Why You Need a Content Idea-Capturing System
Welcome 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.
And 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:
- “We were anticipating short-term results from a long-term strategy.”
- “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.
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!
Each Friday, we deliver a simple but impactful tip to boost your mojo on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social networks.
About the Author
A 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.
See you again next week!
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