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How to Come Up With Writing Ideas

When I talk with people about how important regular writing is for any business, I often hear things like, “Where do I even start?” “Do I have enough to write about?” “Will people find my business interesting?” “I don’t have anything unique to say.”

Here are my responses:

  • Knowing how to start can be challenging, but once you have a general roadmap, it’s easier than you think. (Keep reading to find out more!)

  • You’ll be surprised at how much you have to say once you start the process. There are so many things that you know and have experienced that you might take for granted as obvious — but other people have not had the same experiences as you! So what you see as commonplace or mundane could be fascinating or enlightening to someone else.

  • Not everyone will find your business interesting. But that’s okay — your core audience or ideal customer will, and that’s who you’re writing for.

  • Regardless of what industry you are in or how many similar businesses there are out there, your business has a unique perspective and unique expertise. Because no one is exactly like you.

So how can you come up with writing ideas for your business? Here are a few brief steps to get you started.

1. Brainstorm

This is my first step for pretty much everything. When we switch off the critical parts of our brains and let the ideas flow, that’s when we can really start getting somewhere! I guarantee you’ll come up with plenty of ideas. Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What expertise do you have?

  2. What is your unique perspective or take on your work?

  3. What sets you apart from other businesses?

  4. What is your mission? Your vision?

  5. What are the processes in our business (production, human resources, project management) that have worked well for you?

  6. What are the lessons you’ve learned on your business journey so far?

  7. What are you curious about?

  8. What do you see in your future?

  9. What products do you have?

  10. Who are employees you would like to highlight?

Remember, these questions are just a way to get the ideas flowing. You don’t need to go through them in order, you can ignore the ones you don’t resonate with, and you certainly don’t need to be limited to these!

2. Create categories and organize your ideas

Look at all your ideas and identify different themes. Come up with 3-5 categories and organize each of the topics into them. For example, let’s say your business sells furniture. Your themes, or categories, could include the following:

  1. Our philosophy — why we do what we do, what makes our furniture different, our commitment to the environment, our commitment to our employees, etc.

  2. Our products — feature different products and explain how they can best be used, what makes them unique, what features they have, etc.

  3. Our processes — how do you get from a piece of wood to a finished couch, how do you choose your materials, what does the workshop look like, what is a typical day working for your business?

  4. Our people — highlight different employees and what motivates them, what they love about their job, why they work with you, what uniques skills they bring, etc.

I wasn’t planning on doing all ‘P’ words, but it just kind of happened! These categories not only help you organize your topics but can also provide a structure for continued brainstorming. For example: Are there any new products that we haven’t yet written about? Are there any employees who have yet to be featured? How has our philosophy been impacted by current events? And so on.

3. Break Things Down

Remember that each piece does not have to be super long. In fact, for many topics, there are advantages to being succinct. There’s only so much your audience will be able to take in at once. And when you get a reputation for being brief while also being informative/entertaining/helpful, that lowers the barrier/intimidation factor when it comes to taking the time to read your stuff. So break down your topics into digestible parts.

For example, maybe you want to write a blog about 6 lessons you learned in 2020. You can write one blog with an overview of the 6 lessons, then you can go into more detail on each of those 6 lessons in separate individual blog posts, then maybe have a wrap-up post that comments on your experience of reflecting on the year. That’s 8 blogs from one topic! If you’re doing one blog a week, that’s two months of content right there.

You better believe I’ll be doing a separate blog post on brainstorming — not to drag out content as far as it can go, but because I’ve just scratched the surface in this post and it’s helpful to our audiences to break things up. People can’t take in everything all at once. And, bonus, it makes it more sustainable for us as content creators!

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