Tag Archives: creativity

Presentation Apps: 5 Haiku Deck Tips

Presentation Apps: 5 Haiku Deck Tips

While there are many presentation apps, there are none which are as useful as Haiku Deck. Not only can you use this app for personal presentations, you can publish them on the Haiku Deck website, and share your decks with the world.

What’s Haiku Deck? Martin Smith nails it:

Haiku Deck is a magical visual merchandising tool… Haiku Deck combines visual marketing, tactics and strategy into an easy to use online marketing tool.

If you normally create presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote, you’ll be thrilled at how FAST you create them with Haiku Deck. Here’s why:

  • Instant images. You don’t need to buy images, or search for free images with CC licenses, or resize and otherwise mess with images. Consider how many more presentations you could create – and will enjoy creating – if you don’t have to spend time collecting images;
  • Instant formatting. Haiku Deck uses themes, so there’s no formatting. That said, you can easily start your next PP presentation in Haiku Deck by collecting the images you need there, then export your deck to PowerPoint.

PowerPoint

My Authentic Writing deck exported from Haiku Deck to PowerPoint.

Our first three tips cover presentations in general. The final two tips increase your creativity and productivity when you use Haiku Deck.

1. BELIEVE: Be Passionate

If you dislike presentations, focus on your enthusiasm. Become enthusiastic about your topic, and smile. Visualize yourself giving an upbeat, energetic presentation. Watch Steve Jobs. Here’s part of his 2010 keynote for the iPad. If you can match Jobs’s enthusiasm, you’ll give a great presentation.

2. Nouns. And Verbs. Keep It Simple

Although you can use bullet points in your presentations, don’t, unless you have a very specific reason for it. Bullet points deaden a presentation. Use nouns, and verbs. Check out my Authentic Writing deck – nouns and verbs.

Ray Bradbury’s a wonderful storyteller, and has a great writing strategy. He makes lists of nouns:

He began making long lists of nouns as triggers for ideas and potential titles for stories…

3. Rehearse. Then Be in the Moment

Why just nouns and verbs? So that you stay in the moment when you present. Simple slides, with images which make an impact on you and your audience force you to be present – you can’t read your notes. Rehearse your presentation, using notes, until you can give your presentation smoothly, without notes.

Then have fun with it. Interact with your audience. It’s not the end of the world if you have to go back a couple of slides because you forgot to mention something.

4. From Haiku Deck to PowerPoint, PDF, and the World

As we suggested, you can use Haiku Deck to kickstart your PowerPoint presentations. Create your deck, then export to PowerPoint.

Alternatively, export to PDF, to get full-sized images from their source.

Here’s Kent Gustavson’s PDF-export process:

“In preparing for my TEDx, I used the web app, and exported the presentation as a PDF, which allowed me to find the original images on Flickr, and insert them into a presentation that was at a higher resolution to the TED specifications.”

Once you’ve completed your Haiku Deck, you can embed the deck into your site or blog, and can send links to your social media accounts.

5. Let Haiku Deck Inspire You

Every blogger and content creator feels totally uninspired at times. Haiku Deck can help. Begin a new deck. Add a noun and a verb to a slide. Search for images.

I’ve found it helps to doodle as you do this, here’s why. Doodling helps creativity. The benefits of doodling:

.. include increased creativity, because you’re liberating your mind from traditional, linear and linguistic thinking and moving into a more organic thinking space, heightened information processing, heightened information retention and the ability to view content from a variety of different angles.

Keep adding slides to your Haiku Deck, and doodling. You’ll get inspired very quickly. When you’re ready to create content, start creating. Haiku Deck automatically saves your “inspiration”decks. You can work with them later, or just delete them.

Presentation Apps: 5 Haiku Deck Tips

My decks on Haiku Deck.

So there you have it. Give Haiku Deck a try. It’s a superb presentation app; you’ll speed through your presentations, and you’ll enjoy it.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

7 Apps for Inspiration: Get Inspired to Create

7 Apps for Inspiration: Get Inspired to Create

Today, everyone needs to be creative. Whether you’re a writer, designer, or marketer – you need to create. Inspiration makes creativity easier, so when a writing student asked me about apps for inspiration, it made me think about the apps I use. Can apps help you to become inspired?

Apps for Inspiration: Get Inspired on Demand

Can you demand inspiration from yourself? I doubt it. If you try to force inspiration, you’ll choke. However, you can create the right conditions for inspiration to land on you – like the blue bird of happiness. :-)

I’ve come up with seven apps I use which help me to get inspired more or less on demand. The apps create the conditions in which you’re likely to become inspired. They’re in no particular order.

1. Evernote: Your External Brain – and Inspiration

I’ve been using Evernote since 2009. Over the past five years, Evernote has become more and more important to me. I especially like the Related Notes feature. When you start writing a note, Evernote offers you “related notes”. Occasionally, especially if you have lots of notes, Evernote will bring a real gem to the surface, which inspires you.

Most of my thinking happens in Evernote, simply because it’s always available both on my computer and phone. I snap images with the Evernote camera, send handwritten notes from Livescribe (more on Livescribe in a moment) and Penultimtate to Evernote, and record audio notes.

If I want to get inspired, I create a note in Evernote, and start searching and browsing. I write a lot of content, for my clients’ books and blogs, and my own. I wouldn’t be half as creative or productive without Evernote.

2. Penultimate: Take Handwritten Notes on Your iPad

Evernote bought Penultimate, so all your handwritten notes and sketches transfer to Evernote automatically, as soon as you create them.

3. Livescribe Desktop (Requires Livescribe Pen)

Much as I love computers, nothing replaces handwriting for inspiration. I’ve been using Livescribe pens for several years.

Originally, I bought the pens for interviews. It’s wonderful to be able to take notes, and record an interview at the same time, then play back ONLY what you need to hear. It saves transcribing, which takes time, both uploading audio, and then waiting for the transcription to come back.

Over time, I started to use the Livescribe pens and Livescribe Desktop to plan, take notes, and create initial drafts of my writing. You can send any Livescribe page to Evernote.

4. Tinderbox (Mac): Automatic Organization for Your Inspirations

The more you put into Tinderbox, the more inspiration you can draw from it. For me, the app works much like Evernote. I stuff material in, and related material pops out, firing my inspiration.

5. Scapple: the Endless Canvas for Ideas

I adore Scrivener, and have used it for years. Recently Literature and Latte released Scapple. It’s the perfect companion for Scrivener, and wonderfully inspiring.

The app gives you an endless canvas. If you’re stuck on something, start writing notes on Scapple, letting your mind drift, and make associations. Before you know it, you’re inspired.

6. Drafts (iOS): Grab Inspiration as It Flies Past

Have you noticed that inspiration usually strikes when you’re in the middle of doing something else? This is where Drafts comes in handy. Jot a few notes, and go back to what you were doing.

I used to jot notes on sticky notes, and on text notes. Invariably, I’d lose them. A week or two later, I’d remember that I wrote down something brilliant for Project X. I’d spend the next 15 minutes searching the piles of material on my desk, the notebooks on my shelves, and my computer. Then my devices. Could I find it? NO. Since I couldn’t remember what the heck it was, I had no search terms to search on.

After I discovered Drafts, it became my automatic scratch pad. Whenever I’m in the middle of something, and get inspired, I tap a few notes into Drafts. Later, I send the notes to Evernote, Dropbox, or email.

7. PicMonkey: Get Inspired With Images

I’m a writer, not a designer. Since I started to use PicMonkey I’ve found that it’s perfect not only to create images for blog posts and social media, you can use it to get inspired too.

Often I’ll start with a blank canvas on PicMonkey, and start doodling. Or I’ll drop an image onto PicMonkey, and start playing with it. Within five to ten minutes, I’ve been inspired. Try it yourself – it’s free.

So, there we have it. Seven apps for inspiration.

A tip: apps like Evernote and Tinderbox become truly inspirational once you’ve packed material into them. So stuff material in. Don’t worry too much about organization. Inspiration often happens with serendipity. :-)

The Easy-Write Process: Get Inspired on Demand

Want to get inspired on demand? It’s essential in 2014. The Easy-Write Process will help. It’s especially useful if you’re ruled by your inner editor, or tend to procrastinate.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Bluebird image credit

Writing Success: How to Avoid It

Writing Success: How to Avoid It

Writing success: every writer wants it, but some actively avoid it. I work with writers every day, and here’s how the avoidance scenario plays out. A writer tells me about a new project. He’s excited. I’m excited too. We discuss it, then the writer gets to work.

A couple of weeks, or a month later, I ask the writer about the project, and he’s “thinking” about it. Uh oh. We talk about the one big secret of writing — writing, not thinking — and the writer’s enthusiastic again.

Time passes. The writer contacts me to ask me about something else. I resist the temptation to bang my forehead against my desk. No, I don’t yell at him: What about PROJECT X? I know what happened. Project X is dead, dead, dead.

If you don’t create it, it won’t succeed.

No one is guaranteed success, but you can actively avoid success if you lose heart and inspiration and don’t create.

From Beck Gives Us A Lesson In The Arc Of Content Marketing in Forbes:

Beck took a chance with the content. He didn’t focus group it. He just released it and waited to see what happened. His “research” was the world’s actual reaction. We could all stand to be this bold with our content marketing.

If the idea is great, it will be discovered.

No one can guarantee your success. Before Amazon launched the Kindle, authors got used to rejections. It wasn’t uncommon for an author to write ten books, and have each one rejected… until one was accepted. Then, over time, all her rejected books were published.

Time is always a writer’s best friend, as long as you keep writing.

These days, no author needs to fear rejection. You write a book, self publish it, and keep writing. You don’t know what will happen; you don’t need to know. That book may never be successful. It may never sell more than a few copies. But if you keep writing, you increase your chances of success.

Writing success: if your writing doesn’t succeed, keep writing.

Writers get fixated on projects. A project becomes all-important. So important, that to avoid failure, they let the project die.

Why not do as Beck did? Publish. See what happens. If you keep writing, you won’t obsess. Some years ago I had a multi-book contract with a publisher. One day I was lunching with my editor, who was worried about another book coming out on a similar topic to the one I was working on. I shrugged and said: “it’s just a book.”

My book came out, and sold well for a few years. I didn’t pay much attention, because I was working on other books.

Are you avoiding writing success by not finishing projects? Ask yourself this question…

What will happen if you succeed?

Your life won’t change with success. You’ll still write every day. If you focus on the process — writing — rather than success or failure, you’ll increase your chances of success. So keep writing. :-)

If you’re avoiding writing success, check out the Easy Write Process.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Fear of Writing: 3 Tips to Help

Fear of Writing: 3 Tips to Help

Do you have a fear of writing? If you do, you avoid writing tasks. You procrastinate.

In professional writers, “fear” often feels like resistance. This resistance may be a good thing, as I shared on Google+:

Usually, when I wake up in the morning, I make a cup of coffee and start writing fiction immediately. It’s easiest for me to write fiction first, before I start writing “real” stuff – nonfiction. I was a little spooked this morning when I opened my email instead.

Why was I resisting? Why, oh why wasn’t I writing?

But I went with it. When I finally opened my fiction WIP, the story took off in an entirely new direction. I’m thrilled. I didn’t work on any fiction at all yesterday; I had a couple of client deadlines. It seems my subconscious mind was gestating a new (and better) direction for this story during the downtime on it. I’m pleased.

Is resistance fear of writing? In the above instance, it wasn’t. I wanted to write, but felt that I wasn’t ready. I knew I’d work on the fiction project at some point during the day.

What about a real fear of writing? Can you write anyway? Yes you can. Try these three tips.

1. Switch Your Brain: Be Happy.

This exercise sounds weird, but it may work for you – quirk your lips to the right, to trigger your left brain:

If you pull the left lip back repeatedly, it can trigger the right brain. You may feel sad. Pulling back the right lip can trigger the left brain, and a feeling of happiness.

Go on, try it. It works for me, and it may work for you. You should feel a sudden little jolt of happiness which will make your writing task seem a lot less intimidating, and more fun.

Read the LEFT BRAIN RIGHT BRAIN article which explains the exercise; it’s interesting. A lot of brain lateralization theory has been debunked, but it’s still a useful way to think about creativity and your brain.

2. Start Writing – Write Stream-of-Consciousness Material for Ten Minutes.

I’ve been using this little trick for a couple of decades, and I teach it to my writing students. It puts you into “creative” mode; writing triggers more writing.

Here’s all you do. Get a timer, and set it for ten minutes. Now start writing, and keep writing. Write anything you like, whatever words pop into your head. There’s only one rule: KEEP WRITING, no matter what, until the timer goes off.

You can type, or write by hand, it’s up to you.

Writing for ten minutes changes your mood. I discovered this when I started a daily walking regime. For the first ten minutes of the walk, I hated it. At around the eleventh minute, I started to enjoy it.

You can apply this “ten minute” rule to lots of things. Just keep doing the task for ten minutes, and you’ll start to enjoy it.

3. “I’m scared of writing because…”

This exercise works if you have a deep-seated aversion to writing. You may need to repeat it several times. If you do, it will remove your fear of writing completely. One of my students practiced this exercise several times a week for a couple of months. He has no problems with fear of writing now.

As with the stream-of-consciousness exercise, set a timer for ten minutes.

Write “I’m scared of writing because…” and keep writing for ten minutes. Try to write in whole sentences if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry about it. Again, write whatever comes. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, or censoring yourself.

If you wish, you can try this exercise using your non-dominant hand (that is, if you’re right-handed, write with your left hand.)

As we’ve said: if you keep repeating this exercise, eventually you’ll stop being afraid of writing. I’ve no idea why it works, it just does.

So there you have it; three tips to help you to overcome your fear of writing, and make writing fun. :-)

Got a writing challenge? I’ve been helping writers for 20 years. Get in touch.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

3 Easy Ways to Get Ideas for Nonfiction Ebooks

3 Easy Ways to Get Ideas for Nonfiction Ebooks

I’ve been advising my students to “write short” when it comes to ebooks; this means writing short stories, and short nonfiction ebooks. A short ebook at $2.99 is an easy sale. A longer ebook is a much harder sale at $9.99, especially for a new author.

If you’re wondering how long your short ebooks could be, I suggest around 20 pages. Since the concept of “pages” is meaningless in ebook terms, around 5,000 words – the length of a couple of articles.

Writers have asked how to get lot of ideas for ebooks you can write quickly. We cover that in detail in Sizzling Success from Short Reports and Short Stories, but here are three of my favorite ways.

1. News Websites: Become a News Junkie.

I’m a news junkie. I spend way too much time browsing news websites each day, but it does have a benefit. You learn to spot trends, and see what people are talking about. Once you get into the habit, you can spot dozens of ideas for short ebooks in a few minutes.

You can just browse news stories, or you can enter a broad topic. I used to write a lot about weight loss, so I entered that into the search query field in Google News.

get ideas from news websites

Here’s the key: don’t bother clicking through to the stories. It’s distracting. You just want a broad sense of what’s new today. So, in the above image, you can see “woman says her weight loss photos were stolen.”

Excellent. (Not for the woman, obviously…) You could certainly write a short ebook on weight loss photos: how taking snaps of yourself daily in a weight loss journal is an effective way to stay on track with a weight loss diet, or similar.

Think broadly when you brainstorm. How about a nonfiction ebook on how to look great in wedding or other special-event photos?

2. Amazon: Look at the Top 100 Bestsellers in Nonfiction.

If it’s in Amazon’s Top 100, in any category, it’s selling a LOT. So cast your eyes over what people want to learn more about today: Amazon’s top 100, paid and free.

get ideas from Amazon

Again, don’t bother clicking through: focus on the book’s titles. You just need a kickoff point for your own brainstorming, so you can come up with great ideas.

3. Pinterest: Images Stimulate Your Creative Mind.

I adore Pinterest. It’s an amazing site, particularly if you’re hunting for ideas. Check out the Popular category; that’s what’s trending on Pinterest right now.

get ideas from Pinterest

OK, maybe you don’t want to write about bow ties, or candles, or popsicles. :-) Or maybe you do. Scroll down the page. Let yourself muse about what people need, that you could write about.

There’s always something new on Pinterest. You’re sure to find topics you’d enjoy covering in a nonfiction ebook.

So, there you have it. Three easy ways to get great ideas for nonfiction ebooks. Happy idea hunting. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Ebook Covers: Design Secrets for Self Publishers

8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books

Whether you’re creating ebook covers yourself, or hire them done, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve, and why you’re trying to achieve it. As Derek Murphy points out in his article, make your cover clever (nonfiction) or emotional (fiction.)

Self publishers don’t need to do it all, but we function as ringmasters in our own little publishing circus. Cover images attract attention to our books, and with any luck at all, readers too.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Best Advice Ever: Ratio Thinking Gets Results

Best Advice Ever: Ratio Thinking Gets Results

Are you getting the results you want? We all want results. When we don’t get them, we tend to think we’re doing something wrong. It seldom occurs to use that we’re not doing something enough.

This was brought home to me by one of my writing students, Chip. His current job was on a short-term contract, so he needed to increase his writing income quickly. We chatted, and mapped out a plan. He decided that he’d contact companies directly, as well as marketing his writing services online.

“A couple of people were interested,” he told me a week later. “But times are tough. No one wants to hire a writer.”

We chatted for a while. We discussed companies’ communications needs in today’s marketplace, and he agreed that maybe he hadn’t put himself in front of companies which truly needed him. He agreed to contact more companies.

If something isn’t working, it’s tempting to change your strategy, rather than thinking that you need to do more of the same. As Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, reports in his article on the pitch deck Buffer used to raise $500,000 as a startup:

One of the most important elements, that we had to learn during our fundraising process was the concept of “Ratio thinking”. Jim Rohn, the famous motivational speaker, probably explained it best: “If you do something often enough, you’ll get a ratio of results. Anyone can create this ratio.”

Take Action to Make Ratio Thinking Work for You

“Ratio thinking” makes the law of numbers work for you. If you do something often enough, not only will you get better at doing whatever it is, but you’ll get results. No results? Change what you’re doing. Once you’re getting results, do more of whatever it is that gets the most useful result. Planning can only take you so far; action counts.

As Leo points out in his article, it all comes down to persistence. If you put your offering in front of 100 people, and you get one buyer, then you should get ten buyers if you put your offering in front of a thousand people.

Persistence isn’t easy. Doubts creep in. What if you’re wasting your time? What if it doesn’t work? What if you need to do something different?

Persist in the face of your doubts. Tennis great Bjorn Borg said:

“My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.”

What happened with Chip? He persisted. And his persistence was rewarded. He’s well on the way to building a stable of quality clients. He’s committed to making ratio thinking part of other areas of his life too. He knows it gets results.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Creative Marketing on a Budget: 3 Tips You Can Use Today

Creative Marketing on a Budget: 3 Tips You Can Use Today

Looking for creative marketing on a budget ideas? There’s never been a better time for do-it-yourself marketing. Social media helps you to tell your story (see tip 3, to choose your story). You can make even contact with reporters at a click, so don’t worry that you’re without a marketing budget. You can more than compensate.

Let’s look at three tips you can use today.

1. Leverage Social Networking Sites Like Pinterest.

Used well, social media wins attention. Blood, sweat, and tears: How we got from 0 to 500K downloads on a budget reports:

We launched a week before demo day and were able to generate a good media buzz (I’ll get more specific later) by piggybacking Pinterest and reach a go-to market that was highly relevant for us at the time.

If you’ve got images to tell your story, Pinterest is for you. In Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today, I suggested:

If you’re used to doing outreach for links, you know how to approach people. Firstly, create some boards, with great images. Pay attention to your pin’s descriptions, and add hashtags. Treat optimizing your boards and pins just as you would any other search engine optimization (SEO) project.

You may start out without an audience, but Pinterest is immensely social, so consider who on Pinterest is attracting your audience, and get in touch with them. Be aware that it’s quid pro quo – do unto others, if you expect them to help you.

Tip: check out my Pinterest program; although it’s nominally for writers, it’s powerful for all small business people.

2. Reach Out: Get Press Any Way You Can.

What would a story in the New York Times do for you? Or a story in your local paper, or a magazine, or on a high-traffic website your audience visits?

10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget reports:

Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out www.helpareporter.com. You can respond to reporters’ queries that are looking for story ideas and resources. Some are small media opportunities, but others are major media outlets that use this service too.

Reporters are in the story business. Reporters desperately want and need great stories. (More on your story in a moment.) Create an elevator pitch for your business, product or service, and ensure it’s newsworthy.

Which brings us to…

3. You’re a Story: Choose “Rags to Riches”, or Anything Memorable.

Remember Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe? McDonald’s special sauce? Did Victor Kiam really like Remington shavers so much that he bought the company?

All three companies leveraged wonderful stories. The truth or otherwise of the stories doesn’t matter. What counts is that your story is memorable. Back in the day, when I was a baby novelist, Jacqueline Susann was a best-selling author. She maintained that she wrote each draft of a novel on different colored paper. Since her books were regarded as trashy, the idea was, trash or not, she worked hard. Maybe Ms Susann really did use different colors for her drafts. Whatever, it was a great story.

The founders of Apple and Google started their companies in a garage. As a marketing trope, rags to riches never gets old.

What’s your story? Your story doesn’t need to be related directly to whatever you’re promoting. The Taco Bell chihuahua didn’t have much to do with fast food. If you’ve got a photogenic pet, like Grumpy Cat, you’ve got it made. Leverage your cutie in your marketing materials.

So there you have it. Think about how you can use these “creative marketing on a budget” ideas to get attention for you next promotion. Start by finding something that’s memorable, then leverage social media and get attention. Marketing in 2014 has less to do with your budget than your creativity.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips To Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the mood to write a blog post? Although I love blogging, half the time I’d rather be reading – or doing something else undemanding. If you allow it, procrastination can kill your blog. For hobbyist bloggers, that’s okay. It’s not okay if your job or your livelihood depends on writing more content.

Check out these three blogging tips for those times you’re just not in the mood.

1. Get Inspired by Google Suggest – Tip Toe Through the Alphabet.

Google’s the savior of recalcitrant bloggers. Hie yourself off to Google, and enter a topic – any topic. Add the letter “a.”

google suggest

As you can see in the image above, I entered “blogging”, plus “a.” I haven’t anything to say on blogging away debt, but I could create a post on any of the other three ideas, even if I wasn’t in a blogging mood.

2. Write a List of Words. Use Them in Your Blog Post.

Challenge yourself. Write a list of words – any words. Author Ray Bradbury used nouns:

These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.

You can use any words you like. Example: summer, drizzle, sly, sky blue, river, petunia… Now write a blog post, and include those words. Or not, your choice.

Writing a list of words primes the pump. You’ve given the logical side of your brain something to think about. Before you know it, the creative side of your brain gets in on the act, and you’ve written a blog post.

This exercise works well if you need to create your editorial calendar for the month.

3. Temper, Temper – Think About Something That Annoys You.

Got a temper? Me too. I’ve calmed down over the years, but I can create a list of annoyances which get me into a temper without any effort.

Think of something which annoys you. No, don’t blog about that. Use the energy and make a word list. Anger is just energy, and you can direct it anywhere you like. Direct that anger into creating a blog post. Tip: keep your post positive.

So there you have it. Next time you’re not in the mood, try one of these blogging tips. They’re fun.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photopin cc

3 Simple Content Creation Tricks You Can Use Right Now

3 Simple Content Creation Tricks You Can Use Right Now

Desperate for some content creation ideas? Try these three simple tricks. I’ve found them helpful, and so have my students. Big bonus: they’re easy, and they help you to get more ideas.

1. Focus on Problems: No One’s Alone With a Problem.

Life is just one problem after another. Instead of cursing your challenges, try turning them into content. Don’t stop there. What challenges do your clients have? Your team?

Here’s a list of five challenges I’ve been thinking about this morning, and the solutions they inspire. These are content ideas, so make the most of them:

  • Evernote – my primary Evernote account has over 5,000 notes. It’s time to weed the notes out again. With over 50 million users, there’s a big audience for Evernote tips and tricks;
  • Images – I need more images! If you want to get your slice of the attention economy, images are essential. Time I learned to create infographics…;
  • My WordPress.com blog needs attention. I’ll brainstorm some ideas for it, and then will use Trick 2, below;
  • Catching up with my reading, specifically news feeds. Google Reader is long gone; I’ve just purchased ReadKit to help me to manage my feeds. I’m sure some of the 50 million ex-Google Reader subscribers are way behind on their reading too.

No one’s alone with a problem – if you’ve got a problem, turn it into content.

2. Get an Idea, and Implement It.

You’ve written down some problems, and solutions. Implement a solution. Here’s why: once you start implementing, you’ll discover what works, and what doesn’t work. Your readers will enjoy reading about your experiences.

You don’t need to create a case study, although you could. My first problem I mentioned in Trick 1 was too many notes in Evernote. (You can have up to 100,000 notes in Evernote, so my 5,000 notes aren’t necessarily a big deal. I just like to weed out outdated material reguarly.)

I manage goals, clients, and products in Evernote; it helps me to manage my writing, and my business.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two pieces of content I can create right away. As I weed out Evernote, I’m sure I’l think of more:

  • Evernote helper apps. I’ve been meaning to investigate a couple of apps which will help me to manage Evernote. I can create content about my experiences with these apps;
  • Managing your goals in Evernote. I want to try something new. I’ll try it, and then write about it.

3. Pitch Three or More Content Ideas at the Same Time.

If you create content for others, as I do, you need to pitch your content ideas. Try to pitch several ideas, rather then just one. How many of your ideas are accepted isn’t important. You pitch more, because you’ll find that this gives you more ideas; once you’re in a creative mindset, your ideas will flower.

For example, this morning I pitched a content creation schedule for one of my clients. I scheduled six pieces of content right within WordPress, adding several points for each post. I also chose the keywords I was targeting, and located some images. While I was doing that, I got ideas for content I can create for another client.

Once you get into a “content” mindset, you’ll come up with more ideas than you need.

Try these simple content creation tricks. They’re very simple, powerful. Make a note of them too, for the next time you get stuck, and can’t come up with ideas.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: zetson via photopin cc