Writing Journal 47: Your Idea Factory

Writing Journal 47: Your Idea Factory

My writing journal for Sunday, September 28, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I woke up early, and started the day by outlining some ideas and insights. I’m happy to report that my bullet journal is VERY useful for this, and for idea generation. It encourages you to jot down any bright or dim idea which flits through your brain. You can develop them, or not, but at least you’ve recorded them. And ideas tend to breed.

Luckily, the ideas in my bullet journal grew into a couple of solutions for the character arcs for the novella that I was worrying about yesterday. I decided that I’d focus on editing the novella this morning. If I do that, and work on it tonight, I can get it to the contract editor tomorrow.

Breakfast for Honey, and for me. Thankfully, there’s just a few student emails this morning. I zip through them, and get back to working on the novella.

Your Idea Factory

I’m getting lots of questions about the bullet journaling process, and why I love it, and adore it more each day.

By the way, many people love it. Ryder Carroll’s Kickstarter campaign is now at $45,000, from a goal of $10,000. There’s still 17 days to go. I thought it would get to $50,000, but obviously I predicted WAY too low. :-)

I love the bullet journal because it helps me to get insights, and develop ideas. I noticed that from the very first day. If ideas and writing are important to you — and I know that they are — consider using a bullet journal. Today, I need to write, and you need to write. EVERYONE needs to write, and you need to become an idea factory.

The world has changed. You can be in touch with almost anyone, anywhere on the globe, as soon as you hit the Tweet button, or the Share button on a social media website. You may feel as if no one’s paying attention. You’ll soon discover that they are, if you post something you regret later. Our always-on, never-sleeps, new world brings challenges too, of course. Yesterday, I mentioned surviving the content flood.

Way back in the early 1990s, I was doing presentations called “The Internet Age: the Age of Creativity.” This was before the Web. I got online in the late 1980s, thanks to a Melbourne academic. Except for computer geeks, academics, and CompuServe people, no one was online. No one even knew what the Internet was, as I soon discovered. My audience thought I was crazy. What was the Internet? Why would it change everything? Questions… Looking back, I was way ahead of the curve, but that’s OK. I love the Internet now as much as I did then.

A generation later, here we are. Whatever business you’re in, ideas and writing are vitally important to you. You need to be confident that you ARE an idea factory… you just need to pay attention and collect your ideas. Your bullet journal will help you to do that.

Tip: even if you think you’re not creative, you’ll soon discover that ideas are everywhere. Once you get an idea collection and generation mindset, you’ll have way more ideas than you could ever use. That’s OK too. Keep generating and collecting — it’s important. If you keep generating ideas, you’ll get better ideas. It’s as if there’s an idea fairy, somewhere in your head (mine looks like Tinker Bell).

Tinker Bell

If you keep writing down your ideas, and working with them, your Tinker Bell gets serious. She’ll gift you with insights you can use in your work, in your relationships, and to manage your health. Tinker Bell never sleeps, and she’s very reliable.

Your own personal Tinker Bell will turn you into an idea factory, with the help of your bullet journal and this is a VERY good thing. We’ll have more to say on ideas, your bullet journal and your personal Tinker Bell in the coming months, because your ideas are a treasure chest that’s uniquely yours. You just need to discover it.

It’s time for my walk, and then for my Sunday commitments.

When I get back, I’ll get all the editorial calendars on the various blogs up to date.

Sunday blogging: editorial calendars, blog post outlines and images

It’s mid-afternoon, so it’s time for my Sunday planning session for my blogs, and those of my clients.

The bullet journal’s proving invaluable with this too. Previously, I’d have ideas and notes in Evernote, on the blogs themselves in draft posts, in EagleFiler, and on my phone and my iPad, in various apps. There’d also be a blizzard of sticky notes on a couple of bulletin boards.

Now I have Collections in my bullet journal; I still jot down ideas in the same messy ways as before, but I corral them all in the bullet journal as soon as I can.

With blog planning out of the way, I get back to ghostwriting the company history for an hour.

Finally, the word counts are done, the daily and weekly reviews are done, and everything’s ready for another week.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

5 Easy Ways to Create Content Like a Pro

 

Business blogging
Create Content Like a Pro

Although business blogging is a wonderful marketing tool, it’s also a real hassle. Blogs are voracious. You can feel like a hamster on a wheel, running desperately fast and wearing yourself out.

Luckily, there are tricks you can use to create content without struggle. Over the years, while blogging for my own and others’ blogs, I’ve learned some tricks. Let’s look at five of them.

1. Always Be Noting: Write Notes (Thinking Becomes Enthusiasm)

Everything you do in your business, and every customer interaction can become blog fodder, but only if you get into a “noting” mindset. Start by creating a list of situations which could be helpful for blog content research. For example, talking to customers, reviewing customer and other emails, attending trade shows, and checking out your competitors.

Get into the habit of asking questions. Write down the responses, as soon as a conversation’s over.

Writing things down generates enthusiasm. Not only does this make your content livelier, it makes it entertaining.

2. Set Goals for Your Content, and Content Creation Goals for Yourself

What do you want your blog’s content to do for you? Create a list of goals for your content. You may want your content to generate leads, show thought leadership in your industry, or cut down on customer service requests. Write your list, and review it at least once a week.

Also, create a couple of blogging goals for content creation. You might set a goal to blog once a week, for example.

3. Big, Little and Fast Content: Test Content Formats

Blogging needn’t mean writing. You can post photos, conversations, and short (or long) videos. Alternative forms of content like this can be effective.

You’ve always got your cell phone camera: use it. You can snap images of your products, your customers, your physical store if you have one, staff members, your office, the view out of your office window… Anything you like. It’s all content, and it all helps.

Google+’s Hangouts are popular with marketers, because it’s a no-hassle way to create content, and promote.

Test responses to various forms of content.

4. Love Your Archives: All Content Is Inventory

Blogging has a major challenge: that wonderful content you created last week and last month, not to mention last year, hides away in your archives. With luck, it will attract Web searchers. However, algorithm changes can affect your search results, so that a flood of visits slows to a trickle.

Your blog’s content is an asset: it’s all inventory. Commit to making the most of it. You can repurpose content in various ways – present it in other formats: in a newsletter, for example, or by snipping it up for social media posts.

5. Think Like a Magazine Publisher: Create an Editorial Calendar, Get Advertisers

Your blog is a publication, just like a magazine. Take a leaf (pun intended) from magazine publishers, and think of ways you can enhance your content.

A monthly magazine has big cover-worthy articles, which sell the magazine. To emulate this, consider creating a big piece of content once a month, and pushing it as much as you can. You never know, it may go viral.

A magazine also has various sections. You can do this on your blog too. Create an editorial calendar, then add your monthly content ideas to it.

You might blog responses to customer questions once a month, create a tutorial on using one of your products once a month – choose the “standard” content you’ll create once a month and add it to your calendar.

Magazines have advertisers which support the publication. Once you’re blogging with an editorial calendar, you can pitch sponsored content to advertisers.

Try some of these tricks. You’ll soon be creating more blog content, and enjoying blogging.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Sunday Blog Planning: A Week of Content

Posts Calendar
WordPress Editorial Calendar

A business blog is a wonderful marketing tool, but when you’ve got a blog, you need content; on-going content.

Here’s a tip: PLAN your content. No matter whether you have an in-house blogger, or whether you hire a blogger, you need a plan to create your content. Without a plan, you won’t achieve your business’ goals via your blog.

Sunday Blog Planning — plan your content

I like to spend Sunday planning for the week ahead, and that means planning content, both for my own, and for others’ blogs.

Here’s an outline of my process, it may be useful to you.

1. Review the goals for the blog;

2. Check the blog’s traffic. What were the site’s visitors looking for?

3. Make a list of keywords, combining #1 and #2;

4. Brainstorm, using a mind map and Soovie;

5. Develop blog post titles;

6. Enter the titles into an editorial calendar. (I use WordPress Editorial Calendar on all my WordPress blogs.)

Depending on how much time I have, I might outline several blog posts.

Remembering your primary goals for your blog is key. In Web Content Mania: Track Your Content and Make It Work for You I said:

In a nutshell: these days, you can’t rely on Google to send you “traffic” because you have content. You need content, yes, but for your customers and business goals, NOT for the search engines. So, create goals before you create content, and then track your content, both so that you know what you have, and so that you can make it work for you.

Never forget your goals while blogging: it’s all too easy to do.

If you have a WordPress blog, and aren’t using WordPress Editorial Calendar, you’ll find this video helpful in planning your blog’s content…