I publish on the LionShark online marketing blog every Tuesday/Thursday, so I need 104 posts to get me through the year. That meant I had to come up with one idea every 30 seconds or so. It was a tall order, but I sat down and decided to try it myself. I figured that the worst that could happen was that I would waste an hour doodling and the best that could happen was that I could get some great ideas for content. I’m just a writing team of one, so I wasn’t expecting much. In fact, I think I may have decided to try it just to prove that it couldn’t work. And then something unexpected happened… It worked.
But the story doesn’t end there! The most surprising part was yet to come.
I want to pass along some tips so that you can try this yourself or with your team:
Set the Right Environment
Everyone is different, so the right environment will vary as well. The first time I did this exercise, I had complete silence and bright natural light so I felt alert and could hyper-focus on the task at hand. The second time I did it, I played one of my favorite acoustic songs on a loop quietly to give me something in the background to focus on and bring me back if I started to overthink things.
I will say that I think this is an activity best done away from a typical desk/cube/meeting room space. Try sitting on the floor or in a comfy reading chair to get more creative.
Follow the Rules of Brainstorming
Proper brainstorming is all-inclusive and non-judgmental. Let everyone contribute and take ideas as they come. Holding off on asking questions or clarifying details will allow ideas to keep flowing. You don’t want to do anything to create a roadblock or get people’s minds sidetracked.
Write Down and Keep EVERYTHING
There’s no such thing as a bad idea. No matter how crazy, stupid, bizarre or nonsensical something seems, write it down and keep it on the list. Often times, pieces of ideas will help trigger different ideas or topics later on.
This also holds true for topics that seem too closely related because often times, topics can be modified to address the same concepts from a different perspective or in a different style/format. For example, “Digital Marketing Strategy for Beginners” and “The Basics of Digital Marketing Strategy” can easily become “Digital Marketing Strategy for Startups” and “The Foundations of Strategic Planning for Online Marketing.”
Separate Out Seasonal Titles
It’s a good idea to pull out any seasonal topics or titles so that you don’t miss your opportunity to write about them during their respective seasons. Add those to your editorial calendar right away so that you leave room for them before it fills up with other content. If a topic accidentally falls through the cracks, you can often repurpose the topic for another season instead of letting it go to waste.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!