A really useful guide: “The Content Fuel Framework” by Melanie Deziel

Sometimes you pick up a book and immediately think, “This is so useful, how is it possible that nobody has written it before?” Melanie Deziel’s The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas is such a book.

If you have or aspire to have an audience of any kind, this book is for you. How do I know? Because I can read your mind. You are thinking about your readers, viewers, or listeners. You feel you have insights into their problems. But you’ve run dry on ideas for what to work on next to help or entertain them. (We’ve all been there.)

This is especially difficult for content marketers, whose job is to come up with these ideas.

The Content Fuel Framework is the simplest way to solve this problem.

10 focuses and 10 formats

At the center of this concept is a grid based on 10 focuses and 10 formats. (For mathematicians and pedants, yes, focuses is an alternate plural for foci.) Choose one of each, and you have an idea.

A focus is topic for content. These include people, basics, details, history, process, and data, for example. A format is a type of content: written, infographic, audio, quiz, or map, for example. And always, always, focus comes first. As Deziel writes:

Always start with the focus, and then determine which format is best suited to the story that you want to tell. As storytellers, once we have a focus in mind, we can ask ourselves “What is the best way to bring this story to life?” But the instinct is often to do the opposite. . . .

When we start with a format instead of a focus, we are assuming that how we say something is more important than what we say. And that is simply not true.

In the intersection between focus and format lie ideas. Deziel suggests starting with a 10×10 grid and brainstorming ideas that fit into it.

Here’s how you use the grid:

Simply put, this is a matrix, or grid, built from the 10 Focuses and the 10 Formats, visually creating space for 100 new focus/format combinations, and 100 ways to tell any story. The purpose of the Content Fuel Framework isn’t to force you to actually create or execute on a piece of content at every single one of the 100 focus/format intersections, but instead to challenge you to think in new content combinations and to explore new possibilities for the way you tell stories.

If you need to get unstuck, this is going to do it. And if you’re stuck for ideas, that terrifically valuable.

There is deeper insight here

This is a short book (190 pages). In addition to the basic concept, a lot of the value is in the description of the 10 focuses. As you read Deziel’s description of each type of focus, with lots of examples, ideas for your own content will inevitably pop up. That’s gold.

The descriptions of the formats are more basic. This is not a book on how best to use Instagram or Twitter, and it’s too short to give you detailed tips on how best to record video or write well. But there are plenty of books on that stuff — this book is about how to generate countless ideas, which is much harder.

If your content is stuck in a rut, get a copy of The Content Fuel Framework. It comes out next week.

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  1. This is 100% what I have been looking for. As you say, this is one of those books you wonder whay it hasn’t been written before. Thanks for the heads up. One of your projects?

  2. I’m running a workshop on Wednesday to map our personas to our content types. It’s so important to deliver information to people in the format they want. I’m all over an HTML report, but make me watch an hour-long prerecorded webinar and I’ll go bonks. Thanks for the heads-up, Josh!