Capturing Your Content Ideas

I recently had the pleasure of working with Marketing Copilot on a guest post about choosing a website hosting plan. It all started with an off-the-cuff comment in an email that could’ve gone nowhere. Instead we made a post out of it.

Here’s an excerpt from the post:

Think back to when you moved away from home, heading out on your own for the first time. Chances are you didn’t go straight to owning your own house with sprawling acreage.

Like most of us, you probably rented. Maybe it was a studio; maybe it was a room in an apartment you shared with others; maybe you lucked out and got a spacious one bedroom unit to yourself.

In any case, it was what you needed at the time. It put a roof over your head. It got you out on your own and gave you some independence.

And over time, as you situation changed — job, pay, location, family — you moved somewhere better.

The same goes for website hosting.

If your business is just starting out, and you don’t have a lot of traffic hitting your website, you won’t need the same level of hosting as a tech startup that’s building a complex web application.

But as your website traffic increases, or as the sophistication of your website increases, you’ll need more resources and reliability.

And here’s the comment:

There’s an old metaphor that I use when teaching people about hosting – i.e. shared is an apartment, managed is a condo, VPS is a townhouse, dedicated is a detached home – but I’ve never bothered to write it up. I probably should.

(Sidenote: Yes, it’s a simile and not a metaphor, I know!)

It could’ve gone nowhere.

If I wasn’t in the mode of capturing ideas for new content, it would’ve probably ended here, in an obscure email chain buried somewhere in Outlook.

Instead, I asked a question:

Would you have any interest in me writing a guest post for the Marketing Copilot blog about that?

And that got us one step further.

But it wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t capturing ideas.

Content ideas can be found all over the place.

Try these prompts:

  • What questions do people keep asking you?
  • What are you particularly opinionated about?
  • What topics do you discuss with friends or colleagues?
  • What tricks or methods help you with everyday problems?
  • What stories do you enjoy telling?
  • What strikes you as a funny, interesting, or insightful observation?

These are just a handful to get you thinking about ideas. More resources:

And there are many, many more results out there. (Just Google it.)

Capture your content ideas as they appear.

I capture my ideas in a Todoist project, so I can quickly get to them from the Chrome extension or from the mobile app.

I know other people who swear by Trello, Asana, Google Keep, Evernote, OneNote, or Wunderlist.

And then there are folks who email themselves. Or jot a note down in a journal. Or stick a post-it to their monitor.

It doesn’t matter what you use. Just stick with it and capture your ideas.

I’m not alone in this.

The gist? Record your ideas!

Once you’re in the habit of capturing ideas and you’ve got a bunch to pull from, you can set time aside to work on them. (And that’s the hard part: actually creating something.)

You have a bunch of content ideas. Now what?

Check out these two talks I gave at WordCamp Hamilton and WordCamp Toronto:

They explore similar concepts of walking through the content creation process.

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