More Brain, Less Storm: The Power Of The Creative Process

July 21, 2021

What we’re here to talk about today is how you can generate unlimited content ideas. Oftentimes, people may feel like they don’t have enough ideas to keep ongoing. There are so many different social platforms we go through to populate, and so many different types of content we need to create for our audience. There are blogs, emails and social content, and they need to be created on a regular basis.  

Today, we will talk about a system so you can come up with ideas whenever you need ideas.

A consistent production relies on a consistent process (4:01) 

A journalist goes through the following six questions in order to deliver a great story that their audience will enjoy:  

Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How 

For marketers to create a great story, however, there are two key questions that they need to ask and answer:

How and What

See a simple example of How and What (8:00) 

Using the example, “What are we going to have for dinner?”, plot How and What on a 3 X 3 grid.

  1. How are you going to obtain the food? (on the x-axis)

Possible answers: We can cook, go out, or eat what we have

  1. What type of food are you going to get? (on the y-axis) 

Possible answers: Italian, Mexican or Mediterranean

You will find a cross point that you will want to move forward with: “Let’s go out and eat Italian.” 

Content Ideas = (What) Focus + (How) Format (11:17)

  1. Focus on What you say
  2. Format is How you say it

Using the grid system, you can get dozens of ideas! We will go over 10 focuses and 10 formats to generate 100 ideas.

People often start with thinking of what to format first because that’s the visual aspect. However, you will get more success by starting with what focus. 

There are 10 focuses (13:30)

  1. People  – Ask yourself how you can tell their story. Talk to the people involved and tell their stories. Examples include a designer, engineer or a manager of the product.
  2. Basics  – Help to provide basic information and introduce key themes and introductory content. You can define key terms or give an overview.
  3. Details  – You can assume a higher level of information than basic information and provide detailed, in-depth insight about a single topic. This is evergreen content (relevant for a long time).
  4. History  – You can share the history of the industry or product, or provide background on a topic. This can be on trends, evolution, growth, or origin of an industry or product.
  5. Process – This can be how-to content that gives step-by-step information about a product. How-to content has been trending lately. Ask yourself: Is there something we can teach our audience to do?
  6. Curation – This is focused on gathering different things. An example could be 10 books every social media marketer should read. This curates resources and links for the audience. It’s pretty quick and cheap to assemble.
  7. Data  – There are always numbers involved in a story. People like data points. Data points give more context to your story. Examples are a story, report, audit or survey.
  8. Product  – Many of what we have talked about so far are product-focused.  Examples are explaining new features, or “this is how to integrate this product into something else”. This is strictly about the product.
  9. Example – Ask yourself: Is there a smaller story I can tell that illustrates the big story? Examples include a case story or a success story.
  10. Opinion – This helps the audience make decisions. You are able to share your experience and perspective. Examples include a review, ranking, or another opinion

There are 10 formats (23:22)

We are already familiar with formats, so we will go through these quickly. These are things we use all the time and engage with daily. 

  1. Writing: Articles, blog posts, lists, captions
  2. Infographics: Helps to make complex data simple.
  3. Audio: Allows you to tap into non-content time; podcasts, environmental audio. audio interviews.
  4. Video: Allows you to transport your audience and keep them highly engaged through binge-able series.
  5. Live Video: Useful for events, on-scene, impromptu, great for more casual engagement.
  6. Image Gallery: A gallery of related imagery and an engaging roundup of visuals.
  7. Timeline: Show stories unfolding over time and can be visually engaging. 
  8. Quiz: Turn content into exchanges with a fun way to test knowledge. 
  9. Tool:  Can be helpful for the audience and can convert users to customers (calculator). 
  10. Maps: Put stories in a geographic context and is highly engaging. 

Productivity comes from having a system (31:43)

Every content idea requires a Focus and a Format 

DO THIS: Think about your own product or industry. Plot a 10 x 10 graph and come up with content ideas that fit the focus and format. Remember: The goal is not to make all 100 of these ideas, but to consider the options and choose the best.

The Power Of The Creative Process Speaker Melanie Deziel – Director of Content at foundationinc.co

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