Lesson 1: How Creating An Infrastructure for Idea Generation Makes You Harvest More Ideas

Lesson 1: How Creating An Infrastructure for Idea Generation Makes You Harvest More Ideas

06 Dec 2013
| Last update: 01 Apr 2016

There are 6 main areas that you need to look at when you study the success of your wordpress site and 4 of those are heavily impacted by your skills with idea generation!

Being able to generate great ideas only once won’t cut it. There’s not just one shot and then, “BAM!” everything goes okay no matter what (we’re not talking about best-selling authors here, right? 🙂 ).

Idea generation is something that must happen constantly and since you, as a content writer, will have to keep on providing great articles for your readers, it’s best if you have some serious planning in place for all the new content that you will write in the next month. Maybe even in the next few months.

What I was writing about earlier, when I talked about the 6 main areas of your wordpress sites, I was refering to: Blogging, Traffic, Social Media, SEO, Links, Authority.

Your capability of coming up with new ideas for new content that you will publish affects 4 of the main areas. Yes, four main areas, out of six. Now that’s a lot, which means that idea generation as a subject deserves a lot of credit, wouldn’t you agree?

Blogging is affected by idea generation, because without it, you won’t be able to update your blog, and readers will think something bad happened there. Engagement will become lower.

Social Media: as you saw in the introductory email I sent 2 days ago, you need new ideas in order to keep your audiences from social media happy and waiting for more.

Wake up with new leads from the content you publish.

 

SEO is of course impacted by your ability to come up with new content. An updated site will always (90% of times, really) out-perform the sites that aren’t updated. Especially true if you optimize your content for search and for Humans, as I taught you in our earlier courses.

Links to your site: yup, even this is a place where idea generation comes in handy, because if you come up with new ideas that are cool, you may just hit some lucky spots and get other content marketers interested in your stuff, so they will link to it.

What we’ll be doing in this first lesson is try to build an infrastructure for idea generation, that’s supposed to be a great help for you in the coming months. You can start building something in this sense right away. The best part is that as you go along, you can find new ways to adapt the infrastructure to your personal business and to the way you create content.

Why would you need an infrastructure for generating new ideas for content marketing?

In the next few lessons, we will go through a lot of idea generation techniques, PRO tips, and some edgy advice that will make you write an amazing amount of new ideas for fresh content.

It’s very important to have a clear, planned way of gathering and organizing all of these ideas, so that you will not burn out due to dealing with too many different ideas in too many areas.

Plus, you’ll want to make sure that any one idea can be integrated into your general content strategy (you remember Lesson 4 from the first course we had at Squirrly, right?).

The important thing is to start. Right now. So lets begin:

Here’s what you will need for building up your own infrastructure.

1) The Editorial Calendar.

Maybe the Editorial Calendar is already your friend. If it already is, then look at how we employ one of these great tools and see if the next ideas help you out 🙂

What is an editorial calendar?

The editorial calendar is a great tool that helps you keep track of all the content that you (and maybe also your other content writers, if you have more) post or plan to post on your blogs, wordpress sites, tumblrs, youtube channel, etc.

Of course, its base function is to help you prepare content for your main wordpress site, which is what we’ll focus on in this lesson.

What does an Editorial Calendar look like?

Here is an example that you can use. According to your needs, you may want to change some of the columns in the near future.

Following, are some screenshots of how an editorial calendar looks at Squirrly.

idea generation

 

calendar for idea generation

 

Build your own calendar. Use Google Drive

The best idea is to build your Editorial Calendar in Google Drive. Take the example that I linked to before and copy all the information to a new spreadsheet built with Google Drive.

Great!

Bookmark it and keep it close for Idea Collection

Now that you’ve created it and you’re always able to easily access it from the web browser, make sure you Bookmark it. If you’re using Chrome, you can place the bookmark in the top bar of the browser, so that you can always click it.

Here’s an example of how my Chrome looks like. You can see that I’ve made a folder called “Content Marketing” that I use for content marketing activities.

idea generation tips

It’s very important to have the editorial calendar always close by, because it will help you capture some very important ideas in it. You just get an idea, click to the spreadsheet and instantly write it down. It’s automatically saved. BAM! No more idea losses. Ever.

Collecting the ideas that you will keep generating after having gone through this whole course will be very important.

This was all about the editorial calendar.

Now lets move on with the lesson.

2) The MIX of Media Types

How can you harvest more ideas and also create more kinds of engaging content for your audience?

Well, lets ask this question differently.

How can we make One idea turn into Two idea? Huh, how does that sound? Make 1 a 2 🙂

The answer is simple: multiply your idea by new content type.

Make it a habbit every time you come across a new idea, to try and turn it into at least 2 separate things (which you can, of course, connect)

Divide et Impera made different.

Your audience is most likely not only on your wordpress site. You may also have a Youtube account, a Pinterest account, a SlideShare account.

You’ll use this course to generate a lot of ideas, but let’s say that you’re getting an idea. Right now. Right in this very moment.

You go and write it down in your editorial calendar. Great!

But what should you do now? Should you just begin writing about that, or should you do a bit more with that SAME idea?

Divide it. And conquer your audience on two different channels.

You can make a youtube video first. Awesome! (we’ll present examples on how to do this, but until then you can see how we do it on our youtube channel)

Now you’ll go ahead and also make a blog post with that same idea. In which, you will also throw the video. See? A media mix on your wordpress site: both blog and Video!

Some people will prefer to see a quick video or some slides from slideshare, before going ahead and reading a whole article.

Practice makes perfect

Go ahead and begin thinking about all of your ideas like this. From now on, each new idea that you’ll have should be passed through the filter of: “can I also make some slides to support this article? a video? an infographic? an ebook? a downloadable file?”

Lesson 2 will provide the next points of this lesson

Stay tuned. The next lesson should be up in 2 days.

Until then, work on your editorial calendar and have it prepared.

In the second part of this module, we’ll cover:

building an inspiration-driving mechanism to help idea generation become daily routine

making your content repeatable, predictable (this will provide a lot of value for you, as an over-worked content writer, because it will lower the time you require to come up with new stuff and make your editorial calendar become even more useful)

using Trello to make your new ideas Rich and easier to turn into different media types

Mooc-Style content, for creating more with the same idea.

Until then,

Best regards,
Florin Muresan
CEO of Squirrly UK

Florin Muresan

I'm using Starbox PRO to display my author profile like this. And so do our other authors. It's a great plugin!