Coming up with ideas for marketing content can be challenging for many people. I think the most difficult part for many people is developing ideas “on demand.” Great ideas seem to strike at the most unlikely times for seemingly random reasons. If you want to be successful at stockpiling ideas, there ARE ways to encourage your creative side so you can turn on the idea faucet when needed. Make sure that when you do this, you have a process in place to capture and retain these great ideas for use at a later time (paper and pen, voice mail, email to yourself, whatever). Try some of the following:
• Create the space—literally. Go someplace besides your office. If you need quiet, find it. If you need music, get it. Do what it takes to leave your regular work environment so you can focus.
• Forget logic—free associate. Write down any words or ideas that come to mind around concepts. Picture a bunch of people talking about how excited they are about something in your business and think of why they might be excited.
• Cheat—look at what others are doing. Google some blogs in your industry and see how they market. You may see things you like or, even more helpful, things you don’t like.
• Put it off. Go over your objectives in your mind, then let it go. Your subconscious will work on the challenge and when you least expect it, ideas will pop into your mind while doing something else. Really. This works.
• Banish the filters—and the critics. In brainstorming, there are no bad ideas. Brainstorming is all about exploring options, thinking outside the box, and capturing as much as possible in a given time. Save the assessment of the brainstorming for a different day. On brainstorming day, anything goes. Ignore the critics (whether internal or external) and invite them back for assessment day.
The more you practice, the better you will get at generating ideas so that you can fill your parking lot for future use. If you find you don’t enjoy this process, don’t have the time, or don’t believe you’re great at it, get help!