I recently published a blog post titled “How to Quickly and Easily Create a Month's Worth of Social Media Content in 30 Minutes or Less”.
In it I tell you how to leverage one GREAT idea to create 100+ pieces of content to use across all of your social media sites in multiple formats (text, video, graphics).
How do you come up with that one GREAT idea?
Here is my process.
You Can Never Tell When Genius Will Strike
Believe it or not, some of my best content ideas happen when I am not even trying or when I least expect it. I'll see something that I love that somebody else did that sparks an idea. Sometimes, I can be driving down the road and see something that sparks an idea and BOOM, I know I have an idea that I can flesh out.
When that little gift happens, I immediately open my “Ideas” document and write it down.
You can use a Google doc, DropBox, Evernote, Notes on your phone (I do this a LOT) or even a Microsoft Word document. The key is to NOT to let that small moment of genius get away.
That's tip #1.
But what if ideas don't just slam into you and you simply can't think of the next BIG concept? Below you will find 5 ways that I use to personally find the next big idea when I hit a dry spell.
My Basic “Big Idea” Generating Process
1. Source Ideas from Others
Now, notice I said “source”. I did not say “steal” or even “borrow” someone else's ideas.
What I mean is that you can pay attention to what other people are saying or doing. That could be your competitors or someone else that is already serving your ideal customer.
Listening and observing have never been easier. In just a few minutes, you can check out your competitor's Facebook Fan Page, Twitter feed, blog, website, etc. Not only can you see what they are posting, but you can also see the amount and type of engagement they are getting with their content.
When you see something that strikes you as good, write it down, especially the stuff that you think is good and also gets great engagement.
Now you have the starting point, or core of a great idea. Of course you need to find a different angle, add additional value or build on that core idea, but at least you have the seedling to start from.
I automate the process using two great pieces of software, Feedly and BuzzSumo.
I use Feedly to automate the process of notifying me when blog posts are published from certain sites and also when blog posts containing certain keywords are published.
BuzzSumo is a free to paid service. The free option might be enough but, honestly, this tool is invaluable and, in my opinion, worth the investment, if you can swing it in your budget. The platform allows you to search using a key phrase and to pull up the top content across most of the top social sites based on who is sharing it most – this tells you what topics or concepts are hot!
Not only is it telling you what people are resonating with and that your community or your competitors are blogging about, it also tells you what “wow” moments are happening across the top social media sites.
2. Ask Your Community
Now, a lot of people will say, “Well, that's a given, right?”
You would think that you wouldn't have to tell people that they needed to do that, but it's amazing how many people don't do it. They don't take advantage of the opportunity to simply ask the people whose opinion they value the most, their existing community!
If you have a list, you could send out an e-mail and ask, “What are your pain points? How can I better serve you? How can I help you? What questions do you have?”
If you don't have a subscriber list you could ask a similar question on Facebook or Twitter or any of your social platforms. That's the great thing about social media sites…they are social! People can and will answer you back.
Every time I do this I get amazing feedback and a ton of great ideas to write about.
3. Questions are Gold Mines
When people have a question and actually take the time to ask it, the answer is important to them. Read that sentence again <grin>. There is no such thing as a stupid question to someone who wants to know something that they don't know.
If multiple people are asking the same or similar question, then answering that question is important to your community and doing so, in itself, produces GREAT content ideas.
Think about the “trusted advisors” you go to, the people you know who are experts in certain areas and whose advice you seek whenever you are stuck or need to know an answer.
When you do find that answer you were seeking, don't you say “Wow, how do they always know exactly what I am looking for?”
They read blog comments and Facebook post comments and Twitter feeds, etc. checking for things that are asked a lot. Then they research the answer and tell you.
You have the power to do the exact same thing right.
There is a side benefit to this tip…people search by their questions on the Google machine so when you write a blog post that is question based, you can get a ton of search juice from the Google machine and other search engines!
Have you ever thought about using SlideShare to find great content ideas?
There are tons of PowerPoint decks there that people have created for presentations of some sort. Maybe they are going to an event they're speaking at, or maybe they're just sharing great content, and they want it to be visual and easy for others to consume.
You can pop in a key phrase or do a keyword search in your area of expertise and viola, you will have a whole bunch of content ideas show up for you.
Once you've done your search, simply sort by popularity. You will be amazed, the most popular ones are either the best ideas or the ones or the subjects that are resonating most within your niche.
Either way, you win because you now have the starting point for expanding what's proven to work into your own related but unique idea.
Look at covers of popular magazines, especially the types of magazines your community would read.
This is an amazing way, not only to source great ideas, but it's also a great way to source amazing headlines. In fact, some of the best headline writers in the world work for these companies.
Use Magazine Covers for Content Ideas and Help Writing Great Headlines
You see, it really doesn't matter how awesome your content is if you can't get people to read it, or you can't get people to click on it, or you can't get people to come into your Facebook Live broadcasts because you haven't told them what's in it for them.
A great headline is incredibly powerful.
There is a master class waiting for you on how to write them just a few clicks away.
So there you have it, my process for coming up great ideas. Does it work?
Are you going to give it a try? What's your process for coming up with great ideas? I would love to hear in the comments section below.
I had not thought of using Slideshare for ideas! Lately, I’ve been using Google Image Search, oddly enough, for diagrams/infographics of concepts I’m trying to express through words. Pinterest would probably be a big help with that, too.