Ideation is the core of creating content that drives traffic online. A terrible concept, under-researched idea, or simply a storyline with no substance isn’t going to get the job done.
People want to be shown, not told, and they want to feel a connection to content.
None of that happens via weakly researched content. Deep, meaningful content comes from lots of research, ideation, and is chosen from among a list of unused half-ideas to be polished into something amazing.
1) Mind Maps
There are lots of different ways to create mind maps out there.
2) Collaboration (one-on-one)
Collaboration and group brainstorming are different due to the number of participants. Collaboration is a one-on-one exercise, and thus the chemistry between those working in such a setting must be on point, or the exercise could end ugly.
3) Group Brainstorming
There are lots of ways to brainstorm in groups. At CopyPress we utilize a method for pre-brianstorm mapping where we write ideas on a huge white board in our office. From here we work as a team to explore each idea, and come up with new ideas to pool into our editorial calendar. We have found Group Brainstorming to be most effective when it is structured.
4) Checking out the competition
Your competitors have often paved the road for you. Take the work they have done and run with it.
5) Checking out other verticals
Get out of your niche, and look to other verticals to get some fresh perspective.
I like to use http://subreddits.org/ to get this accomplished.
7) Poll your audience
You can use services like SurveyMonkey.com to poll your email list, or a pop-up to collect feedback. Sometimes we think we know what our readers want, but we can really be off.
8) Set a Goal then X2
Tell yourself to find 10 ideas, then make it 20. This trick will push you beyond your normal boundaries and open up creativity out of desperation.
9) Create Insane Ideas
Like a smurf riding on a unicorn eating a pizza.
Motiongraphics are a media mash-up between infographics and video, and lots of people are finding cool ways to mashup content. This doesn’t need to be expensive or extremely technical, and at the end of the day we are just coming up with ideas, so who knows where this will lead.
11) The Stepladder Technique
In this strategy everyone learns about the problem before brainstorming. The session begins as a collaboration and adds one member at a time to change the dynamic.
12) Google Plus
For Example: Beef Up Your Brainstorming Meetings For Better Ideas
Raubi largely utilized an email thread to create this post. She asked our staff how they brainstorm, and got some great insight.
The Charette Procedure is group brainstorming tool where a large group breaks into smaller portions and then everyone pulls back into one large group to see what the individual pieces have come up with.
This is a visual guide to figuring out the who, what, when, where, how and why of something. It’s extremely useful in product based brainstorming.
18) Read this post.
19) Physical Activity: Running , Walking, Jumping Rope
I obviously am not the most active person in the world, but I do find clarity and creativity in hiking. Walking and running are a meditative practice as they often force you to clear your mind and examine your breathing.
20 ) Water: Bathing and Showering
This is one from Twitter. While it doesn’t work for me, it may for you.
21) Waiting till the last minute
Like number eight, the main idea is to shock your system into creativity. Many times when you use this strategy you don’t have other choices.
22) Add competition into play
Give a prize for the best idea during group brainstorming. Don’t be afraid to use people’s competitive streak to get the most out of their productivity, just be careful not to take this too far and shut down the flow of ideas.
23) Look at past client strategies
Jill Sampey brought this one up on Facebook, and it’s a great idea. I use past client work to trigger creativity within myself and the team all of the time.
24) Word Association
This works a lot like mind mapping, but can be a quick fix for a group session that isn’t getting traction. It’s fun and fast.
Alltop is a “digital magazine rack” that allows you to search groupings of RSS feeds easily. It is a great place to see a plethora of content quickly.
26) Google Trends
Search terms and find out what is hot and related.
I have found polling my Linkedin connections to be very effective, especially for topics more professional in nature.
A great place to ask questions and receive answers, no matter how ridiculous they are.
Fresh search based on social trends.
Forums were social media before the term social media. The best thing about them is that many have tons of aged content, and are super niche.
There’s lots of unique content that is easily searched and sorted via boards.