Last week we talked about how to find ideas. This week I’m moving on to how you keep them.
There are so many different ways to store and order ideas. I’m sure you’ve been using some since you were at school. One of my favourites is the mind-map: it’s very visual, you can relate themes to each other and fill the map with colour and little pictures for inspiration (even if you’re not even vaguely artistic and you’re the only person who can work out what your doodle is meant to be!). Just in case you’ve been on another planet for the past 30 years, here’s a somewhat basic one I made earlier:
Basically, you take your core idea (in this case “widgets”, “people” and so on) and break it down into smaller and smaller sub-ideas until you can go no further. Those are your blog subjects. One document acts as both brain-storm record and idea store. Neat.
Other people prefer lists, especially if they’re doing a series of blogs around one subject. Lists allow you to arrange your posts in a logical order, which can be useful. They’re less good for relating ideas to one another. You could, of course, start with your mind-map and create a list from it.
Others again prefer to put everything on a calendar. There’s nothing to stop you putting your listed or mind-mapped ideas onto a calendar, either. Calendars are great because they focus the mind wonderfully and show you for weeks in advance (if you’re really organised) what you’ll be writing about when, so you can get your research organised. You can get special Content Marketing Calendars, with spaces for all the people who are going to do this, that and t’other, or you can use Outlook, or your phone diary, or any other system that suits you. If you’re the person doing everything there’s no point getting anything too fancy, because you won’t use most of it.
The one thing you should avoid at all costs is the commonest storage method of all: a loose sheet of paper that gets lost in the guddle of your office. It’s frustrating, because you can never find it when you need it, and it gets scruffy and illegible, which is uninspiring. If you only have a hand-written version, at least pin it up somewhere obvious!
P.S. If you’d like help brainstorming ideas, or you need someone else to write them for you, just click here. And if you’d like to share your own excellent idea-storage method, comment below ↓ Thanks!