Churning out so-so content is easy. Producing quality, shareable content — in the form of blog posts, podcasts, videos, emails, downloads and ebooks — is much harder. But guess what — anyone can come up with unique, relatable, valuable content for their customers and readers. It just takes a bit of time, tons of practice, and an ocean of brainstorming.
I know you're thinking "I never come up with any good ideas," and brainstorming is such a drag, but just hold on for a second. The task of brainstorming may be a tough nut to crack, but with a little love and attention, could make you feel warm and fuzzy all over. You may even get excited for your next brainstorm session (true story). These four methods of brainstorming content will help you break out of your normal routine and ignite your creative spark. Try it; You might like it.
Roll the Dice
Stream of consciousness brainstorming could be one of your most fruitful, fulfilling, how-did-I-do-that methods since it lets your imagination totally wild and free. It's liberating. It's a big 'ole exhale for your brain. With stream of consciousness, everything is fair game. You write it all down — no stopping to think, erase, double take, or question yourself. Mix things up by using dice to determine how long you'll be working (or downloading the info from your brain as I like to call it) to the page. How it works: First, pick a topic. This could be anything from one of your pre-established blog categories, an upcoming holiday, season, or event. Roll the dice, add up the numbers, then set a timer for that amount of time. For those blissful minutes, you are not allowed to think any idea isn't good enough. You're only allowed to write exactly what pops into your head. Once the time is up, take a look back at your list and see where you can then further break down those content ideas, or pick a different topic and go again. Spend an hour or so doing this on a weekly basis and you'll have your content calendar brimming with amazing ideas year-round.
— Post-it Notes are awesome because you can stick them anywhere. Even walls. And walls are just begging to be utilized for brainstorming. Novel writers sometimes use this method when plotting their books, but you can use it to visualize how the upcoming weeks on your blog will look. Write down post ideas on each Post-it, then stick it up on the wall. Once you have a handful, start arranging them in the way you might want to order them in the month. Another way to do this is to tape a topic on a larger piece of paper in the middle of your wall, then start mind-mapping around that, with each Post-it coming off of the center topic. It may seem like a lot of Post-its, but for those visual types, it could be a lot more useful than just writing a list of topics in a spreadsheet.
Deal the Cards
Can a deck of cards help you brainstorm content ideas? Stranger things have happened, my friends. Try assigning a value to each of the decks' colors, suits, and numbers. For example:
- Color = type of post (text or video)
- Suit = topics (i.e. blog categories, holidays, events, or themes)
- Number = minutes to brainstorm
- Face = Bonus cards. What other things are you dying to brainstorm? Social media ideas? New products for an upcoming season? Marketing strategies? Use these to step outside of your content realm and into other areas of your business.
Mix up the cards and start brainstorming, baby. This would make an excellent lady biz circle idea as well. Throw in some wine and great music, and you've got a full-on party!
Throw it In Reverse
What is the ultimate goal of your content? To be featured on bigger blogs? To solidify your place as an expert? To be shared obsessively on Pinterest? Figure out what your end goal is for your content and work backwards from there. What kinds of content is usually featured on bigger blogs? Start writing down a list of ideas. What kinds of content would highlight your expertise? Make that list, honey. What style of content gets the most Pins on Pinterest? Start emulating that in your own way. Thinking backwards (or reverse engineering) will give you a new perspective on your content, and ensure that you aren't just flailing around in the dark, but actually aiming for a target. And with aim and focus, you're more likely to hit the bullseye.
How do you brainstorm? Share your unique ideas, methods, and strategies with us below on on our Facebook page!