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Gini Dietrich

Content Idea Generator: A Magical Tool to Help You Write

By: Gini Dietrich | March 6, 2013 | 
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Portent's Content Idea GeneratorThanks to Lindsay Bell and an appropriately pitched story idea from a PR firm here in Chicago, I have a special surprise for you.

This is going to both surprise and anger you…at least anger you if you consider yourself a writer.

It is both cool and a little disappointing.

It is surprisingly accurate, but also a bit limited.

It is the Content Idea Generator from Portent.

Content Idea Generator, Say What?

A what, you ask? That’s right. It’s a tool that helps you generate ideas for your content.

There is no trial to use. It takes less than five seconds to figure out if you like it. It doesn’t cost anything. And yet, it gives you a gazillion really great (and some terrible) ideas for the headlines you can use to entice people to want to learn more.

I put in “public relations” as my key term and I got, “How Public Relations Changed How We think about Death.”

Content Idea Generator Public Relations Death

 Okay, kind of clever, but not totally appropriate so I hit the whirly gig button and got, “Sixteen Uses for Public Relations.”

Content Idea Generator Public Relations 2

Now we’re getting somewhere! As I continue to hit the whirly gig button, I get “The Best Ways to Use Public Relations,” “How Hollywood Got Public Relations All Wrong,” and “Why Public Relations is the New Black.”

I also love how it tells you why these headlines work (appeal to people’s fears, lists are popular, and here’s your chance to outdo MacGyver) and appeal to reader’s senses.

Of course, this still requires you to write the content for these headlines, but immediately you have an idea or two (or 16) that are actually viable.

We Don’t Like…

Right now, the only thing that kind of stinks is there seem to be a limited number of ideas. For instance, “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Using Public Relations” is used for nearly every subject you use: Marketing, search engine optimization, leadership, pickles, and kittens.

And, if there were 378 tweets on it this morning while I wrote this, that number is going to exponentially increase as more and more people discover it.

Which means the web will soon be filled with, “Eleven Problems with Public Relations” and “Eleven Problems with Marketing” and “Eleven Problems with Umbrellas.”

But all-in-all, it’s a very cool tool that helps you come up with an idea for content, it’s free, and it doesn’t hurt anything to try it.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll soon see a post here titled, “How Public Relations is Better than Sex.”

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

110 comments
mylefttom
mylefttom

Awesome Awesome! Can we combine it with a rock band name generator to get cool titles like "Stone Temple Reasons Your Releases Get Read" and "Eleven Screaming Trees That Drive Blog Traffic"? Decaf time for me...

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

I like it too, Andrew! I tried it with communications this morning and got some really funny ones!

MikeMcCready
MikeMcCready

@ShellyKramer @ginidietrich Awesome tool! Thanks for sharing.

JennyL0vett
JennyL0vett

Thanks for RT @superveggiemom!! It's a great tool for the competitor in me :) @SpinSucks

Som_Will
Som_Will

@Toronto_PR_Guy @ginidietrich Amazing! I just spent 15 minutes playing around with this

JoelFortner
JoelFortner

@superveggiemom I think it's pretty cool! Brilliant marketing by portent too.

Karen_C_Wilson
Karen_C_Wilson

I've used tools like this before and I really like them. Most of the time they're just something I use to get my brain moving. I don't actually use the suggestions precisely as intended, because I fear that influx of everyone else using the same thing. I think it's brilliant though!

LeeTawil
LeeTawil

@ginidietrich This is definitely a cool tool to play around with. Thanks for sharing!

VizwerxGroup
VizwerxGroup

@TCoughlin @lisapetrilli @ginidietrich Like the titles it comes up with. Clever tool.

Portent
Portent

@ginidietrich @SpinSucks Thank you for the review! Glad to see it's also generating discussion in the comments

Suzi_C
Suzi_C

It's a clever little tool to break up mental log jams and reframe information. Doubt I'd lift the title verbatim, but as an idea starter, I see folks using it.

lauraclick
lauraclick

While headline writing comes easy to those of us in marketing/PR, SOOOOO many people struggle with headlines. I know my clients do. 

 

I don't think anyone should really take these ideas and run with them as is. After all, I doubt "11 Ways Telecommunications Can Find You the Love of Your Life" will work for my client. But there were others that weren't half bad. I think this is more about getting your juices flowing, learning how to construct headlines that work and thinking about your content more creatively.

jdrobertson
jdrobertson

Is there nothing new under the sun? Google <Shakespeare Insult Kit>

KateFinley
KateFinley

Hmm. I typed in media relations and got this, "Will Media Relations Ever Rule the World?" I would definitely read a post with that subject line! I think your warning is good and a very smart point. Overall, seems like a cool tool to get your juices going if you're stuck or even if you're not, maybe it can help you mix it up.

 

The worst thing I see happening is seeing the same subject lines all over the place. We struggle with that already. I see it in Triberr all the time. So, I'd use this tool because it's FUN and then tweak it :)

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

Probably it will be "How Public Relations help with sex". :D

 

Well, it might be useful when the creative part of our mind is a tabula rasa but if there weren't enough bloggere writing list of something or about Market Samurai now the blogosphere will soon be plastered with copycat titles.

 

Does this mean that my awful headlines will be like a purple cow? ;)

NLCuk
NLCuk

As if the world was not already full enough of bland, generic and derivative blog content... :-)

 

Interesting idea though. Reminds me a little of the William Burroughs 'cut up' technique used in his writing, which people like Bowie famously lifted for their songwriting.  Maybe if you put enough interesting ideas into the Content Idea Generator, something really interesting may come out? 

JudyDunn
JudyDunn

Hi Gini,

 

Although I haven't checked it out yet, I actually think this has some potential in a sort of mind mapping, jump-start-your-thinking kind of way. I see what Danny is saying, but I am just completing an online Build Your Author Platform class and am realizing that we are all at different skill set levels when it comes to things like headlines. The value here, at least for me, might be reading something that sparks another idea, that becomes the title I will go with. Or maybe I'll try it for those days when I am in  time crunch or feeling particularly lazy.    : )

 

Anyway, I shared your post's link over in the class forum. 

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

People with bad PR skills might find it hard to find someone who wants to have sex with them which leads me to believe that some PR "experts" might use that tidbit to create a special niche to work in.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

This kinda reminds me of charging for blog ideas. I may be idealistic, but I can't help but feel if you can't come up with something yourself, maybe you shouldn't be blogging that day? There are more than enough sources of inspiration out there without ideas that may or may not be relevant to you.

mdbarber
mdbarber

@ginidietrich I thought so. It does have limitations, as you said, but I really like the idea and hope it grows. Hope you're doing well.

superveggiemom
superveggiemom

@JoelFortner Agreed! It spat out some pretty fun ideas for me. :)

caroljsroth
caroljsroth

@ginidietrich didn't try it out yet, but a cool tool worth sharing- thanks for alerting us

ckrohn1
ckrohn1

@ginidietrich So much fun! And pretty darn good too. "How Hollywood Got Restaurant Deals Wrong." I actually want to read that!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@Portent The crazies, I call them. I may have gotten a little defensive on your behalf.

PennyHaywood
PennyHaywood

 @jdrobertson Certainly extends the range if you combine the two kits : Seven ways artless dizzy-eyed strumpets improve your PRs' sex life :-)

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

 @NLCuk Yes, but my thinking was being handed one of those bland headlines could inspire me to write something GOOD on the same subject. And I am going to research this cut up technique, too! 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @NLCuk It's kind of like Mad Libs. Now THAT would be a fun blogging experiment. I don't know about this cut up technique. I'm intrigued. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Danny Brown Oh stop being such a curmudgeon. It's just an idea generator and there are lots and lots of people who HAVE to write content every day, as dictated by their bosses. Even the best of us need some help with ideas sometimes. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@ckrohn1 Ohhh! And "How Restaurant Deals Beat Death"

creativeoncall
creativeoncall

 @ginidietrich  @Danny Brown I'm with Danny on the curmudgeon train here, particularly as my only suggestion is that they rename it the Crapulator, as its primary utility seems to be automating and accelerating our journey to Content Craptasia (have I said crap enough yet)?  I'm all for jogging oneself out of a writer's block, and maybe this is good for that, but an idea generator this ain't.

 

 I'll see you at next Tuesday's Curmudgeon's Anonymous meeting, Danny.

ckrohn1
ckrohn1

@ginidietrich Haha! I'm going to stay away from that one, though. "Will Restaurant Deals Ever Rule the World?" is much better :)

JudyDunn
JudyDunn

 @belllindsay  @creativeoncall  @ginidietrich  @Danny Brown My thoughts exactly. I look at it like mind mapping. I'm a veteran headline writer but if I can take an existing idea, as crappy as it might be, spin it a few times and make it uniquely mine, I wouldn't mind.  I think it's when everyone takes the "suggestions" at face value and starts using them, that's when we'd get slammed with the crappy. 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @creativeoncall  @ginidietrich  @Danny Brown Does NO ONE read my comments..?? ;) I think it's a neat idea for getting the creative *thinking process* started - especially if you're blocked. As Gini mentioned above, some people have to write 10 blog posts a week - for different clients - it can get draining. As I said earlier, if the title gets you thinking, then you write a great post, just go back and tweak the title (as I do after every post I write anyhow - I tweak my OWN ideas). Of course, there will be people who won't take the time (or won't care) to do that, but that's the case with *everything*, isn't it? 

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