How to Develop Your Content Ideas
How to Develop Your Content Ideas

How to Develop Your Content Ideas

Don’t believe those so-called gurus who tell you that you don’t need content to sell your products or services. Yes, you need content. No, you don’t need to publish content daily on every single platform.

What you need though is carefully curated content ideas that help you move further into your business’s mission.

This week on the podcast, I’m sharing a re-recording of an oldie but goodie. You’ll learn the questions you need to ask yourself as you’re deciding what kind of content you need–and where you need it–to accomplish your goals. Plus, I’m giving you a template to help you do the market research you need so you know exactly what your audience is looking for.

Mentioned in This Episode Podcast


Welcome to episode 211 of the Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for podcasters that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever-moving targets in any business, and it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it all right, all of the time.

Here we talk about podcasting and creating content for your audience that they want to hear in a way that’s sustainable for you, the business owner. Because I know that you have a lot on your plate. So I’ll give you the ideas and tools and tricks to publish your podcast consistently in a way that works for YOU.

I’m Abby Herman, former teacher and current podcast manager. When I went full time in my business in 2013, I struggled to find the help and support that I needed that also fit into my budget. That’s what this podcast and my membership, Podcast Ease, are all about. To help the business owner with a tight budget whose podcast is their primary marketing tool.

This episode is being released mid-December 2022 and if you’re like most business owners, you’re deep into 2023 planning. That’s where I am too. You’re going to find a few shifts in the podcast and The Content Experiment the business in the new year, and as I was developing what that looked like, I was struggling with what kind of podcast content to put out there for you.

Well, if you listened to last week’s episode about publishing episodes year-round, you know that I’m not planning to take a break. As much as I’d like to!

So instead, I’m leaning back on a few oldie but goodie episodes. The next three episodes, 211, 212 and 213 align very well with what’s coming for us here in the new year AND they’re actually re-recordings of some of the podcast’s most popular episodes.

I opted to re-record because they were originally released in the very early days of the podcast, when the name of it was Stories in Small Business. The website addresses I mention are different and I also wanted the opportunity to make a few little updates to the content.

But the meat of it is really the same.

First up, for those of you who are planning your content for the new year, is Episode 7, how to develop your content ideas.

Now I know that a lot of business owners are pulling back on content. In the last few years it’s gotten more difficult to get noticed online. Blame all the new businesses that were started in 2022. Don’t believe those so-called gurus who tell you that you don’t need content to sell your products or services. Yes, you need content. No, you don’t need to publish content daily on every single platform.

What you need though is carefully curated content ideas that help you move further into your business’s mission.

So let’s talk about the questions you need to ask yourself as you’re deciding what kind of content you need–and where you need it–to accomplish your goals.

Know your end game. What are you trying to sell?
What do your customers and clients buy from you? What are you trying to launch down the road? You need to know what it is you’re selling so you know exactly what kind of content you need to put out there. Topics should be aligned with what you’re selling. More on this in just a bit.

Know what your audience needs and wants. Survey them.
You might think you know who your ideal customer is. And you might. But you can’t really get inside their heads until you talk to them.

It’s not enough to post on social media and ask people to respond to you. I mean, with algorithms the way they are a fraction of your audience will see it.

Instead, I recommend that you choose a handful of audience members to survey–hand-selected. Choose people who ARE your customers and people who you’d like to become your customers. People who you think will respond to your survey.

Then offer them an incentive to fill it out. A gift card or free 15-minute consultation with you. Something that gets them to take action.

I have a guide that you can download to help you walk through creating an audience survey. If you go to the show notes at, you can grab the downloadable and survey template!

Know your zones of genius
I think it’s tempting to create content around a wide range of topics. We’re human and we have multiple interests. And our businesses sometimes reflect that.

I want you to resist the temptation though. And I want you to choose no more than 5 areas of expertise, or Zones of Genius as I call them, to create content around. No more, especially to start. (And don’t worry; you’re not married to these topics. I started out with four topics myself, when I first started blogging and creating other content. Today I have a lot more than that. I can do that because I know how to hone in on very specific topics when needed.

Once you know your big, overarching topics, I want you to add them to the top of a spreadsheet. Each big topic at the top of its own column.

Then it’s brainstorm time. Write down ALL the things you can think of to create content around for each of those big topics. And I mean everything–there’s no such thing as a bad idea right now.

Your zones of genius could have to do with the different services you offer in your business; they could be the big questions your clients come to you with. If you’re a product-based business, think about the values your customers have…or how someone might use one of your products–or why.

Use the 5W’s and H
If you’re like most of my clients, that last step was a struggle for you. You might know your zones of genius, but it’s hard to brainstorm all the ideas.

This step will help. Think back to grade school when you had to write paragraphs that answered the 5 W’s and H. Who, what, when, where, why and how.

Bear with me for a minute. Let’s take the example of a mindset coach. One of her zones of genius might be helping her clients overcome self-sabotage. So “self-sabotage” is going to be what’s at the top of the column on her spreadsheet.

Some of the topics should could create content around include WHY we self-sabotage, WHO is most likely to self-sabotage, WHAT does self-sabotage look like or WHAT is self-sabotage, WHERE does self-sabotage show up in our work or our life, WHEN are you most likely to self-sabotage.

Get the picture?

I’ve give you an example from this podcast. As I was developing the ideas I wanted to talk about in the podcast, I knew there were four main pillars or zones of genius I wanted to touch on. Business growth, mindset stories, content marketing and relationships in business. So those four are at the top of my spreadsheet.

From there, I listed out all the topics my audience has told me they need. So under “relationships,” I listed out how to find a biz bestie, why strategic relationship development isn’t sleazy, when to try to take a business relationship to the next level, where to find good connections. Under the pillar “business growth,” I included topics like what stories you need to share for your business, why the expert’s tactics won’t work for you, how a coach can help you grow, how to find more time in your business and more.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, you will find podcast episodes about all those topics at some point!

And now we come to the last stop in developing your content ideas. Identify what content fits with what platforms.
Not every type of content will fit every platform. Not every platform is right for you or your business or audience. Heck, there may be platforms that you flat-out don’t want to be on. That’s okay.

Know where you want to create your content–where your audience is and where you’re comfortable. And make sure you have the resources and support you might need to create content on those platforms. (If you’re just starting out, I recommend starting with just one or two and grow from there.)

Now you just need to start plugging in content topics at a cadence that works for you. Will you post two blogs a month? Send an email weekly? Do a YouTube video once a month?

Consistency matters, especially as you start to grow your audience. They come to expect content from you at a certain cadence. You don’t have to publish daily or even weekly; find out what your audience wants and start there.

We’ll dive deeper into how to create your own 90-day content plan in episode 8 so be sure to stay tuned!

Complementary Content on different platforms
One word of caution though: Don’t regurgitate your content across multiple platforms. There’s so much talk about repurposing and reusing content and while it’s a valid strategy, that doesn’t mean you should take the transcript from a YouTube video and post it to your blog. Or copy your blog content and send it in an email.

Doing this tricks your audience and they’re going to get smart about it really fast. When you copy and paste your blog into and email and call it good, your audience quickly learns that you don’t have anything new or original to say about that topic. They see the email, click over to the blog only to find it’s the exact same content. You’ve wasted their time and now they know to either look at your blog OR your email. Open rates on your emails go down; blog traffic goes down. And you’ve lost an opportunity to intrigue your audience and address a similar topic elsewhere.

For example, if I create a podcast episode about how to find a biz bestie, I might add to the show notes a list of resources and groups that are good places to find business friends. Or maybe I’d write a blog post about the topic or post a photo on Instagram with some of my own biz besties and how they’ve impacted my business.

But all in all, it’s about having those content ideas that are really going to help your audience and give them exactly what they need.

Be sure to head to the show notes to grab the audience survey template and guide so you know exactly where to start. Or get it at

If you need help planning out your process, let’s talk! I’m winding things up for the year but I do have a very limited number of VIP sessions where we can do that together. Go to to book yours!

If this episode resonated with you, I’d be so grateful if you’d share your takeaways on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode and tag me at thecontentexperiment if you do! The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the earbuds of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.

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