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

06 Dec 2013
| Last update: 28 Oct 2019

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 idea generation skills!

And I’m not talking about being able to generate great ideas once, because that won’t cut it.

Idea generation is something that must happen constantly. As a blog owner, you will have to keep on providing great articles for your readers. So, it’s best to 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 referring to earlier, when I talked about the 6 main areas of your WordPress sites was:

  • Blogging,
  • Traffic,
  • Social Media,
  • SEO,
  • Links,
  • Authority.

Your ability to come up with fresh ideas for the new content that you will publish will affect 4 of those 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 might have happened there. This will probably reduce their engagement with your products, as they will slowly feel disconnected.

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

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

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 marketers to link to your articles because they are interested in what you’ve got to say.

What we’ll be doing in this first lesson is to 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.

You’ll want to make sure that any idea you generate can be integrated into your general content strategy (you remember Lesson 4 from the first course we had at Squirrly, right?). That’s why it’s very important to have a clear, planned way of gathering and organizing all of these ideas.

The important thing is to start. Right now. So let’s begin:

Here’s what you will need for building up your own idea generation 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?

An 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) 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.

 

 

Build your own calendar. Use Google Drive

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

Great!

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.

It’s very important to have the editorial calendar always close by because it will help you capture some very important ideas in it. As soon as you get an idea, click on the spreadsheet and instantly write it down. It’s automatically saved in the spreadsheet. B-A-M! 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 let’s 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, let us ask this question differently.

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

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

Make it a habit every time you come across a new idea, to try and turn it into at least 2 separate things. You can then connect those multiple mediums.

Divide and Conquer made different.

Most likely, your audience doesn’t just follow your activity 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. That’s great!

But what should you do now that you’ve documented your idea? Should you just begin writing about that, or should you do a bit more with that very 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 in the future lessons, but until then you can take a peek on 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 include the video. See? A media mix on your WordPress site: both blog and Video!

Some people will prefer to watch a quick video or read some slides from Slideshare, others will just ahead and read the whole article. Using this divide and conquer approach, you’ll be able to satisfy the expectations and needs of all these different types of audiences.

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?”

In Lesson 2, we’ll continue to build on the ideas presented in Lesson 1, and provide even more insight into how you can build an efficient idea generation process.

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 a daily routine;

creating a list of go-to content formats and ideas that you can use repeatedly (this will provide a lot of value for you 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!