Lessons in Content Creation from the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise

Levar Burton teaches content creationGeordie Laforge was the Chief Engineer on the Starship Enterprise and arguably the most important person on the ship. As the Chief Engineer, it was his job to keep the ship running in tip top condition. He had to ensure that no matter what  the situation or problem, he would have a creative solution.

When the chips were down, and faced with imminent disaster that likely spelled doom for the Enterprise crew, Geordie would always be able to come up with a creative solution and save the day.

Long before he was a “Galactic Greasemonkey” he imparted wisdom that helped us create content.

Geordie LaForge, better known as Levar Burton back in the early 80s was the host of the popular children’s television program: “Reading Rainbow.” Each week he was charged with enhancing the literary powers of North American children. We will learn today how the show’s tagline “Take a look it’s in a book” imparts advice and wisdom that can be used in today’s world of content creation.

Often when faced with composing a new tweet, or writing a blog post, we have a moment of writer’s block; That blank, empty text box can be a daunting sight. Whether we are planning a brand new blog, writing for a well established one, or putting together a list of Tweets related to your topic/industry, we can use the wisdom that was handed down to us from the Reading Rainbow.

Take a look it’s in a book.

When deciding the topic of a brand new blog, or coming up with ideas for content you need to have a look at your bookshelf. If you are writing about something you are passionate about then there is a good chance that you own a book on that topic as well. Grab that book off the shelf and flip forward a few pages and find the table of contents. When you look at this page, what do you see? I see a list of topics to write about. The chapter titles, and subtitles (if any) can give you a lot of great ideas of what you can write about for your blog, or nuggets of information you can use as inspiration for content for your social networks.

You could go even further with this topic and cruise through the chapters and have a look for any headings that may spark some ideas as well.

If you do not own a book…

One of the best places to generate content ideas is Amazon.com. There are so many great research opportunities within this site. For now we will focus on one really great feature that allows you to search the inside of a book. In most cases when you visit the page of a specific book you can view the table of contents. All you need to do now is cruise through Amazon look at the table of content of books within your chosen niche.

Now keep in mind that you do not want to outright copy the content, but actually use it for inspiration to share your own thoughts, opinions and ideas.

Table of contents from Pro Blogger BookThe table of contents on the left is from one of my favourite books “ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.” As you can see it is really just a giant list of blog post ideas. I blog about blogging, so this page alone could keep me going for quite some time.

So my little “butterfly in the sky” it’s time to get started and take a look in a book. Make the man behind the Reading Rainbow, and the Starship Enterprise proud of  your reading skills and creative problem solving abilities.

How do you generate ideas for new content?

Chris Whiteley

Chris brings the joy of web design, WordPress development & other web magic to bWEST Interactive. He specializes in building responsive WordPress websites that go beyond the typical "blog layout." His style of blogging and passion is heavily influenced by pop culture.

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