These prompts for content creators are perfect when in the planning stage for your next post.
For content creators, keeping an idea refined is a challenge. It’s easy to overthink your topic, and end up giving the audience too much exemplary information. I use these 10 Prompts with almost every piece of content I produce, and it helps me learn exactly where I want to take the idea.
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This episode is based off of my recent post, here.
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Transcription – 10 Prompts for Content Creators to Refine Ideas
Welcome to the InTakeCreate Podcast. This is a show for Content creators helping you think differently about content strategy, productivity and creativity is the whole and really helping the next generation of content creators to think about it in a healthy way.
Last week we dove into how Tim Ferriss built up his audience from zero, readers to the New York Times bestseller to an email list. That makes gargantuan Money. It’s a fascinating case study for any content creator to look at. This week, I want to look at myself because I’m selfish.
No, this week I want to share 10 prompts that I use to kick-start my writing and make sure my writing is going to help my readers. So I’ve got 10 prompts. I’m going to run through, give a little spiel about each one and really this is the Frameworks that I use. I run through these 10 prompt or at least I’m supposed to for all the content that I make. Just to make sure I’m going into it with the right focus and these prompts are so so helpful in helping me just get over writers block and not being afraid of blank documents.
But before we jump into that, I should introduce myself. I am Anthony. Started InTakeCreate. I really want to help make more content creators. Selfishly, I just want to make more content and experiment with content. So that’s what I’m here to do. This podcast itself is an experiment, my Twitter feed (@intake_anthony), that’s all I’m experimenting to on just building a personal brand. So you can follow me on Twitter – intake underscore Anthony, or you can follow intake create for everything that I published, thats intake underscore create on Twitter (@intake_create) or @intake.create on Instagram cuz I like to be confusing. So Share this episode of the podcast, tell your friends. As Mike Birbiglia, says, tell your enemies. This is it.
Number one – whats your idea in for bullet points? This really helps, you start simple this. If you have a general idea, maybe you have a title floating around in your head, maybe you have a concept floating around whatever you have floating, bopping around your head, just distill it down and put down for bullet points. By keeping it down to 4, you’re keeping it simple enough that your brain doesn’t just reject the notion of creativity.
You know, when you have a concept, you want to do. So you open up a blank document and you try to write and sentences are just… Sentences just don’t exist at that point in the process. If all you have is an idea or concept or a title or you in a keyword just hang out for bullet points. Its going to immediately seem like its a less daunting of a project narrow your focus to what you actually want to talk about. It is it just helps your for bullet points. They can either be talking points that you wanted make, counter arguments that you want to dismantle, jokes you want to make sure you include, or examples.
It could be a really basic outline that you already have in your head. Just tell yourself you need four bullet points and keep it simple. Full Sentences are overrated, when you’re writing a rough draft.
Number two, who is your idea for (and be specific)? We talk a lot in content creation about niching down. And I think, especially for early creators, the idea of picking and sticking with your niche is usually misleading advice. I really don’t think you need to be so strict and over think your niche right away. If you just start making content for six months or so you’ll fall into a niche that you enjoy writing about. You don’t need to hammer your head on the keyboard for six months. Telling yourself you need to niche down further and further. It gets distracting, and blocks up your content.
You cant make anything when you’re stuck in that. But a better question is asking for each individual piece of content, who is this idea for? So, who do you want to actually read this blog post? Who do you want to hear this podcast? Who do you want to see your YouTube video? Quickest answer. If you cant find an answer for this, easiest answer to go for is people who are on the same Journey as you the same path as you, but a few steps behind you do. For me? That’s content creators. Who are behind me in the Journey of just either, they haven’t made any content yet, they have always watched content and don’t know where to start or they’re – they feel stuck in their content. Those are the people I want listening to this cuz that’s who I can actually help.
At this point, I can’t really help a content creator with millions of followers and millions of dollars in Revenue. They probably know more than me or they’re just doing something really, really well. So if you focus your content to people who are behind you in the process. Its almost immediately going to be valuable and that way when you get stuck in your ideas, you can also just say what advice would have helped me a year ago and there you go. Content generation who is your idea for? Its not about finding your Niche but finding your ideal reader. What is the point? I like to talk about a lot is remembering the humans that are on the other side of your niche. The more specific you can be about a human, your writing will be clearer and the more valuable it will actually be.
And as we go as we make more content, the answer to this question gets a lot, a lot easier. Especially if we start building a little bit of audience or we start making friends or we have contacts in our Network. Easiest way to generate these ideas and to nail down near Target reader is to ask people manually. Ask a single person how you can help some Or if you have an idea you want to make a post about starting a podcast, find someone, you know, wants to start a podcast and ask them what will help. The second prompt – “who is your idea for?”
Number three, How will this post help them? Ideally we found our Target reader or at least a general idea of one. Now, you’re deciding how you want to help them. So are you solving a specific problem for them? Or are you just giving them new information? They might not know or are you providing alternate perspective to what they are normally looking at and that’s a big one for me. That’s a – that’s a big goal for InTakeCreate is just providing alternate perspectives to content creation and hustle culture if you want to say that. And if you don’t know what problem you’re solving, then you don’t have an idea.
You need to ask your readers. You need to ask yourself what would help you with a year ago. Your posts should be helping something helping your reader with something. Here’s a couple ideas to figure out how you can actually help for a sign to your content, how it’ll help. So is there friction in your life that can be simplified? Are there methods you use in your work? That makes things easier. If there’s friction in your life, find a framework, or a set of steps that you were going to take to knock out that friction, smooth it out and share, how you did that.
Share your process as you go. Even if you don’t see that that for sharing your process could be such valuable content to anybody, we underestimate how valuable we can actually be with our content. So by finding out exactly how you want to help the reader, you’re pretty much designing your hook without even trying to write post.
Number four. What advice has a reader already heard? So, now that you found the problem, you want to solve for your Target reader. And you have about four bullet points of your idea that you want to really talk about. You have to make sure you stand out. How do you stand out in your post when you’re solving a problem means finding that different perspective or declining your own angle. So most readers or viewers or less, they’re looking for answers, advice or experience.
If you offer the same results as every other page, there’s nothing that stands out. So someone Googles how to fix their, I don’t know – Lawn mower or whipper snipper – so someone Googles, how to fix the Whipper snipper. Chances are if they’re on the 4th result of the page and they’re being served all the same information, there is nothing sticking with them when they leave your page. I don’t know the brand name or the yeah, they don’t know the brand of the website that they were on, they don’t know, the author. There’s nothing you need to about it. Its all the same results that they’re getting elsewhere.
And when you make content to solve other peoples problems, you want them to think about your solution, not just the solution. Really simply, you can do some simple research, you can Google your keywords, Google your title. Look at related searches. State credit for the topic. See if its ever come up and questions people ask. Try to follow your reader or your viewer, follow the rabbit hole and find the advice that’s so common, but its missing a little bit of nuance, or its missing the mark. You have to try to offer new advice while staying on topic and relatable. You want them to remember you. And your Solutions.
Number 5. What advice are they over looking? So this is kind of building on number four because sure they’re getting a lot of repeated advice. That doesn’t mean its bad advice if its getting repeated, its because its valuable in some form. And oftentimes, important advice is overlooked by newcomers in any field to your target audience. That you could just simply re-frame some common advice and all of a sudden you open a whole new world of understanding for them. The really simple, you can clarify some common advice. You can add nuance to that advice or brand-new advice that work for you and you don’t see mentioned anywhere.
Number 6. How would a textbook describe your topic? This is a really fun one. So chances are, once you get through these five prompts before this number 6, maybe you’re over-complicating things. Those first five prompts could possibly have you over complicating, your topic. So number 6 is almost like a Midway checkpoint to reign in your focus again.
Just like how in the first step we had the 4 bullet points. Now, were coming to text book form and here’s what I mean by that. So imagine your post your video, your blog post, whatever it is. If it was an overpriced College textbook, how would that information be conveyed? So textbooks, they’re not designed for entertainment. They’re not designed to build an email list. They’re not designed to do anything else but they provide dense value and important definitions. Usually pretty plainly.
So if you lay out your post, as if it would fit in a textbook, you get your most important facts laid out almost hierarchical – word choice to use. I cant say that – you get like a hierarchy of sorts of your important facts laid out. maybe use in the order. You want to hit the, you discover areas that need further defining and terms, that may be too advanced for the reader you’re trying to hit. And so, the point here number six, how would a textbook describe it? This is to be boring about your topic, just plainly, lay out your top. Its okay to be boring when you’re still brainstorming because boring is usually a lot clearer than advanced.
Number 7. What would the textbook leave out? So with textbooks, they leave out a lot of an extra information. They focus on their chosen case studies. Sometimes they throw in some bonus facts. Nothing funny. Stories go a long way to show the research. They are also leaving out any sense of Personality or jokes or call to actions. So now kind of go through your idea or your concept and adding jokes or case studies, or personal notes.
Anything you want to add in that helps the reader connect with you. so, you have to make sure that you are being authentic for them, you have to make sure That if you’re adding any personal jokes to it, that you’re not taking away from the value or muddying a point, but you get to spice up the post and really make it stand up similar to earlier where you’re trying to stand out from the other results. They’re getting to the – specially for early content creators. People aren’t coming to us because they know where an expert in something. Normally, they’re coming to us because we popped up in a search result or recommended. So that’s your chance to pull them in. Add some extra bits to that boring textbook. That makes it stand out and makes it stick with the reader or the whatever content you’re making.
Number 8. What would your post look like as a fictional story? This is another one of my favorites. So try to take your post. You probably at this point. Have a pretty good idea. Maybe a rough rough, rough outline. Maybe that you’re four bullet points in the first one have expanded into a few more so now you take your post, take your concept and you just embedded into a fictional story, make all the same arguments, make all the same points but try to make it follow an arc of a story. You can even take like a classic Disney story and just follow that Ark. The best place to stay on the topic but to loosen up with it.
When were writing nonfiction we can get ourselves locked so tightly into rigid framework and structure and standards. But often abstract examples are the most effective way of teaching, it deepens, the reader of the listeners understanding, so much more. So by doing this practice of a fictional story, you can probably extract from that a lot of metaphors or similarities or analogies to really further your explanations. What I want your point – what I want my point here to be is to have fun with the idea. You got to follow some storytelling rules create characters to make the points for you. And see what you can pull out of that. Let your let your mind have a little bit of fun with the idea.
Number nine. What would the Readers first and Next Question, Be? So what would the reader want to ask after the first paragraph? What would they want to ask when they finish the post? Or if you’re making a YouTube video, what would someone probably asked? As soon as they got hooked in from your Or her writers after the first paragraph, your readers, probably going to be in one of three states.
They’re hooked into the rest of the post Hook Line & Sinker just all the way through or they’re overwhelmed. Then they’re leaving the post, they’re under Whelmed and they’re leaving the post. Notice how only one of those has been reading the whole post. so if they’re hooked, keep that going, If they’re overwhelmed, you might be dishing out too much information too early.
So you can either rework the introduction to gently guide them into the topic, or you can insert some definitions of explain that first paragraph before you go deeper, just to make sure everyone’s on a level playing Ground. Flow in your introduction. Down is the best op. Focus on your hook – focus on your hook and get the reader strapped in. But for some bigger topics overwhelm is a bit inevitable, so just try to define something. So for that one, you can walk away with knowing she just asked questions like a reader, but answer them like a writer.
Number 10, how can you help the info stick? Remember earlier, I said you want some to remember your answers, not the answers. This is what number 10 is for. How can you make your information stick with the reader when they leave the post, when they go back to the world and they’re facing the problem that they were facing? Whats going to make them remember your solutions to them? And I think this is where call to actions are supremely underrated and most of our content were using call to actions to get a subscriber, a follower, or get someone on your email list. This is all valuable stuff, don’t get me wrong. You can do any of that with this podcast right now and it will help me more than you can ever imagine.
Those generic calls to action Don’t get the reader to digest the information for either. So why don’t we use the call to action to get our readers or listeners involved? Tell your reader to send an email to you if they have questions. Suggest them to document their own fix and share it in their own post. Get them to join a community discussing. The problem trying to figure it out together, get them involved in the process and not just supporting you or thinking. You got to let your reader, join the team and tackle the issues together, not just overload them with info, and turn them back to the world. Every single other Google result will do that. Now, with that being said, I’m turning these 10 prompts back to you.
Intakecreate’s entire goal is to revolve around this philosophy of an engaging call to action. We want to help creators move ahead and their journey and just create more Well, you certainly can subscribe or follow or share. That’s helpful to us but its not helpful to you. Instead, we want our call to actions to take the form of problems like these. And we want your answers in public. Use the hashtag #intakecreate on Twitter. Create your own 10 prompts to really help you nail down your content or share your answers for these 10 Prompts.
If we all do this, if you just browsing the intakecreate hashtag on Twitter, will have so many prompts that no Creator in our community will face a block. And that to me is extremely powerful. So with that, I want to thank you for listening to these 10 problems. I want you to let me know if they help you. What can be different about them? How could they be stronger? And if they’ve helped you make your content, like I said, use that hashtag intakecreate on Twitter.
You can follow @intake_create for all of the content will be publishing here and you can follow intake_Anthony. That’s me, as I kind of build in public, as we go here and help content creators. All across the internet, especially on Twitter. Thank you for listening. Next one.