Before you start, some quick rules:
The idea behind this exercise is quantity, not necessarily quality. You might come up with some junk ideas as you race to write them down, but at least you’ll come up with ideas. Those ideas can be massaged and coaxed into an awesome title or topic for a winning article.
Force yourself to write stuff down. When you actually begin to type words, you begin to come up with more ideas and to think in clearer ways. This exercise will be completely useless unless you actually write things down.
This is idea generation only.
Now is not the time to assign article topics, craft the perfect headline, or create the chapters for your ebook.
Be as specific as possible.
The following is a process for coming up with tons of topic ideas, but the specifics are up to you. As you write stuff down, also force yourself to be specific.
Now, let’s come up with 50 ideas…
1. Go to a place that is free from distractions and interruptions.
2. Open a document to capture your thoughts.
3. Start your timer for 30 minutes. Having a specific amount of time will force you to be productive.
4. The question phase. Ask yourself the following questions, and try to create at least two topic ideas from each one:
What are you passionate about in your industry? I’m passionate about content marketing. But I’m not just going to write an article on “Why I’m Passionate about Content Marketing.” Instead, I’m going to channel that enthusiasm into a major work that I can get excited about, like an advanced guide to content marketing.
How did you get started in your industry? Everyone enters their niche in a different way. How did you get interested in your area? What training did you have? Don’t be afraid of getting personal here. The best content is stuff that is personal, while still actionable and oriented to your audience. People love to hear about others’ experiences and to read things from a first-person perspective.
Why is your product the best?
What is the greatest challenge in your industry?
What does success look like in your industry?
Who is the most successful person in your industry?
What is the biggest news in your industry?
What is a success story from your business? Biggest failure? Stories of personal experience are perfect for article topics. Discuss how and why you failed at first, or what factors led to some huge success.
What personal skills help someone become successful in your industry? This is easily a top 10 list — several of them, actually. From time-management tips to email ninja advice, you can bust out a bunch of practical and tactical advice that will really appeal to your audience.
What tools do you use to get your job done? This is another list or top 10 article. What kind of things do you use — a desk, a Macbook, an iPhone, a Bluetooth device? What about mobile apps? Web apps? Data storage? Coffee? Write it down.
Where, when, and how do you do your best work?
Why do you enjoy being in your industry?
What is changing in your industry? These are great current topics that will fuel search queries and drive traffic.
What are some processes or practices that you have perfected? If you’ve achieved some level of expertise in a specific area, describe how you did it. Advanced guides and detailed topics are best.
5. The Search Phase. Actively seek out ideas elsewhere on the web. Perform each of the following searches, and jot down at least five ideas from each source.
Visit the blogs of industry leaders. What are other leaders saying? If they are all discussing similar things, there’s a good chance you need to be part of the conversation.
Visit the major industry websites. Beyond the blogs, there are other websites that provide industry information.
Visit the social profiles of industry leaders. Focus on Twitter and Google+. If you’re following other leaders in your industry (and you should be), track down their presence on Twitter, and Google+.
Search Twitter for trending topics in your industry.
Use Twitter’s search function to find out what’s trending in your particular niche.
Use Google autocomplete to come up with keywords and related topics. Google search alone is a powerful way to generate keywords that can morph into topic ideas.
From Google.com, start typing in a keyword of your industry. Continue typing. I suggest a verb. Keep changing up the verbs, the keywords, and the order of words.
6. The rumination phase. Unplug and write stuff down. Finally, relax your mind just a bit, and let the good ideas flow.
If you’re still in the topic-generation zone, just let your timer go off, and then keep going. You can come up with 100 topics.
Beyond your focused topic-generation sessions, you will always have some ideas floating in at random moments.
Always be writing stuff down. Our best ideas come when we’re totally disconnected from our work. It could be when you’re jogging, showering, or waking up in the morning. That’s why you need to always be writing down your ideas.
Always be learning. Whether it’s from reading, talking, watching Ted Talks, or trolling social media, you should always be in learner mode.
Neil Patel contributed most of the information for this article @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/author/neil-patel