how to come up with content ideas

So you are ready to build that know, like, trust factor for your Small Business by creating some Content. But there is only one problem: you have no idea what to create! You’ve tried the brainstorming techniques, but are coming up dry.

In this blog post I’m sharing my method for generating content marketing ideas by stepping into the shoes of my ideal customer and walking in their footsteps from first discovering my business to actually buying.

There are 3 Stages of the Customer Journey you want to create content for.

how to come up with content ideas Stage No. 1: First Impressions

This is the stage you will be creating the most content for as this is the content you will be spreading everywhere. It will be on your social media accounts, on your blog or podcast and in your ads.

The purpose of this content is to intrigue and excite your audience.

You want to keep two things in mind at this stage:

The Content should Meet them Where they Are at Now

This is the first impression after all! You want to create something that answers the questions that people are always asking or searching for online. Often these are simple “How to’s” or “Ideas for” or “X Steps” or “Top Tips”.

They are the broad strokes or the “exciting” things.

The Content should give them a Quick Win

If you can solve an immediate problem for someone you are onto a winner. Your audience will have a sense of accomplishment and this will help you gain their trust. They will also be more willing to go back to you another time as they know your content is actually helpful.


An example of how both of these apply is my post popular blog post: “54 Ways to Promote your Small Business for Free“. I’ll be honest, at the time of writing it I thought it was just so surface level and just something I could create quickly to get up that week. But it’s proven to be a hit.

Why? It meets my audience where they are at. Small Business owners want to know how to promote their business and they have limited budgets. While I personally believe this isn’t necessarily the first step a business should take (I believe that foundations and content should come before any major promotions), my audience is thirsty for this information first.

It also gives them a quick win because it gives them a number of ideas they can start to use today. This list is long enough that there is something for everyone.

It doesn’t matter if it is content that you have seen 1000 times before. All that content exists for a reason! People are interested and they will keep clicking on that type of content until they find something that solves their problem for them.


how to come up with content ideas stage no. 2: stepping stones

At this stage you now have people familiar with your business and, if you have already given them that quick win, they should be warmed up to take the next step.

This stage is all about the things you need to share to “indoctrinate” people into how you can really help them.

This is where you are busting myths, educating them and breaking down any barriers to purchase.

Weight loss businesses can provide the prime example of how this will work. You might have people in your orbit by giving them a quick win with something like “5 Simple Food Swaps you can Make Today to help you Lose Weight”. It’s something easy for someone to follow but it doesn’t really provide a long term solution. You know it requires much larger changes and likely big mindset changes too.

This is where Stage 2 comes in:

  • You could be focused on helping them see that it is possible for them to lose the weight without starving (busting a myth); or
  • You could educate them further on slightly more difficult swaps to make in their diet; or
  • You could show them how others have done it in very little time a week (removing a barrier to purchase).

Ok, yes, weight loss is an easy one to write an example for but how about a trickier one of some Home Decor products – say a creator of beautiful woollen linens. At the stage one you can provide a quick win of Top 10 Bedroom Styling Tips. Then once they are in your orbit you could:

  • Help them see that anyone can create beautiful spaces, even if they don’t have an eye for design (busting a myth); or
  • Educate them on the importance of using all natural materials; or
  • Show them the behind the scenes of you hand making their products so they can see it is worth the price tag (removing a barrier to purchase).

The content at this stage can be delivered in a variety of ways. Some you will still share on your main content platforms like your blog or podcast and across social media. But this content is also great to share to your email list in particular.

how to come up with content ideas Stage no. 3: tipping point

By Stage 3, you should have your audience really warmed up by now. They should have felt like they have had some wins and they should feel connected to your brand. They know you have great advice and they know that what you offer is either important or special. It either solves a problem or it fulfils a desire. Some people might already buy just based on those first two points alone, but if they haven’t this is where Stage 3 comes into play.

Stage 3 is all about Emotion. Unless it is a staple like basic food or clothes, people will buy based on emotion.

So for this stage you want to create content that either:

  • Motivates them and makes them feel like they can do it
  • Makes them feel really good about themselves
  • Makes them fearful that if they don’t make this change now they will miss out

Ok, so this stuff can sound a little sleezy but I assure you it can be done in a way that isn’t like that. If you have taken time in the previous two stages to show that you really care and then, in this stage express how if they take this final leap that you can truly make a difference to them, people will trust that and feel more gratitude that off put.

While these elements will come into play on your sales pages or in your sales emails, we are talking about content here so I won’t use those examples.

Instead, you could try content like:

  • Testimonials or Case Studies that show a Change in others like them
  • User Generated Content that shows Photos of Customers loving your Products
  • Inspirational or Motivational Messages
  • Content that shows a Vision of what Life (or their Bedroom in the linens example) could look like if they Buy

This is the stuff that really makes the difference as it provides social proof that what you offer is definitely worth the investment.


now it’s your turn

To make this post extra actionable I have created a great FREE 12 Page Workbook for you. This   Content Ideas Generator asks specific questions for each of the 3 Stages that will help you come up with your Content Ideas.

If that sounds like something that will help you, get it here (no email address required)


Still struggling? I LOVE coming up with ideas for others! Make sure to let me know in the comments below with your business details and I’ll see what inspiration strikes