Why You Need a Content Idea-Capturing System

Jul 2013

KJHDiFGWelcome to the Content Creator’s Toolbox, our series dedicated to helping all creators of all types of content keep those creative juices flowing. If you have a creativity question or challenge you’d like us to address in a future post, drop us a line!

If I had a nickel for every abandoned blog, podcast, YouTube channel, Facebook Page and Twitter feed out there, I’d have … [let’s see, 5 times 5, carry the 2] … yes, a helluva lot of nickels.

HFEKJNFAnd if you were to ask the owners of these orphaned venues the reason for their decline and fall, you’d probably hear any number of legit-sounding responses like“We just got too busy” or “It wasn’t working for us.”

But I’d be willing to bet that 99% of content abandonment cases stem from one of two actual causes that you’d never actually hear:

  1. “We were anticipating short-term results from a long-term strategy.”
  2. “We ran out of ideas.”

For the purposes of today’s post, I want to talk about Reason #2.

One of the biggest problems we face as content marketers is the phenomenon I call content fading. You start off full of energy and enthusiasm, and the ideas are flowing like Midori at a Kardashian family reunion. Then, as the days, weeks, and months go by, that flow of ideas starts to level off and, if you haven’t been capturing those ideas as they come up, you could be trying to draw from a well that’s long since gone dry.

So here’s my secret for guarding against content fading: Capture ideas as they come to you, and store them in a place where they’re easy to find. 

And rest assured, ideas do come to you. Good, even great ideas come to you all the time. They just arrive when you’re least focused on them. You know, when you’re waiting on hold with customer service or stuck in rush-hour traffic or taking the dogs out for a potty break. All you really need is a system for capturing and storing those ideas, so that they’re at your fingertips when you sit down to create your content. 

Your system can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like, as long as:

  • It’s easy to get to and easy to use.
  • It keeps all your ideas together in one place.

Now, you all know that I’m a huge fan of pen and paper for brainstorming, but for idea capture, you just can’t beat cloud-based resources like Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, etc.SDISZFK

One reason I love Evernote is that it syncs seamlessly between your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Plus, it has embedded photo and voice capture functions for super-simple use.

So when a brilliant idea strikes, you can:

  • Type in a few words to get the general idea down on (virtual) paper.
  • Make a sketch on a whiteboard and snap a picture of it.
  • Record a quick voice memo and save it for future reference—especially handy for commuters.

My own idea-capturing system has actually evolved over time. It started with an Evernote folder; nowadays it’s a tab on the “Content Master” editorial calendar document I’ve created on Google Drive.

Are these the only options available? Absolutely not! Ryan Hanley of the Content Warfare Podcast sends himself a text whenever a content idea strikes. I know many bloggers who start a new blog post for each topic idea that comes to them, then save the draft for future completion. The most important thing isn’t which system you decide on—it’s the fact that you have one, and that you stick to using it.

Do you have a super system for capturing and retrieving content ideas? Share your wisdom with us in the Comments—we’d love to hear from you!

sfzgzgGet Social Media Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Each Friday, we deliver a simple but impactful tip to boost your mojo on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social networks.

Sign me up


 About the Author

Rachel has answerA self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please). As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. Contact Rachel about speaking to your group or business.

Socialmediatoday.com Member BizSugar KredFeatured Author on Business 2 Community

See you again next week!

Our Clients Are Saying

  • One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

    My company had little or no time to spend on social media. Our needs were to ensure a steady stream of posts across three platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) by harvesting and re-purposing content from our own site and news streams. So I contacted Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing.

    The result was two-fold. Not only did our ranks of followers grew steadily, the steady drip, drip, drip of content helped us train our personnel and direct their own individual social media efforts.

    Rachel and her team are extremely organized and open to discussion and new ideas. They deliver a rapid response to new opportunities — and an overall feeling of being on the same team. One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

  • Increased website traffic, New Lead Generation

    We were experiencing a lack of internal resources to consistently maintain the Ustream blog. So we turned to Resonance Content Marketing to write blog posts on current industry topics while maintaining a consistent tone with the brand. The result is increased website traffic, new lead generation from gated assets on blog, and better educated/qualified leads. And I now have more time to spend on marketing strategy with the confidence that the content we push out is extremely well written and engaging.

    Rachel is an amazing writer and has really managed to create engaging and relevant blog material on topics that aren’t always super interesting. On many occasions, she has been able to quickly turn around one-off requests and the results are always top-notch. She has also helped guide our content strategy based on her expertise in content marketing, which has been a huge asset to our team.

  • Event Sold Out Two Years In A Row!

    Rachel worked with me on creating a content marketing calendar and content for the Big Social Media Summit (Big SMS) three years in a row. She is very organized and knows just the right amount of posts on social, email newsletters and content to send.  Her content marketing efforts helping us sell out our event three years in a row!  I am expecting the same for October 2014.

    Rachel was hired to write content for our email newsletter and content for our social platforms. In addition, she had a budget to do advertising on social media. She participated in the event live and after the fact to assure buzz was created before, during and after the event. As a result, our event sold out.

    When I work with Rachel, I have total peace of mind.  I know that she is on target, on time, reliable and delivers over and above the results I expect.

    I trust Rachel totally with her ideas on strategy, marketing and the content used to not only promote our events, but also post on my behalf on social networks. I have been doing social media for 8 years, and I hire Resonance to post on some of my social sites as it saves me time, and keeps my social sites relevant and current. They always post great, engaging content that gets my social properties likes, comments and shares.


  • Added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks

    Rachel took the overwhelm and stress out of writing content for my marketing campaign! When I approached Rachel, I was really concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to focus on writing copy for a lengthy marketing campaign that included sales pages, solo emails, newsletters and social media updates. Well, let’s just say I’m glad I hired Rachel because I couldn’t have done it without her support and expertise. I loved how she used my voice and words to craft content that helped me reach and attract my ideal client. As a result of working with Rachel, I added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks, hundreds of new social media followers and exceeded my sales and list building goals! You know your marketing copy is working when you hear someone say, “I see you everywhere”. Thank you Rachel for helping me not only get seen by my ideal clients but get paid!

  • Professionalism and Sincere Desire to Help

    I just didn’t seem to be able to find the time or the right words to explain what I offer and how my company helps people accomplish their goals. Rachel was able to ask me some questions, do some research and capture my voice while writing my website copy exactly as I needed it to be written.  Now, the copy on my website is much more professional than what I would have created and having this task handled by Rachel and Resonance freed up my time to complete other tasks I am better suited to do.

    It was a joy to work with Rachel. Her professionalism and sincere desire to help was apparent from the first communication until the final delivery. I will definitely use Resonance again and highly recommend their services.

  • Produced ROI Result

    Form.io needed someone who could grasp the complexities of our product, capture the subtlety of our differentiating value propositions, and convey them in the right voice for an exacting customer audience…. Resonance delivered, by crafting a multi-faceted online content marketing strategy that drove traffic and conversion, producing the ROI result we were looking for….

  • Increased our likes and interaction rates

    Working with Rachel was a delight. Not only does she communicate very well, but she provided valuable insight about our social media platforms and followers. We have much better engagement with our fans and followers, which increased our likes and interaction rates.


  • Social Media Ranking Better Than Ever!

    We are so happy to have hired Resonance for our social media needs. We spend most of our time serving our clients and studying our field so we can provide the highest quality possible. We no longer worry about our social media, as we have total confidence in the wonderful work Rachel and her team have accomplished.

    Our social media is active, promoted, and is ranking better than ever! People often comment about what they see on our Facebook page. Resonance has added a creative, and artistic twist to our social media that is appealing and captivating to our audience. This has allowed me more time to work with my team and clients, so I can focus on service towards the people that help our business grow.

    I know there will be wonderful content on Facebook, and that Rachel will answer to posts, comments and questions as soon as a comment arrives. I am often impressed at how quickly she responds! Thank you Resonance! I highly endorse Resonance and encourage companies who need social media strategies to work with Resonance! You won’t regret it! 

Free Tips
learn more...