Planning. Talking. Hashing through ideas is great. But, chances are pretty good you also want to see some serious results. We’re totally on board.

Having just finished exploring how content mapping works (you can read about it here), it’s time to put that planning into action by creating a topics list.

What is a Topics List?

A topics list is a fluid document. It’s a collection of all the possible topics you could cover. It grows and changes, often daily. In essence – your topics list is the ordered chaos of your mind.

This is very different than your defined business goals, target audience and points of value that are typically re-evaluated on a yearly or bi-yearly basis.

But here’s the kicker, ordered chaos means sifting the wheat from the chaff. While no idea is a bad idea, not every idea is the right one. For your topics list to be an effective tool, every item on it must fit within the foundation defined by the work you did content mapping.

How Do You Create a Topics List?

Start with what you actually do. What products or services does your business provide? Write each one down. If you have multiple different packages, each one goes on the list. If your company has employees with a wide range of skill sets, each employee and their skill set goes on the list.

Next, identify what result each of these products, services, employees, and skill sets provide your client. Be specific.

For example, if you have a copywriter on staff who writes bios, your customers aren’t just getting a bio. They are getting a clearly defined and shareable identity, one that captures their personality and allows them to put their best foot forward. (First impressions can’t be repeated.)

Keep Collecting Topics

Everywhere you go, each new customer and employee interaction is a potential topic to add to your list. When questions arise, they go on your list. When new products or services are developed, they go on your list. When you encounter a difficult business decision – it goes on your list.

Filtering Your Topics List

Like we mentioned above, you need to identify which items do and which items do not fit within the foundation you outlined. If you add an item that doesn’t speak to your target audience – give yourself a pat on the back for trying and then take it off.

Why? Because when the topics on your list are built on a strong foundation of content mapping, you ensure that each piece you write supports your overall business goals.

Congrats. You now have a work topics list of items about which you can write. Next up, we’ll explore how to plan your writing schedule in an editorial calendar.