I don’t mean the B.S. you’re probably thinking of. But it’s kind of the same thing. I’ll come back to that.
I mean: What’s your Brain Storm number? As in…
How many things do you brainstorm when you’re creating?
If you’re thinking up new blog post ideas, how many topics do you write out? And then for each of those topics, how many possible blog post titles do you write?
For a lot of people, it’s just one. And I’ve done this, too- here’s what it’s like:
- “Ooh! I came up with a blog post idea.”
- Then they write it.
- “Ooh! This would be a good title for it.”
- Then they hit publish.
Maybe readers see that and share it based on the title. Maybe readers get your point. Maybe they’re excited… or maybe they don’t share it and they don’t get it and they aren’t excited. Maybe it helps you get more business… maybe it doesn’t.
This is a pretty random, unfocused approach.
It’s easier, sure, but it’s not the more profitable way to go.
A Better Way To Create Content
What if you did it this way:
- Brainstorm 10 blog post ideas
- Choose the best one
- Write it
- Brainstorm 10 possible blog post title ideas for it
- Choose your favorite.
More steps? Yes. But much bigger results, guaranteed.
What happens that’s different is this:
- You have a better chance of coming up with an idea that’s 10x more awesome.
- You don’t lose objectivity and get attached to one idea that might not be so good.
- You give yourself some perspective.
So, this blog of mine has a bunch of posts in DRAFT status that only have a title. And that title is just the one sentence idea for the post.
I will never write all of them, because they aren’t all worthy of my time. And not all your content ideas are worth your time either.
How do I do #2 and #5 above… how do I choose which of my ideas to write?
The Scientific Way To Choose What To Write
First, I write down all the topic ideas. Then I put three columns next to it, which I’m going to rate from 1-5:
- My Interest: How into this topic am I personally?
- Biz Dev: Can I see how the readers of this post are more likely to hire me?
- Buzzy: How much is this title like things that get shared a lot? How buzzfeedy is it? How much emotion and curiosity does it arouse?
Then I multiply those numbers together to get a score.
Then you look at your scores and write the ones with the highest scores.
You may never write them all, because you keep adding to your list with new ideas, and rating them, and re-sorting by score, and some of them will stay too low to ever write.
You can improve their scores if you want:
- If there are any where your interest is high but the other two scores aren’t, see if you can reformulate the idea to make it more relevant to your business and if you can rewrite the title to make it more emotional and mysterious.
- If your interest is low but the other two columns are more promising, how can you make it more interesting for yourself? What would make you want to write it? Just asking those questions may give you your answer.
Now I can’t let you go without telling you: brainstorming is hard.
I do some creative work where I have to come up with 30 things, and I often get stuck at 15 and 25 and want to go lay down and sleep or stare out the window.
You have to push through it. Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Switch tasks and come back. But you have to keep pushing. It’s a creative muscle you need to strengthen.