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Zac Hazen Feb 25, 2022 12:00:00 AM

Content Idea Development in 5 Easy Steps

Creating new content every month, whether it be for social or otherwise, can be very difficult. Ideas may come easy in the beginning, but how does one tackle the dreaded creative block? Luckily, I’ve developed 5 easy steps you can follow to streamline your content idea development process. 

Content Idea Generation Process
My Content Idea Development Process

Do The Research

The first step I take when developing content ideas is to research my topics thoroughly. As Antidote 71’s resident content guy, I conduct content idea development for several companies within multiple industries. This could be very overwhelming if I didn’t have a consistent process in place. Understanding what’s trending and what competitors are doing in your industry is vital to creating and generating quality content. There are several ways you can conduct good research. I tend to gather as many articles on the topic as I can, research what industry competitors are creating and explore forums to see what questions people are asking related to the industry. Another thing you can do is ask your resident SEO expert to look through relevant keywords and see what content is ranking high for your topics. If you don't have access to someone with that skillset, there are numerous  SEO tools you can utilize yourself to discover what content people are searching for within your industry. I recommend implementing SEO research tactics along with good topic research to get the most out of the first step.

Digest Research in an Organized Way

Now that you’ve conducted solid research, it’s time to turn all this raw information into clear and concise points. No pressure, but It’s actually very easy to forget what you've researched. I can attest to this, so a good practice is to write the main points and ideas from your research down in an organized way. The image below is an example of research I conducted utilizing the first step and how I ended up digesting it. As you can see, I tend to save articles in my notes so that I can always go back to them. I sometimes even screenshot forum and social posts that may be valuable to my process later. I do all of this so that I’m digesting the information in an organized and helpful way. It's also important to label the resources I've gathered in order to remember why I saved them in the first place. Creative block tends to strike most often at this step, so how do you take your research and create your own ideas?

Take a Break… No Really!

Even if you’ve come up with some solid ideas in the last step, I still recommend taking a break. It may seem counter-intuitive but taking a break can be super effective when developing your ideas. It’s important to give your mind a chance to unconsciously process as your conscious mind takes a break. Some of the best ideas are formed when you least expect it!  When I take a break, I tend to walk around the office, grab a snack or talk to my colleagues to get my mind away from the process. Antidote 71's fun and flexible work environment really gives me the freedom to problem solve and ideate however I wish. Which is great, because often, I find myself getting the “Eureka” moment out of nowhere while on these breaks. Once the moment hits, it’s once again important to write it down as soon as you can.

Write Everything Down ASAP

A great idea can disappear just as fast as it appeared so it’s vital you write it down immediately. I’ve lost many great ideas simply because I had nothing to write or type it down on. Because of this, I always have my notes app on my phone ready to go in case an idea comes to me. It doesn’t even really matter if what you write down even makes complete sense. All that matters is that you know what it means and can remember your idea from the note.  For example, I recently did some content planning for a financial planning company and had an idea come to me while I was out running errands. Rather than try to flesh the idea out then and there, I simply typed out, “Am I getting the most out of my retirement?” When I got into work the next day, I took this simple statement and fleshed it out into a plan for a larger piece of content.

Execute and Start Getting Specific

If you utilize solid research and note taking, then you should have no problem creating your own quality content ideas on a regular basis. This process has helped me throughout my entire content career and my hope is that you will find it valuable too.