novice.
Examples: 4 No-fail Ways to cook Broccoli that anyone can Master or Color Theory for Beginners
Notes: Using terms like Novice, 101, Beginner or Noob/Noobie are a good way to indicate that this is a beginner treatment of the topic
4. “Hacking” / Shortcut
Our most precious resource is time! Users are always looking for a more efficient way to make something happen.
Examples: Kitchen Prep in Half the Time or Perfect Eyebrows Hack
Notes: Hacks need to feel secret or unexpected. Saving time, doing something better or learning something faster are all good candidates for “hacking”.
5. Expert guide or Ultimate guide or The secret to
Examples: The Secret to Amazing Salads or The Experts Guide to Choosing Foundation
Notes: Users love the sense of insider secrets to allow them to demonstrate mastery with minimal work.
6. The 5 steps to …
Describe a process.
Examples: 6 Steps to Organizing Your Home Office or 4 Steps to Improving Your Relationships
Notes: A number is important here – users want to feel that there is a defined endpoint. And a well-defined process gives users confidence without being overwhelmed.
7. List of (4 ways to …)
This is different from steps in that it is not a process. A list can be different ways to accomplish the same thing.
Examples:5 Herbs that will Improve Every Chicken Dish or 6 Things You’ll Wish you Did Before Travelling to Europe
Notes: A number is still important here – no more than 10 items to keep users engaged
8. Interview style or Q & A
This is a great topic idea if you have contact with customers and know what their concerns are.
Examples: 8 Questions That Always Come up in a Personal Injury Case or Interview with a Top Real Estate Agent
Notes: This is similar to the expert guide, but the format can be more conversational. Doing an “interview” with someone the user wishes they could have access to will create curiosity an engagement.
9. Story about
Create a scenario about someone using a product or service.
Examples: My Nightmare Parent-Teacher Conference (and how it worked out in the end) or I Lost my Luggage in Brussels – and it didn’t even matter.
Notes: Facts tell, stories sell! Well crafted prose is engaging and potentially a better way to convey information. Personal stories can create an emotional bond with the user. “Tragedy to success” stories demonstrate authenticity and provide hope for the user. It’s also an opportunity to have your company be the hero of the story.
10. Myth busting of Fact Checking
Find a common belief and show why its wrong – or right.
Examples: Is Broccoli Really Healthy? Our Search to Find Out. or New York City on $20 per Day
Notes: This also feeds the desire for users to express an opinion (even if its to themselves!). The key is to find one or more incorrectly held ideas and dispel them. It’s important to have your facts straight and not create additional myths!
One more idea to build your topic list: respond to user comments. These could be in the form of blog comments, emails, reviews or any interaction with customers. This is similar to the Q&A idea, but it does not have to be limited to a single topic. Depending on how many comments you receive, this could be a regular feature appearing every 3-4 months.