Ever felt like you’re running out of ideas for your blog? Content creation can sometimes feel like a well that’s drying up. You may not know it yet, but you’ve got a treasure chest full of ideas waiting to be unlocked in your existing content.
It’s time to learn how to turn one existing piece of content, such as a blog post into 50+ ideas that will position you as an expert in your niche
I’m going to talk about this process in two ways: a 60 minute manual way and a 60 seconds way and if this one interests you, there’s a short video and bonus for you.
Instead of making up content to demonstrate, I took a blog post from my client Elizabeth H. Cottrell who is the author of the book HeartSpoken: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage and Inspire.
I randomly selected one of Elizabeth’s blog posts for this exercise: Self-awareness is NOT self-indulgent!
Manual Way — Approximately 60 Minutes
Take your blog post and read it. Look for some patterns. If you’ve printed it out, use a highlighter to mark these patterns, otherwise, write it down on a piece of paper or in your digital notebook.
Step 1: Identify Key Themes in Your Blog Post
Considering this blog post is about a journey of self-discovery, where you explore personal emotions and tools like journaling and reading. The key themes or patterns here might be
- emotional awareness,
- and specific tools for self-reflection.
Step 2: Generate New Topic Ideas
Using these themes, you can now brainstorm new sub-topic ideas. Just write and keep writing. Don’t edit or censor any ideas at this point.
Imagine your customer lands on one of our blog posts, reads it and then sees the comment section. They start to write a comment or question. This can become a new sub-topic idea.
For this example, I “landed” on Elizabeth’s blog post, read it and had some questions. If I were to type these questions in the comments section on her blog post, this is what I’d write:
- You mentioned that for years you didn’t prioritize connecting with yourself. Was there a specific event or realization that sparked this change?
- How did you come to find that journaling, meditation, and reading were your preferred tools for introspection? Did you try any other methods?
- When you talk about reading and thinking about your life through the lens of a book’s characters, are there any specific books or characters that deeply influenced your thoughts?
- How do your children react to this new journey you’ve embarked on? Do they notice a difference in your perspective or approach to life?
- The term “Heartspoken Life” is intriguing. Can you explain a bit more about what that means to you?
- Are there certain times of the day or routines you follow when it comes to your introspection practices?
- What advice would you give someone who might be in the same position you were in years ago, feeling like self-introspection is a luxury they can’t afford?
- Have you encountered any challenges or obstacles in this journey of self-discovery? If so, how did you overcome them?
- Moving forward, are there any other aspects of self-awareness or growth that you’re hoping to explore?
Sounds like an interview right? This process can work for a podcast, video or a blog, because it’s conversational.
In case you didn’t know, anytime you get a comment on a blog post or social media post, THAT’S A CONTENT IDEA.
But not just any content idea…it’s a hot topic, because someone is asking you a specific question or making a specific comment on something you wrote.
They are engaged and interested. This is Gold!
Step 3. Select the Top 5-10 Sub-Topic Ideas from Step 2.
From the original blog post, I selected 5 new sub-topic ideas. Normally I’d choose 10. Questions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 made the cut and are identified below.
Question 2 intrigued me, so I came up with an extra idea for that one (2b).
- 1. From Disconnect to Self-Discovery: How a Pivotal Moment Changed My Outlook on Self-Connection.
- 2a. Finding the Right Tool for Introspection: How I Navigated Various Methods Before Settling on Journaling, Meditation, and Reading.
- 2b. The Role of Journaling in Self-Discovery,
- 7. Creating a Routine for Reflection: My Daily Practices for Staying In-Touch with My Inner Self.
- 8. When Introspection Seems Like a Luxury: Tips for Prioritizing Self-awareness with a Hectic Schedule.
- 9. Overcoming Roadblocks in Self-Discovery: Challenges I Faced and How I Pushed Through Them.
Step 4: Expand on Each New Sub-Topic
From each of these new ideas, you can then brainstorm 5–10 additional ideas or subtopics. For instance, from sub-topic #2b “The Role of Journaling in Self-Discovery,” I came up with another 5 ideas:
- Finding the Right Journaling Method for You
- Top Prompts for Self-Discovery Journaling
- How Journaling Can Improve Your Mood
- Journaling as a Tool for Stress Relief
- Tips for Consistent Journaling
Repeat the process for each of the new topics you’ve created.
Here’s some math to consider:
- 1 blog post
- 10 Sub-Topics ideas from that 1 blog post
- Then 5 additional ideas from each of the 10 sub-topics
- Equals 50 new topic ideas
The number of ideas you come up with is “almost” endless. I say almost because I’ve gone down the rabbit hole a few times and now I set a timer and stop regardless of how many I came up with.
Let’s Hear Some Objections I’ve Received Teaching this Method:
Objection: Why should I bother brainstorming blog topic ideas like this?
Answer: Well, besides saving you time and energy having to come up with fresh ideas, this helps position you as an expert in your field.
Argument: but this takes so long!
Answer: Yes it does, it took me an hour for this process, but granted, I’m not an expert in Elizabeth’s field. That’s a lie, it took me 90 minutes because when I started thinking of journaling, I went to Amazon looking for a new journal and ended up buying a Rocketbook. 🤗
Objection: Won’t people get bored reading about the same old thing all the time?
Answer: Not if you repeat this process for your other blog posts and mix it up.
For example, if your blog is about DIY fancy desserts, and one main blog post is making strawberry cheesecake.
Going through this process gets you at least 25–50 more ideas. But writing 25–50 consecutive blog posts about strawberry cheesecake may appear repetitive.
Other related topics could be the bakeware you use, the types of strawberries, full-fat vs half-fat cheesecake etc.
Ideally, you want to repeat this process for your other blog posts so the content is varied.
Imagine what your blog will look like in 3, 6 or 12 months, you’ll see a pattern for the “content themes”, but because your mixing up the content topics using other blog posts, it will be anything but boring.
You can re-frame it like this: When my ideal customer thinks of [your niche], they think of me as an expert.
I’m really excited to talk about the 60 Seconds Way — this technique that I’ve been working on for a couple of months did it for me.
The 60 Seconds Way
The solution: Enter AI as your Personal Assistant
Specifically ChatGPT (but it will work in Claude.ai and Google Bard), please don’t roll your eyes.
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share a super-short story with you to help explain some things.
People with ADHD are so creative, they’d never have trouble coming up with ideas. ADHD makes creative thinking and organizing my thoughts extra challenging for me.
- I would often get distracted while doing research,
- couldn’t hold focus for more than 15 minutes,
- always exhausted,
- I couldn’t make sense of my notes,
- and there were points where I didn’t bother writing.
Being a nerd (and proud of i), when I learned about AI (long before ChatGPT was a “thing”), I played with it, and found that for brainstorming, basic research and creating initial outlines, it saved me a good 1–2 hours of time and all the crap points above, weren’t as bad.
But then when it came to expanding on ideas and wanting to do certain things with existing content, I became overwhelmed. Even though I knew, I just had to break things down into smaller chunks.
Those systems were based on templates and didn’t have much flexibility.
When ChatGPT appeared, I jumped on that so fast (cause I love trying new things) and after trying it’s first release, I knew this was it.
Screw templates that only allowed me to brainstorm using “the developers” frameworks, with ChatGPT, I could have a conversation with it.
Ask it questions, give it instructions, research topics, give me excel formulas and even check my grammar.
Back to the example I demonstrated using a manual process, let me show you how ChatGPT can speed up this process from 60 minutes down to 60 seconds.
Note: I’m giving you the basic information so you can try it. Writing the instructions for AI (called prompt engineering) takes a lot of practice, so you’ll start slow. But don’t worry, I have a video with prompts you can use for your own blog post, so no need to take notes.
Step 1: Log into ChatGPT
If you don’t have an account with Open AI, go to chat.openai.com and create an account. ChatGPT version 3.5 is free to use. If you find after using it for a while, that you see the value of ChatGPT as your personal assistant, you can subscribe to ChatGPT version 4 for $20 per month. The examples below are done inside of ChatGPT 3.5.
Step 2: Simply type a prompt, telling ChatGPT what you want.
Have a blog post ready and type into ChatGPT the prompt below:
I’m going to give you a blog post that I found. Pretend you are a reader of this blog post, can you come up with 5–10 questions you could ask the author to help you gain clarity about what she wrote. Write in a friendly, casual tone, no jargon, or flowery language: [paste the blog post here]
The output will look like this:
- #1 is the prompt
- #2 is the blog post that’s been copied and pasted
ChatGPT will give you a list of questions that it came up with based on the blog post and instructions you give it.
Step 3: Choose one or more questions and ask it for more ideas.
Prompt #2 — version 1 (one question at a time)
Can you take question 3 and come up with 10 more blog topic ideas the author could create additional content on?
ChatGPT came up with 10 additional topic ideas based on the 1 question I chose.
Prompt #2: — version 2 (multiple questions at once — this one isn’t as organized, but it’s faster)
Can you take question 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 and come up with blog topic ideas the author could create additional content on.
The output is different as it came up with just 5 additional ideas, but on 5 different questions. You can see how this might be more difficult to manage when it comes to organizing content ideas.
Why Use Two Different Prompts?
Version 1 of the prompt is easier to work with one question at a time. Because you can give ChatGPT additional instructions and it remembers everything in the chat session you’re in.
Version 2, where you’re asking ChatGPT to come up with ideas on multiple questions, could get confusing if you want to expand further on ideas it gives you.
Keep in mind that you can tweak the prompt to get completely different output.
Just explaining this can sound confusing. Maybe I should have asked ChatGPT to write it for me 🤣.
The best way is to try both the prompts and see for yourself which you prefer.
Wrapping it Up
By expanding on your existing content, you’re deepening the knowledge you share with your audience. You’re showing your readers and customers you have more to offer on the subject and that you’ve really done your homework. This reinforces their trust in you and can attract more visitors to your site who are looking for answers to their questions or looking for solutions to their problems.
ChatGPT and other similar AI models such as Bard and Claude can help brainstorm, create outlines, do tedious research and yes, they can even write the blog post for you. But these AI models aren’t you.
They don’t know who you are, what experiences you’ve gone through and how you got from where you were to where you are now. Use AI as a tool to do the heavy lifting. To help you be more productive or when you’re stuck for ideas.
Give it a Try
Take an existing blog post and run through the exercise and see if ChatGPT is something you can see yourself using as a personal assistant. It will take a little longer in the beginning if you’ve never used it before, but in the end, look at how much time you saved.
Is it worth it? there is no right or wrong answer, it comes down to this: does it work for you?
Until next time, stay inspired.