One of the most difficult aspects of managing an online blog is coming up with unique content to publish. What most people don’t realize about that, however, is that the ideas are there. As human beings, we all analyze the world around us at an amazing pace. We notice when something works really well and we also notice when something needs to be improved. Generally speaking, those are the type of thoughts that can be converted into great content.
The problem with content generation isn’t that we don’t have those unique and valuable thoughts in the first place. Instead, the problem is that we forget to write those thoughts down. We usually think of something as it happens and then our thoughts quickly move on to another subject after the original event has passed.
How can I overcome this problem?
You need to start writing your thoughts down!
The key to content generation isn’t coming up with ideas- its remembering those ideas!
Because I use WordPress as my content management system, I make great use of the “quick press” feature. As soon I come up with an idea for a possible article or blog post, I quickly add the post as a draft in my WordPress backend. If there are any details of the idea or thought then I write them down as well. If there is a web address associated with my new idea then I copy and paste the URL into the body of the draft temporarily so I can remember where I got my inspiration from.
If you don’t use WordPress, you could keep a Google Document of all of your ideas. That way, even if you’re not on your personal computer, you could access your Google account and record your ideas as they come. You could even use a real piece of paper (yes, they still exist)! I used to keep a sticky note inside of my wallet to write down content ideas. Find the system that works best for you and start using it!
Even if your idea or thought is only halfway formulated, write it down. Let it marinate in the idea chamber for a few days and maybe you will be able to add some depth to it at a different time.
How can I remember to write down an idea every time I come up with one?
This is the hard part. You need to retrain your thought process. The more you write down your ideas when they come to you, the easier it will become to remember to write them down.
When you first start out I recommend that you use something to remind yourself to stop and think about an idea when it comes to you. If you think about the idea, you will then remember to write down what you’re thinking about. When I first began my blog I put a white board up in my apartment and I wrote in big, red letters: “The Big Idea“. Every time I looked at the whiteboard I would remember to think in more depth about my ideas which would then prompt me to record my thoughts. Now that I have practiced this strategy for a while, I come up with thoughts constantly throughout the day. I have over 100 ideas that I have recorded in the drafts section of my WordPress backend.
What specific benefits will come from recording all of my thoughts and ideas?
- You will avoid forced content writing, formulation and/or productionIf you have to sit down and force yourself to come up with an idea to write about then you’re probably never going to become successful. By recording all of your ideas you will always have something to work on, publish or produce.
- You can produce content based on your current mood and inspirationLets face it, human beings have emotions, feelings, moods and attitudes. Even if you have a good idea, you may not feel like expanding on it at a particular time based on how you are feeling. Even if you do decide to write about an idea without being inspired, the final product won’t be nearly as good as it would have been if you produced it at a better time. By keeping a large collection of ideas, you can always find something to write about that will fit with your current mood. I often times sift through 20-30 of my ideas before finding the one that I feel like writing about at a particular moment.
- You will generate ideas from your ideasBy keeping a large list of content ideas in front of you, you will engage in a lot more thought about each particular idea. While this helps you formulate your what your final product will look like, it also allows your train of thought to branch off in different directions. If any of you are familiar with free association exercises then you will understand what I am talking about. If you have an article idea that covers the topic of stress reduction techniques, you may start thinking about massages which, in turn, may generate content ideas relating to massage techniques.
Final Thoughts on Idea Generation and Remembrance
Remember, the problem isn’t coming up with ideas. The problem is realizing when you have an idea and recording it so that it can be formulated more completely at a later time. Try to get in the habit of writing your ideas down and you will realize that you’ve got more ideas than you ever thought possible!