The one thing that comes up over and over again when I do trainings is “how do I find ideas for blog posts week after week?” (or whatever period there is between outpourings). It’s been a problem, in different guises, for marketing folks since marketing first began.
And not just marketing, either – Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell both wrote about creative thinking and producing fresh ideas (though, obviously, not for blogs). The process has become neither easier nor harder since their day: it still takes practice and application.
The terror of the blank page
To quote Keith Reinhard, Chairman of DDB Worldwide, “The blank page or screen that awaits a transforming idea today is just as intimidating as ever. Maybe more so, because our advanced environments demand even better ideas and more of them.”
I have on my bookshelf a small paperback with a mere 48 rather thick pages and quite large print – in other words, it’s not a heavy tome that takes weeks of study to absorb it. Actually, that’s not entirely true: it doesn’t take long to read it, but getting the most out of it does take time and effort.
It was written by a man who made his living in advertising in America in the 1930s and ‘40s “by producing what were alleged to be ideas” (his words, not mine), and for whom the struggle to find ideas was of daily relevance.
A Technique for Producing Ideas
The man was James Webb Young and the book’s called “A Technique for Producing Ideas”. It’s never been out of print since it first came out in the 1940s and you can now get it as a free pdf download from any number of sites – the first one I found was www.tds.tu.ac.th/jars/download/jars/v10-1/13%20Bookreview_archan.pdf, but just Google the book with pdf at the end of your search term and you’ll find plenty of other sources.
Better still, buy a hard copy, which won’t set you back more than about a fiver – and would be £5 very well spent.
I highly recommend it, not just for finding ideas for blog content but for any other problem solving you may need to do – next time you want to build a bridge, say, or achieve world peace, or find a way to get your 14-year-old to keep his/her room tidy.
The creative process
To quote Keith Reinhard again (from the introduction to the book), it is “the most concise and illuminating description of the creative process I had ever read. … Young offers both guidance and the assurance that coming up with an idea is a process, not an accident.” As with every other aspect of business, life’s much simpler if you have systems to follow and don’t have to redesign the wheel every time you do something.
I urge you to get hold of a copy, read it and re-read it, think about it, and use its principles whenever you need a bit of fresh thinking in any area of life. It’s small enough to keep in your pocket or handbag and read while you’re waiting for a friend to join you for coffee. But its premise is potentially life-changing.
And it will make finding ideas for blog posts sooo much easier.
I hope you get as much from it as I have down the years. Do let me know!
P.S. This is positively the last call for the new writing group – there’s space for one more person if you want to get in on the ground floor and help create the perfect course. Get in touch today if you want in.