How To Never Run Out Of Content Ideas
When you have a way to tap into ideas, it means your well will never become dry.
Let’s get straight to the point, there are no new ideas, just different ways of sharing your perspective that relates to the industry you serve. This is where the magic happens where you start to stand out from your viewpoint.
We’re going to look at how you find the seeds of ideas, that can relate to any industry but are going to keep you relevant and get you into practice.
Everyone needs a starting point, you can’t just step up and create, that is where everything becomes generic and disjointed.
My Proof To You
If I am going to share with you how to mine ideas, I have to prove to you that it works for me.
I have committed to You Are The Media since October 2013 with at least one main theme/article each week. Apart from short breaks during summer and Christmas, there have been over 400 newsletters delivered and the tank is still full.
There is a pulse to it all and it all comes from finding a process and then acting on the idea framework. The most important part is that when you know your audience, you have a better grasp of what to create for them. This is where it becomes enjoyable.
When it comes to how I work it has followed the same pattern for years. I read, I listen and I join in with what’s around me. I jot down ideas into an Evernote file (I have different files for reading, group work and content ideas). I’ll look at what others have said and look to create my own slant to it.
The biggest sources of inspiration for me are podcasts and subscribing to newsletters. It feels like someone is talking directly to me.
Why Do People Run Out Of Ideas?
When you don’t have a process, you can start to muddle your way through with no real goal. By immersing yourself in what’s around you, you recognise that your brain is this endless bank of ideas. You are constantly feeding it with new information and knowledge.
Whilst I don’t run out of ideas, what has been noticeable is that we can’t just keep on ploughing through. We’re not robots. This is why I take a break as it’s more about recharging than it is on keeping to a schedule.
It is easier to run out of ideas when:
👎 You have no rhythm and discipline. For instance, every subscriber is told I will send an email to them every Thursday at 6.30am, I have to keep to that.
👎 You’re not too sure of the audience you create for. When you begin you are almost creating for yourself, 12 months ago. As more people join in, you can start to see patterns and always invite their feedback/struggles/lightbulb moments.
👎 You’re not specific enough. This is when you take what is already out there and just make it another industry-sounding piece that has no emotion or punch. There are better places with domain authority that can address the basics.
The Three Gear Idea Engine
Recognising you can mine ideas is when you open up and look around you and not just be sat down and forced to find that spark.
It’s a continual process, but one where you can start to put into themes and rooms.
Here is how you can mine new ideas to keep going.
This relates to consuming what is out there and molding it into how relevant it is to you.
It doesn’t mean jumping on bandwagons and popular topics but being aware of the role you serve, what you specialise in and filtering down a message where you can put your stamp on it.
For instance, recent ideas have been shaped by the people who unsubscribe from the YATM newsletter and acknowledging that delivering events are very hard from my own first-hand experience. When you mix this with being open of the world around you (reading, listening, watching trusted people) balanced with your own individual world, ideas start to form when you are encouraged to put your own interpretation.
The experiences you encounter can become valuable material as you are constantly being fed new ideas, you just need to listen.
Whilst we had video to be connected during the pandemic, by taking away the personal interaction, my work started to take a path down a more ‘this is how it works’ practical route.
As people started to reconvene, the one-to-one experiences started to ramp up in my work. By being a part of YATM and participating, since autumn 2021, creation efforts have become heavier around community, togetherness, building an audience and creating work for the people you want to be with.
By participating and joining in, it can help you with a wealth of new ideas. It’s the experiences you create for yourself that also support your work. When the opportunity comes to be with others, take it, you will find so much more than just attending. Switch on the idea machine at the same time.
As an example when working with young adults for the YATM Creator Lab, I am doing the homework I set, with them. Read this article on why I am struggling being a teacher, when I am not a teacher.
You don’t always have to be creating new work, come back to the ideas you have already created. This is something that so many people forget, whilst they are forging ahead with something new.
I realise that people don’t want every idea you have, they want your best ideas. Revisiting and shaping concepts and themes can help you sculpt your work into something better. For instance, I find that coming back to the difference between audience and community dynamic is something that becomes even more relevant each year and the people who come to your side.
The ideas you have previously spent time with, don’t leave them in a corner. It’s not a case of cutting and pasting. What you need to do is apply your further knowledge and experience of today with the person who first produced the article. I know I am a better writer today than I was in 2019.
Revising, relooking and expanding on previous content can be easier than producing something new.
When you make it your responsibility to mine and find ideas that link to observing, participating and reigniting, it can put you in a recognised place where you can build the right audience.
The more you can capture and note down (in Notes or Evernote), the more creative you can become. It comes down to finding a routine where you know what you are tuning into and how it all relates to the people you share with.
Over time it can start to become a trait where you know that you can find ideas and interpret them. The more you practice, your brain knows you are a creative, resourceful and productive person. That way you’ll never scratch your head and wonder what’s next. The idea engine is an enormous help to your creation efforts.