How To Generate 112 New Content Ideas In 30 Minutes | by Nicolas Cole | The start-up | November 2022

Dear writer,

  1. You’re not sure what topics to write about
  2. You’re not sure how to find the topics you’re credible enough to write about
  3. You’re not sure how to come up with compelling ideas on those topics.

To get there, we’re going to use The Endless Idea Generator framework.

It has 4 steps:

  1. Use the 2-year trial to find your topic ideas
  2. Add specificity to your topics to match your credibility
  3. Use 4A Framework + Proven Approaches to Generate Ideas
  4. Choose 3 ideas to write about in the next 3 days and get going

BUT — 1 quick rule of thumb before we dive in.

During this exercise, don’t allow yourself to begin judging the quality of your ideas. The goal here is to generate a ton of raw materials, knowing that you won’t write over 90% of them. And after this exercise, you’ll emerge with crystal clarity for the next few days of writing, which is all you need to get started.

Let’s go!

In Ship 30 for 30, the 3 biggest problems the writers have are the following:

  • “I don’t know what to write about.”
  • “I have an idea of ​​what to write, but I don’t know how to organize it.
  • “I have too many ideas to write about and I’m not sure how to narrow them down.”

These 3 problems are the main reason why so many people WANT to start writing online, but aren’t quite sure how (or where to start).

That’s why, from the very beginning, one of the big frameworks that we share with writers is “The 2-Year Test.”

Is that how it works:

Finding the broad topics you want to write about starts by asking yourself a simple question:

“What are all the problems I have solved and the topics I have learned about in the last 2 years?”

Why 2 years?

Good question.

Every beginning writer makes the mistake of thinking that you have to be an “expert” to write about something. They think they need to be Tony Robbins or Oprah for people to listen and pay attention to what they have to say.

But this is wrong.

The truth is that people don’t want to learn from experts. They prefer to learn from those who are a few steps ahead of them on the same path. And once you realize this, It’s a great creative unlock.

So, answer the question and download all the problems you have solved and the topics you have learned in the last 2 years.

Take them all out without judging.

With all this raw material available, you want to consolidate them into a handful of large cubes.

For example:

  • digital writing
  • Daily
  • Balancing side projects with a full-time job
  • Run, build and sell a digital course and community
  • weight loss journey
  • Audience building for beginners
  • digital leverage
  • General growth frameworks
  • Managing your personal finances in your 20s
  • Design of a life operating system (habits/frameworks/routines)
  • Etc.

At the end, you will realize: “Wow! Turns out I have a lot to write about!” That’s right, you do. Everybody does.

The 2-year trial reveals all.

From here, your goal is to reduce it to just 3 cubes.

And to do that, go through that list of topics.

Which of them jumped right off the page when you wrote them?

Lean on those topics and get hooked: that’s your sweet spot for writing.

Now to the next step.

The next big idea we introduce to people (all in just the first session!) from Ship 30 for 30 is the power of adding specificity.

You see, the secret to building yourself as a writer is not to pretend you’re some big “guru” expert. This is the reason why so many people have impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome, at its root, is the decision to try to be someone you’re not, which is really just another way of saying, “I’m going to try to talk about things I’m not ready to talk about.”

LUCKILY, there is an easy solution.

Here’s how to make imposter syndrome go away instantly:

Simply modify any topic you want to write about adding specificity to match your credibility level.

Remember the 2-year test: these are all the problems you have solved in the last 2 years. Now, you’ll take your topics and add a level of specificity that makes the audience you’re writing for the same person you were 2 years ago before solving the problem.

Pause for a second and look at it, it’s important.

You are adding a level of specificity to your topic that makes your target audience the person they were 2 years ago.

An example will help drive this home – here are 3 general topics, more specific:

  1. How to create a writing habit for complete beginner writers
  2. Daily for ambitious entrepreneurs who don’t write in a journal yet but know they should
  3. General Gold Nuggets of Wisdom for ambitious 20-somethings interested in personal growth

Can you see how it cuts a enormous number of people with these specificity additions?

That is the point.

This helps you generate ideas. specifically to solve the problems of your target audience.

To be specific, here are some levers you can pull:

  • By industry (X for healthcare startups)
  • By demographics (X for middle-aged women)
  • By physical location (X for Chicago)
  • By digital platform (X for Twitter)
  • For price (X free)
  • By distribution (X but delivery)
  • By problem (X but without Y)

Dial these up and down until you feel uncomfortably specificthen add one more level.

That’s when you know you’ve gotten specific enough.

Now that you have your themes, this is where it gets fun.

Finally, one of our favorite Ship 30 for 30 frames is the 4A frame.

Your next step is to take your topics and run them through the 4A Framework to generate headlines and ideas to write about.

Here’s the 4A framework in a nutshell…

You can express each of your themes in 4 ways:

  • Actionable (here’s how)
  • Analytical (here are the numbers)
  • Aspirational (yes you can)
  • Anthropological (here’s why)

Actionable

These are actionable and implementable pieces of content.

The reader should get a new perspective or instruction that they did not have beforehand.

  • tips
  • tricks
  • Means
  • definitive guides

Take your central idea and help the reader to put it into practice.

Analytical

These are breakdowns that involve numbers, frameworks, and processes.

Take your central idea and support it with numbers and analysis.

  • industrial trends
  • surprising numbers
  • why your idea works

Help the reader unlock a new way of thinking.

aspirational

These are stories of how you or others put your core idea into action.

  • lessons
  • Mistakes
  • reflections
  • underrated traits
  • How to start

Help the reader understand the benefits they get when they see the world through this new lens.

Anthropological

These are things that speak to universal human nature.

  • fears
  • faults
  • fights
  • why others are wrong
  • How have you been deceived

Create a sense of urgency so that the reader fully embraces your central idea or is left behind forever.

Remember: do not judge during this phase. Get all your ideas out there, because you want as much raw material as possible for the last step: choosing 3 ideas.

Now you’re sitting there with a bunch of ideas on the page, which means you probably have the problem of too many ideas to write about (which is better than having nothing to write about).

But many writers will fall into the trap of analysis paralysis here.

Here’s how to get over it.

Choose 3 ideas.

That is all.

Your next 3 days of content are the 3 ideas that resonate with you the most from that list.

And that’s all you can get out of these ideas (for now).

Because this is what will happen: When you start writing about your first idea (that idea that jumped off the page), it will feel effortless. And in the process of writing, more ideas will jump into your head.

When you press post on this idea, the feedback from the market will generate even more ideas (if you’re paying attention to questions, reviews, engagement, resonance, etc.).

This is the main point of the Endless Idea Generator: to get started write about ideas that resonate with you. And once you’re consistently posting them, it’ll be pretty obvious what to write about next. So grab your 3 ideas and get going! The rest will take care of itself.

Here is all you need to do:

  1. Do this by hand to get out of your usual environment.
  2. Get started with a massive 2-year trial brain dump
  3. Take the 2 or 3 cubes that most resonated with you
  4. Tailor specificity to match your credibility level
  5. Use the 4A framework to generate ideas
  6. Pick 3 ideas, then go live and iterate from there

Once you do this exercise you should have:

  • A short list of topics you are sure to write about
  • Hundreds of potential ideas
  • Clarity for the next 3 days

And if you want to implement these concepts practically and join a community to hold yourself accountable, we’d love for you to join the next Ship 30 for 30 cohort.

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