May 9, 2017

How to Create Content

“A 2016 report by Spera found that more than one-third of millennials are independent workers, a number that is likely to increase. Some researchers even predicted that more than half of all American workers will move into the gig economy...

How to Create Content

“A 2016 report by Spera found that more than one-third of millennials are independent workers, a number that is likely to increase. Some researchers even predicted that more than half of all American workers will move into the gig economy within five years.”

I snapped a picture of that statistic from page 77 in the April issue of Southwest: The Magazine just five minutes ago while on a flight home from Texas. While our plane was in line to take off on the runway, I started scanning the magazine in the seatback pocket until we got to 10,000 feet in the air and I could open my computer and begin catching up on my writing. The statistic jumped out to me for obvious reasons—I help people start businesses in this ever-growing “gig economy.” I snapped a picture on my phone to save it for future use.

What use, you might ask? Well, anything really. See, that piece of information isn’t just a flat, one-dimensional statistic. It’s an idea—and ideas are never one-dimensional. They are multi-dimensional and what you can do with them is endless.

That one statistic can be built out into a blog idea about starting a business in the gig economy. (Which it likely will be.) It can be used in media pitches to give media outlets an angle to bring me on as a guest. (Which my publicist, Elizabeth, and I will try.) It can be a supporting point in a stage talk I give, a graphic on Instagram that I post, or inspiration for a new podcast episode. (All of which might happen as well.) It’s the seed for multiple content ideas.

I’ve written and spoken before about the role of content in your marketing. Marketing is the vehicle that drives sales in your business, and content is the fuel for that marketing. Realizing how important it is, people ask me all of the time how to create content for their business. Coming up with content is one of my natural strengths. I have a running list on my phone right now of over a hundred content ideas. I have ideas faster than I can write or teach them—and I have a team helping me! But coming up with content is also a skill that can be learned, so I want to give you three steps to create content. These can be applied in your marketing regardless of the type of business that you have.

  1. Be a noticer.
    Most of my content comes from life. I just notice things around me. Remember when I wrote about how to find your potential and told the story of the kid on the monkey bars? Someone else might have been on the playground that day and not thought anything of that. I not only noticed it, but I also saw a content opportunity there. There was a life lesson in that 30-second moment.
    Pay attention to articles, information, stories, statistics, and news. Any of those might give you inspiration for a content idea. And one of the best places to get content ideas is to pay attention to common questions people ask you. When you create content that answers common questions you receive, you know you’re meeting a need that your audience has.
  2. Capture it.
    Once you’ve got your idea, you need to capture it. This is so important! If it’s 2:00 a.m. and you wake up with an idea, write it down. If you’re at coffee with someone and they ask you a great question that you realize could be a content topic, ask for a moment to pause the conversation and save that idea on a napkin. When you’re on the playground and you see a cool moment between a mother and son on the monkey bars, pull your phone out and make a quick note. If you do not save it, you will not remember it. (And when you make a note, write down enough information so that you know what you’re thinking at the time. I can’t tell you how many ideas I’ve lost because I didn’t understand my own cryptic notes later! I had no idea what I meant or what I was thinking!) Trust me on this one. You’ve got to capture it or it’s gone.
  3. Build it out.
    After you find and capture your idea, you need to build it out. For example, each statistic, story, or question is not a one-dimensional piece of information. It’s an idea with multiple options that can be taken a variety of angles. It’s just a seed, but when you plant it, water it, and give it sunlight, it can grow into something much larger and more beautiful. It’s much more useful to your audience then. Most people enjoy flowers much more than just seeds! It’s your job to take that seed of an idea and turn it into a piece of content that does something for your audience.

These three steps are exactly what I do to create content. For example, here was my thought process this morning when I read the statistic in the magazine:

That’s an interesting statistic. That can be a blog post. I’ll take a picture of it.

I saw something that gave me an idea for an article and I saved it. People ask me all the time how I get content and that’s how I do it. I notice things, save them, and build them out.

Now that’s another content idea!

And now here you are reading this article about how to create content.

Over time and with a little practice, you’ll begin seeing content everywhere. You’ll get in the habit of capturing ideas and building them into something incredibly valuable for your audience. As you get better at this, you’ll begin to see multiple angles for every idea you have. You might even be on a Southwest flight and read a quick statistic, and that statistic turns into a blog post before you have to close your computer during your descent to your destination.

Content is everywhere. You just have to have the eyes to see it, the discipline to save it, and the determination to build it out.

Related Articles

Feb 27, 2020
How to Deal With Mom Guilt

My husband and I welcomed our first baby boy, Carter, into the world on January 31, 2015. As you can imagine, we were filled with...

Sep 24, 2019
Becoming a Confident Business Owner

Madison Hardy Dennis is a mover and a shaker, and she’s definitely making things happen! Her business, MHD Beauty, uniquely positions her as not only...


Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply to ez1019Cancel reply

  • Scottie says:

    Christy is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT about writing down ideas when you have them. You only have 5 seconds between when you have an idea and when your brain will lose it and move on. If you can train yourself to make a note when you have that “brain wave,” your power to harbor ideas and develops them multiplies like crazy! I hone this skill by always having a pen and tiny notebook in my back pocket, so I always have access to idea-scribbling. I go back to that notebook the next morning and expand on my ideas as much as possible in my journal. (Okay, maybe I’m not SO diligent on that all the time, but it DOES happen.) Work it!

    • Caty Winyard says:

      I LOVE the idea of carrying a small notebook and pen around! I might be the only millennial who does not like making notes on my phone. ? I also love that u expand on them the next morning in your journal! Such a great way to let those seeds of content marinate.

  • Erica G. Craig says:

    Love this! As a new blogger I have been putting similar ideas in to practice and I can really relate to reading my cryptic notes later and not having a clue what they meant! Lesson learned!

  • Linda Ennis says:

    Great advice! I have all kinds of ideas all the time – some a little far fetched but that is ok!! Sometimes I write them down, sometimes I don’t…then they are lost. I will be more focused in capturing these moments. Thanks for all you do! I am currently a builder of an existing business and a dreamer trying to decide on another revenue stream! Keep up the great work!

  • ez1019 says:

    I love using the news aggregator, feedly, to categorize “idea sources”, and when I find something I might want to use or write about, I send it directly into an Evernote folder that I’ve called “Potentials”. The sources I follow in feedly vary wildly – everything from financial website blogs, national political news outlets, Christian mom blogs, websites local/pertaining to my city, favorite authors, the US Government… you never know what will light a fuse!

    • Joanna says:

      Thanks now to create that folder on my phone. Yikes I got allot to learn about my phone I texted myself ideals and saying etc but forget the why allot. I got to get busy. Great ideal thanks