How to Constantly Create Compelling Content

All right, all right … we know that content is the grease that keeps the gears, pipes, levers and shocks of this relentless internet machine rolling down the highway.

The deal is, you make/write immortal stuff related to your business or ideas, and people will eventually find you, trust you and pay you.

The question is: Where the hell do I get the ideas for all this content I’m supposed to be writing?

The answer lies at a little-known crossroads that great songwriters, journalists, novelists, philosophers, scientists and poets have been driving to for millennia.

Listen in, we’re going to give you the map right now …

In this episode Brian and I discuss:

  • How to generate a constant stream of powerful content ideas
  • What to do if you feel like an uncreative, unoriginal dolt
  • Where “original” ideas come from and how to grab them
  • The two essential elements of all compelling content
  • Why loafing can make you a more productive writer

Hit the flash player below to listen now:

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About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter and Resident Recluse.

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Comments

  1. First thing I learned is that Brian is a bit of a history buff. Be an observer of life? Is it better to be a Socrates or a Sherlock Holmes? Perhaps a bit of both.

    Getting people to read it? Joe Sugarman (i.e. famous entrepreneur, copywriter and marketer) was a master at this.

    Writing 100 headlines is something I learned from Brian Keith Voiles. But folks like Clayton Makepeace also talk about a placeholder headline – you change it later by finding the real headline in a sub-header, etc.

    Randy

    • I think Clark needs his own show on the History Channel. And the Philosophy Channel. And the Neuroscience Channel. And maybe in his retirement, on the Lebowski Channel, man.

  2. Hi Robert,
    I try to make content interesting and engaging by using my personal experiences. You’d be surprised how many blogging lessons you can pull from real life experiences – so I make it a point to find creative ways to add my stories to my posts. It makes it far more interesting and gives people a glimpse into my life. That’s what makes it easier to connect with others.
    I definitely make a point to observe my surroundings for these lessons.
    The other great thing about my personal experience stories, is that I’m certain to get original content – that means I can still talk about generating traffic or improving a blog, but in a unique way that can’t be found anywhere else online.

    Thanks for the awesome audio clip and tips!

    • You bet Keisha, thanks for coming around. And you’re right, the personal-story-as-fascination is a powerful thing.

      • This post got me all pumped and excited because it just affirms for me that I’m on the right track. When you mentioned The Medici Effect – I almost screamed! I read that book last year and it totally blew my mind. It’s honestly the fuel for the way I write and gave me the confidence to continue crunching out blog posts with crazy titles like: Attract Readers to your blog like Mosquitos – a post I wrote after being attacked by mosquitos once day! I most recently wrote: The Walmart Guide to Increasing the Average Time Spent on Site – inspired by one of my time warp experiences at Walmart – I can never get out of that store!
        Anyway, enough rambling! Thanks again for this thought provoking post.

    • hey, You’ve said

      “I’m certain to get original content – that means I can still talk about generating traffic or improving a blog, but in a unique way that can’t be found anywhere else online.”

      That’s why I love reading your blog in the first place

      Are there other methods you’re using to find / craft original content ideas? :)

  3. Great stuff. It reminds me of a quote from Jack London in his article on writing — “Getting Into Print”

    “Find out about this earth, this universe …”

    London worked 18 hours in a cannery, spent time as an oyster pirate, spent 30 days in a penitentiary for vagrancy (talk about loafing), mined for gold in the Klondike, reported on the Russo-Japanese war, started a ranch and became heavily involved in politics.

    And you can see “shreds” of all of his experiences throughout his writing.

    Great podcast Brian and Robert. I really enjoy these.

    Russ

  4. Hi,
    thanks and very engaging. Any tips on the best way to do podcasts? My athletes seem to like the idea.
    Help is appreciated.

  5. Great post/podcast! Love how consistent Copyblogger is and the example of quality and frequency is sets for the rest of us.

  6. Really interesting interview! It’s hard to combine content with fascination.

    Brad mentions the importance of the angle we take to achieve the fascination component. I undertand it’s out there and that we need to observe, but are there any tips? How can we put this into practice? How is your observation brough to the text making it fascinating?

    May be too many questions.

    Thanks for the recording, I learned a lot (even if the fascinating factor is not that easy to me).

    All the best,
    Laura

    • Hi Laura,
      I have been working hard on this concept in my own writing and I can only speak from my own experience.

      For me, the skill here is the ability to stretch your mind and create analogies between the drier and perhaps difficult to understand concepts of your business and things that everyone (or some subset of everyone) totally gets.

      It adds color and creates curiosity when you make an analogy between something like American Idol, herb gardening or a speech by Abraham Lincoln when you are explaining a dry concept like best practices of managing your 401K or developing a personal brand.

      A post title might be something like “Personal Branding Lessons From The Gettysburg Address”

      Sheesh… I’d actually hate to write that post but you get my drift. It would be something that would really resonate with American history buffs and (perhaps) would be interesting enough for others interested in personal branding to be compelled to read..

      I just thought I would let you know how I approach this and I am certainly learning more and more each time I study and engage with Copyblogger and other writing resources.

      • Thanks for your feedback, Russ! Great tips you’re giving me. ;)

        Making analogies is a really good idea. So let’s make the title fascinating and then take it to the context. You even make it sound easy.

        • If I made it sound easy then I gave you the wrong impression. :) It’s been a real grind for me but it’s coming along.

          • ‘Sound’ does not mean that it is esay. It’s good to make things sound easy so you don’t scare people off. ;) Thanks again!

  7. Thanks, guys. I found this very helpful and engaging. I also enjoyed the various historical references. Your content is consistently among the best out there, so I guess you’re walking the talk. Nice work. Paul

  8. Another GREAT Copyblogger Radio episode! The only question I have is, don’t you think 2 weeks is too long to leave us neophytes out in the cold without any really, really good listening material?

  9. My joy is writing and my intention is creating income through IM. Thank you for fun, creative ideas on balancing both.

    Lately, I’ve been experimenting with my daily routine. I have a small list of “daily disciplines” & I also build in that “goofing off time” that invites creativity. I’m learning firsthand the truth in your statement, “It’s literally fun if you let it.” :-)

  10. Guys – just want to say this is by far my favorite podcast.
    Love it – especially the funny cold opens into the cool theme music. This is coming from a recovering TV producer.

  11. Thanks for moderating that last comment out….that was just silly, I don’t know what got into me! Sorry…

  12. Listening and Loving the latest pod cast, but I can’t help but let you know it’s not pronounced MEH DEE CHY (PHONETIC) IT IS MEH DEH CHEE (PHONETIC). (like medical)

    Just saying….

    Wendi Cooper (Maronati)

  13. It’s simple the way I see it; the more you experience, the more you can write about. The more you write, the better a writer you become.

  14. I am getting ideas from the social networking websites. These social websites are the great source to get new ideas and opportunities.

  15. Great information and yes I think its really tricky to make one’s content interesting all the time, certainly its an area that I struggle in. I find by using personal experiences or those of friends and family hopefully you get a unique touch that helps

  16. Wow. Thanks for the share. Content production is among the usual roadblocks that people get when they build their sites. Would be looking forward for more from you.

  17. Great stuff. Enjoyed listening. Content is the king and it determines the success of our Social Media efforts to a large extent. The audio provides some useful guidelines as to how to come up with some fresh ideas each time we start writing something. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I always have to listen to your shows with a pen and pad of paper. You wake me up to things that I’m missing and charge up my creativity…thanks, as always!!!

  19. Great show Robert and Brian!

    I love the quote, “Bad artists copy. Great artists steal.” I’ve never heard that one before – I’ve been under a rock obviously.

    Brian is completely right about creativity coming out of unexpected places. I have to carry a little note pad with me, I’m ol’ skool, because too frequently an idea pops (sometimes explodes) into my head and if I don’t get it on paper…

    Thanks – Theresa

    PS: Looking forward to the Authority Rules webinars. : )

  20. Hello gentlemen,

    This is a very timely podcast for yours truly. Thanks for the nudge.

    (Also, you guys are hilarious.)

    -Adam