How to come up with Content Ideas
Steal my Systems Series Part 4
If you are anything like me, you will be a content ideas machine. Well, at least until it comes to the point of actually having something to write. Then all you do is find yourself staring at a blank screen.
It always seems like feast or famine. Too many ideas to share at one time or none at all on the day you need to write an email to your list or write that social media post.
This all changed for me when I started using a project management system to organise content ideas.
Now I have an abundant source of them as a way of starting to organise them so my marketing and communications become much more impactful.
Through this post, I’ll share my system for organising all those content ideas.
To be clear, these content ideas aren’t restricted to just blog posts. They are for any informational or inspirational messages I want to share. They can be blog posts, Facebook Lives, social media posts or emails. For you, it can be whatever mediums you usually use to communicate.
How to organise content ideas – the system
Initially, I used Trello for this but have since switched to Asana since they have added the “boards” view. Either though is a good choice and will perform what I recommend below.
They also both have great free, feature rich versions and have phone apps so you can access (and add) your ideas on the go.
How to organise content ideas – the ideas bank
The first thing to do is create a master “Ideas Bank” project. This is where you will put all of your ideas as they come to you – whether during a brainstorming session or when you are in the shower.
Each idea will have its own card which at first can just be titled with the main gist of the idea. But you can add as little or as much detail as you like in the description and comments. This might include just a brief overview or full outline. You can also include a comment with links to research or inspiration sources.
The great thing about this is that it is something you can keep coming back to time and time again. As you are just going about your usual online travels and you spot something interesting that is relevant to that topic you can quickly add another comment and save yourself the worry of forgetting or that you need to read that thing right in that very moment.
Once I have a few ideas listed out, I love to add different columns with category titles. This helps organise them into smaller subject areas.
How to organise content ideas – the master plan
So you have a whole heap of ideas, now what do you do with them?
It is not helpful to you or your audience to just be churning out content in no particular order and with little alignment across platforms.
To create true impact with your marketing you need to be sharing the same message across multiple platforms and in multiple ways. This will not only amplify your messages and keep you focused, but it will also eliminate confusion for your audience.
Creating categories is the first step but now I take it further into quarterly or monthly content planning.
Depending on what I have coming up I will create either a Quarterly or Monthly “Master Plan” project in Asana. This master plan has a main focus for that time period – one that links to a specific offer or business goal I have. For example, if you are doing a launch of a service, you would try to create everything with that focus in mind. This could be literally anything, but the important part is to have one. This is what will keep everything aligned.
In the project, I will add a column for every week of that time period. Then I will add a card for each of my content areas that I maintain. In my case, each week I produce a blog post, a FB Live video and an email to my list. This is in addition to social media content.
If you have a special promotion, you can also add a card for that here for easy reference too.
I even go a step further and note down any background business projects I want to get done.
How to organise content ideas – the content plan
Now it’s time to merge the ideas bank with the master plan. This is just a simple plug and play.
With the focus of that quarter or month in mind, go back to your ideas bank and see what fits.
Which of these ideas really supports this focus?
What helps create a stepping stone for your audience towards this goal?
Then simply add your ideas to a specific week and content delivery method.
Some ideas might serve really well in one delivery method (for example over email but not on social media.) Others you might be able to present in multiple ways, really ensuring your message gets across.
Once you have added a content idea to each card, you can keep dragging and dropping until it fits a natural flow.
Then you are ready to go! Either to do a batch writing session when you are feeling really inspired or quickly writing it the night before your deadline! Either way, at least you aren’t stuck for ideas.
How do you manage all your content ideas? Share any extra tips you have in the comments!