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Ever feel like you’ve run out of content ideas? Like you’ve hit a wall and have nothing fresh or interesting to say?
If you consistently write blog posts, email newsletters, podcasts, videos, or social media content, you may feel this unending sense of anxiety and dread.
“What do I write about now? What can I post that hasn’t been said a million times before? Is this it? Have I reached the end of my creative career? What am I even doing with my life?!?!”
I know folks who are making themselves sick and stressed because of this constant content treadmill. They don’t yet have the right mindsets or habits in place, and they’re burning out.
Good news. It doesn’t have to be that way!
As someone who’s been creating content consistently for nearly twenty years, trust me when I say: Not only can you overcome this common form of writer’s block, but it’s possible to generate relevant, high-quality content on a consistent basis.
In this MarieTV you’ll learn three principles that will help you become a content idea machine — turning casual readers into raving fans.
Once you’re done, scroll down for an unforgettable formula and a whopping 100+ writing prompts to help you plan 365 days worth of blog posts, newsletters, social media updates — even podcast and YouTube episodes!
Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo PodcastListen Now
And here’s the link to my SuperSoul Session on “everything is figureoutable!”
SERVE: The Quickest Way to Avoid Writer’s Block
Want to churn out a steady stream of content that’ll have your customers hooked on your every word? The following five strategies are your ticket to never running out of ideas. So you never forget it, these five content strategies also are an acronym — SERVE.
Why SERVE? Because the secret to long-term success is focusing on what you can give, not what you can get. Make your business about being of service; about contributing beyond yourself; about making a real difference to others and I promise, you’ll find endless topics to write about.
Even when you feel tapped out of ideas, there’s always another way to serve. There’s always someone who could use a helping hand, a reminder, a kind word, or encouragement along their journey.
SERVE stands for…
Solve a problem
Explain your industry
Reveal your secrets
Embrace your quirks
If you put your focus where it matters — on your customers — your content will become instantly more valuable and effective.
Generate A Year’s Worth Of Content Ideas For Your Blog, Newsletter & Social Media Posts With SERVE (& 100+ Writing Prompts)
As you explore each element of SERVE, take advantage of the 100+ writing prompts that follow. Write down any ideas, thoughts, or aha that pop up. They’ll give you a hit list of content ideas you can use for months and even years down the road.
Now let’s get ready to SERVE!
1. Solve a Problem
The easiest way to serve your audience is to answer their questions — big ones, small ones, and yes embarrassing AF ones. Comb through comments on old blog posts, social media accounts, forums like Quora or Reddit, even old emails from past clients. Identify what people are struggling with and step in with your knowledge, experience, and expertise to solve their problem.
Get started with these prompts:
1. What are 25 common questions people ask you about your business, product, service, or area of expertise?
2. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing for your audience — what would it be and why?
3. When it comes to your area of expertise, what specific mistakes are you constantly educating people about?
4. What false beliefs keep people from working with a business like yours?
5. What three books do you wish every one of your customers would read and why?
6. What expensive or heartbreaking mistakes do people often make when working with someone like you?
7. What are signs that someone is getting a good deal, product, or service in your area of expertise?
8. What are signs that someone is getting a bad deal, product, or service in your area of expertise?
9. How might someone save money, time, or effort by working with a business like yours?
10. Write a checklist your audience could use to produce an outcome they really want.
11. What are the top five hurdles people experience around your topic, product or service area, and what are the best ways to overcome them?
This is also a lens I look through when I consider a guest for MarieTV. When well-crafted, interviews with experts who can help your audience solve problems make for winning content. Stuck for ideas? Think about what books, podcasts, or interviews have helped you the most.
2. Explain Your Industry
Going to a concert is exciting, but going to a concert with a backstage pass makes it unforgettable (think about Beyoncé’s Netflix film Homecoming!). When you share the inner workings of your business, your audience will forever remember you as an expert they can trust. Don’t forget, your industry is often a mystery to the people outside it, and mystery makes for intriguing, memorable content.
Try some of these prompts:
12. What’s the most common misconception about your industry?
13. What breaks your heart about what you do?
14. What lights you up about what you do?
15. What’s your industry’s biggest controversy right now? Share your opinion.
16. Who’s your mentor? What lessons did he or she teach you?
17. What industry terms tend to confuse people, and how can you explain them in a way that’s really easy to understand?
18. Write a myth vs. fact post about your profession.
19. What’s the weirdest thing anyone’s said or asked about your business?
20. Is there anything you thought you could never achieve in your career or business… but you did?
21. What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received about your career or business?
22. What do you tell yourself you “can’t” do? Are you right?
23. What’s one positive thing someone said to you that changed your mind about something?
24. What are three major changes you’ve noticed in your industry this year and why is that important for your audience?
25. What’s the best customer service experience you’ve had and what did you learn?
26. What questions do you wish your customers would ask you?
27. What’s your most inspiring customer success story?
28. How did you get started in your career?
29. What are your dreams for your career?
30. Who do you look up to in your industry and why?
31. What was your first big personal or company failure and what did it teach you?
32. Which industry experts could you interview that would bring even more insight?
33. What predictions do you have for where your field or industry is going?
3. Reveal Your Secrets
We humans are hardwired for connection. That’s why our brains respond so well to stories. Share your secrets — the moments, the events, and the thinking behind what you do and people will feel more inclined to do business with you. This also makes for irresistible copy and leads to greater engagement with your audience.
Use these prompts for inspiration:
34. What’s a struggle you’ve overcome?
35. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made recently and what did you learn?
36. What do you wish you knew 10 years ago that you know now?
37. What’s a struggle you’re having right now that your audience could relate to?
38. What moment in your life changed everything? [or, fill in the blank. Everything changed when _________.]
39. What time in your life makes you wonder, “What was I thinking?”
40. What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever made?
41. Write about a time you faked something.
42. What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
43. What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
44. What’s the most difficult conversation you’ve ever had?
45. Write about a time when you should’ve said “no” but didn’t.
46. Write about a time when you should’ve said “yes” but didn’t.
47. What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?
48. What’s the most expensive lesson you’ve ever learned?
49. Have you ever done something ridiculous to fit in with a group of people?
50. Finish the sentence: “I’m still embarrassed about _______.”
51. What would you go back and tell your younger self?
52. Have you ever had a friend who wasn’t good for you?
53. What strengths do you see in other people that you wish you had?
54. What are weaknesses you have that you’re always working on?
55. Share a detailed behind-the-scenes about your typical day.
Secrets aren’t just about revealing your deepest darkest fears — they’re about revealing what you know, love, and use every day! Think about how much you appreciate that friend who gives the best recommendations about what to read, where to shop, and what music to listen to. Remember how quickly Oprah’s Book Club or Favorite Things became a hit!
This “Favorite Things” content writing strategy is popular for a reason — it gives people value while being endlessly customizable and unique.
I bet your audience would love to hear your answers to these questions:
56. What are you loving lately? Could be a single recommendation or a themed list.
57. Are you obsessed with a book, podcast, or quote right now? What about it resonates with you?
58. Roundup links to your favorite posts on a single topic or during a single week and tell us why we should read them.
59. Write about the tools you use (in your business or life) every day. What five could you never live without?
60. What Twitter profiles/blogs/podcasts do you think everyone in your field should follow?
61. What’s the best purchase under $20 that you made in the last 30 days and why?
62. What resolution do you make every year?
63. Which apps could you not live without?
64. When/where do you get your best ideas?
65. What five industry-specific books would you recommend to your audience?
66. What’s your most important habit?
67. What habit are you working on changing and why?
68. What’s the most interesting piece of scientific research you’ve read recently?
Help your audience visualize their future, fire up their imagination, elevate their ambition and define their core values with creative content pieces. This type of content is fantastic when people are primed for reflection, like at the start or end of the year.
Here are some prompts to get you started:
69. If you could put anything on a Times Square digital screen, what message would you share and why?
70. You have three wishes from a genie. What are they?
71. If you had half the time to do your job, what tasks would you delegate or get rid of completely?
72. If you could choose one age to be for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
73. If someone wanted a career like yours, what would you tell them?
74. If you could erase one regret from your life, what would it be?
75. If you had all your financial needs taken care of and never needed to earn another dime, what would you do?
76. If you could teleport to one place in the world, where would it be?
77. How would you survive during a zombie apocalypse?
78. If you knew you had three months to live, how would you spend them?
79. What’s on your bucket list and why?
80. What habit would you most love to magically acquire?
81. If you could pick a superpower, what would it be?
82. What natural talent do you most wish you had?
5. Embrace Your Quirks
You’ll find that some of your best content is hiding in plain sight behind your quirkiest traits or most nostalgic memories. For example, Everything Is Figureoutable — which is also the name of my next book, comes from a series of memories I had as a child.
Use the questions below to get your creative juices flowing:
83. What movie can you recite by heart every time it’s on TV?
84. Do you remember a commercial from your childhood? What was it for, and why did it stick with you?
85. How many times in your life have you moved? What did you learn from it?
86. What’s your earliest memory around money?
87. Can you remember the first dream you had?
88. Who was your childhood best friend? Are they still in your life?
89. What teacher do you remember the most, and why?
90. Do you have any superstitions?
91. Who or what was your first love and why?
92. What’s your favorite meal and why?
93. What family photo do you remember best? Describe it and what it makes you think about.
94. Do you have a favorite day of the week? Why?
95. Do you consider yourself “lucky”? Why or why not?
96. Do you have a great, totally useless skill?
97. What did you want to be when you grew up?
98. If you could invent anything, what would it be?
99. Tell us what’s on your bedside table right now.
100. What’s the wildest story you always tell at parties?
101. What makes you happy every time you see it?
Remember, creating content for the sake of content doesn’t help anyone. And it certainly won’t serve your business long-term. Stick to SERVE, and you’ll generate valuable, relevant content for the life of your career.
*Pro tip — bookmark this page so you have it handy the next time you experience writer’s block!
Now That You Have Content Ideas, What Comes Next?
These prompts are designed to get your creative wheels turning. You should now have new content ideas for your next hundred or so blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, podcasts, and/or vlogs.
But you may already be wondering, “How do I take these content ideas and make them relevant to my audience?” Or even more important, “How do I gracefully transition to a sales message or promotion?”
There’s an art to this. It’s nuanced and depends on a variety of factors including the selling context, the medium through which your selling (Email? Social media? Podcasts? Videos? IRL?), the strength of your offer, and how well you’ve established trust with your ideal customers — to name a few.
These are all elements we cover at length in our copywriting training program called The Copy Cure. It’s a writing program designed to help you write more powerfully, persuasively and in your unique voice.
We walk you through exactly how to take your best, most creative content ideas and make them highly valuable and high converting. You’ll learn how to captivate readers with irresistible headlines and write selling segues that feel natural and effortless.
Get on the list now to receive the 7-day free writing class and notification when we open enrollment!
What’s Your Favorite Way to Generate Content Ideas?
Now I’d love to hear from you.
When you get stuck on ideas for fresh content, what’s your favorite way to generate new content ideas?
Leave a comment below and let us know. Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. Hundreds of thousands of incredible souls come here for insight and motivation, and your story may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.
Important: share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments. Links to other posts, videos, etc. will be removed.
Thank you so much for reading, watching and sharing your voice.
As mentioned, when it comes to some important things in life like love, cheese, money, and — YES content — there’s always more where that came from.
Know someone who struggles to come up with new content ideas? Share this post.
With enormous love,