Selecting a topic for building content, based on 4 criteria
I've found there are FOUR “petals” or criteria for selecting the best content to produce:
- It’s interesting to you
- You have SOME experience or exposure to it
- It somehow aligns with your personal aspirations
- It somehow aligns with your professional or career aspirations
It shouldn’t be so difficult to come up with ideas for personal content
Too often, I found myself thinking that, "selecting a topic for content is so hard". Instead of thinking about all of the possible topics I could write about, or even worse, what I "should" write about, I decided to break the process down to the brass tacks. As a result, there are four dimensions of selection criteria I use when decided whether or not to run with a topic idea for some content I can produce.
1) I'm Interested in This
Generally, any idea I label as "good" is also one that I'm interested in exploring, so this marker may seem implicit. However, I find it important to recognize why a particular topic interests me, if it does at all, before I invest more time into its development.
A topic interests us if it can be personally useful, is relevant to our lives, or that when it just feels like true fun to create around! Find what strikes as interesting for you, the Creator.
2) Im' Familiar With it Somewhat
You don't need to be advanced in the subject, but at least be able to offer some perspective that isn't completely scraped from another source.
Even generalized or analogous experience, just toying around even, can offer you something insightful to share with others. Your audience might not have had such an observation as you did and would benefit greatly from your contribution.
3) In some alignment with personal goals
My never-ending personal goal is Self-improvement. With this focus, I can slant nearly any content production efforts into the self-improvement domain. This is an area you get to be absolutely selfish in defining. Let it be anything you want and gently work it in to your deliverables.
You might not be able to address this area directly or overtly within the content topic you settle on. However, your being a (fill in the blank here) Mom or Chef or Motorhead or whatever, does impact how you identify yourself. How you identify yourself comes through in everything you present. Don't shy away form finding a means to tie in your personal goals to what look like more career-oriented topic ideas. It's okay to remix!
4) In some alignment with professional goals
For me, this is marketing. I don't pursue mastery in marketing for entirely personal reasons: This is my profession. I seek to thrive off of the value my services provide.
Finding the point at which passion and profession intersect is THE compelling offer for entrepreneurs and adventurous individuals. It's an awesome ideal, but is not easily realized.
Consider the industry you know or the industry you want to know. What does a professional in this field need? How does this professional broadcast their know-how and wisdom? Think of presenting a relevant bit of news or advice with colleagues.
Putting it all together by evaluating the 4 areas
Landing on a content topic across all four areas of quality consideration is an impressing feat.
If a topic is of interest to you, familiar, and in alignment with you personal and professional goals, get to producing it. You've tapped into a source of continued rewards if you can balance these four areas.
Your next step is to focus on outlining content around this topic to generate and provide for other people so they can find you when they search. As a practitioner of self marketing, your goal is to publish and support these topics, associating them closer to your name.
Remember, it may diminish your efforts to vary your content topics too widely. If your topics range from alternator repair to literature review to coding lessons, you won't reach maximum authority in the subjects most relevant to you and your business. Try to keep the total scope of your publications within sensible ranges.