When I do talks to groups, I usually have a slide that looks like this:
It’s something I learned at a writing seminar back in the (ahem) 80s and it obviously stuck with me. The concept goes like this: Try to come up with as many different angles about your topic as humanly possible.
The person teaching the seminar was an article writer. If he was hired by a magazine to do an article on, say, restaurants in Ames, Iowa, he would naturally pick up on other things going on in Ames just as background material. He figured out that with a little extra effort, he could write several articles on various aspects of the area and sell those articles to other magazines. He re-used the research for one article (or book) and got more mileage out of it.
I have used the concept in all sorts of ways since then. The variation I usually teach is spoking a topic. I put the main topic (or keyword) into the middle of a circle and draw lines out from it (spokes). I then come up with subtopics and from those subtopics I come up with the actual article or content ideas that I am going to write about.
In the pictured example, the main topic is family reunions. If I were to write a book on family reunions, I would come up with about 10 different subtopics. In the picture there are three (I was lazy that day): Locations, Capture the Moment, and Foods. Then I went into a more detailed list of what people might need to know about to throw a family reunion: what are their location options, how can they capture the reunion for those who can’t attend and as a keepsake for those who do, what should they serve for food, etc., etc.
I teach this in my course, Write Your Book in 90 Days using a different topic. But the idea is the same. Once you have come up with a list of different angles for the topic, start thinking about all the different people who would read your book. For example, a book on personal finance might have three levels of information or three tracks, one for those just starting out, one for those in their peak earning years, one for retirees. Or you may end up with three separate books. That’s okay, too.
You can also take the opposite side of a topic to add contrast in a book or to tell people what not to do.
The idea is to find topics to research that will give you a broad spectrum of useful information. You will also uncover a lot of not-so-useful information. That’s okay. It doesn’t go in the book. It can still give you a better understanding of your topic which creates a depth of knowledge, adding to your expertise.
You can use the concept of spoking a topic to mine ideas for books, blog posts, videos, talks and seminars, even products. It’s a neat way to idea track and jog your brain. You can draw it by hand if you like or get all fancy and do a mindmap. Whatever works for you. Give spoking a topic a try and see what pops into your brain.
New Group Coaching Class Starting in January
How would you like to go from zero to published author in 6 weeks? You can do it and I can help! I am opening up my next group coaching class starting Tuesday, January 9th. Find out more here: Group Coaching