- Keep a notepad handy. You could find yourself in the strangest of places when a great idea pops into your head, make sure you can scribble it down quickly.
- Social media sites are a hive of activity when it comes to ideas. Sign up to Digg or StumbleUpon and glean new ideas from them.
- To turn a good idea into a good product which makes you good money you need a team of trusted professionals, a bulletproof strategy, lots of energy and a generous dose of luck.
- It’s good to share. Bounce your ideas off your colleagues or friends and watch them develop and grow.
Wordtracker has been busy cooking up a new Web Content Recipe book for our readers to glean ideas for content for their website. The second in our series is an article about where ideas come from and how to act on them. This is an extract from Wordtracker's "Web Content Recipe Book"
Being an ‘ideas person’ is apparently quite a good thing, but I’m not too sure. Ideas on their own are pretty worthless if you don’t turn them into something palpable which works for you and your business. What’s the point in having ideas listed in a notebook and gathering dust?
As a journalist, I’ve always been told that coming up with ideas is one of the most important skills to have in the profession. There’s no disputing the fact that ideas are at the core of good news writing and storytelling, but most people find the process of brainstorming for ideas a real problem.
We have all been there - scribbling ideas down only to scrub them out, procrastinating by making coffee or tidying our desk, pulling our hair out, and growing impatient with our inability to engage with our brains. At night, just before you fall asleep it pops into your head - the idea you have been waiting all day for.
After doing a little research I’ve found many people form their ideas as they fall asleep. This isn’t just coincidence - the brain relaxes and gets ready for the subconscious to take over, and you become more open and more likely to get a resolution to your problem. Wouldn’t it be great if our bosses would let us go home for a cat nap every time they wanted us to come up with some wonderful new idea or vision? We have to ask, where do people get their ideas?
One way to carry out your research is to use the Wordtracker's keyword research tool. If you already have the bones of an idea but want to flesh it out, why not use the Wordtracker tools. Enter the seed words which you feel summarize your idea, and the results will show you what people have been searching for. This is a perfect way of honing the idea down from the general to the specific. As well as looking for related ideas you can find out if there is a market for your product – it's instant market research.
Look around you. We are living in an age where the sharing of information has never been so endemic in our daily lives. We have 24-hour news channels, Blackberries to receive Google Alerts and emails on: and we have bloggers and citizen journalists feeding social media sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Facebook with stories, videos and podcasts. This is the biggest information boom in living memory as millions of ideas and theories are zipping across the net hourly, changing momentum and direction with every breaking story. This is where ideas are born and grow with incredible ease and speed.
You can pick up ideas from fellow bloggers, or scout the internet’s social media sites (as I have already mentioned). I like to sign up for Google Alerts because they are concise, clear, and consistent. I also visit my favorite sites and sign up to their monthly or weekly newsletters to keep myself informed. For me, ideas come fairly naturally. When I talk to people or gossip with friends, ideas make their way to the forefront of my mind, usually in the form of a question - why doesn’t that work better? Why don’t people know about this? I wonder if…
The biggest difference is this - I go out and answer those questions, and provide solutions, whereas ‘ideas people’ don’t always become wonderfully successful entrepreneurs. You have to put the thoughts into action. It’s that old saying, ‘You can talk the talk but do you walk the walk?’
When an idea pops into your head you should always write it down. This is the dangerous part. For some people (and I include myself), once they have written the idea down, the brain seems to discard it as if it thinks the job has been done. You must be aware that the idea has to be acted upon. It can’t be left to lie dormant in a notebook or diary because you will lose it, or someone else will come up with something similar and use it to great success.
Sometimes you will set the wheels in motion and make your idea stand up, but it might not always fulfill its desired result. To turn a good idea into a good product which makes you good money needs a team of trusted professionals, a bulletproof strategy, lots of energy and a generous dose of luck.
It’s also important not to ignore those very small ideas. They may be fleeting, but you should respect them for their potential. You could have a series of little ideas which, with some thought and logical progression, could make one very good idea.
Set aside time to think. For me it’s when I’m in the bath. There are nights when I truly think I could right the wrongs of the world in the bath tub and my mind races through all the things I could and should be doing with my time. I know others who go for a run and think things through or jot down ideas on their daily commute. Relax - let your mind wander and your brain do the work and stop trying so hard. You can’t push this.
Getting frustrated about something can be the premise of a good idea. Have you been the customer of a service which has left you underwhelmed or disappointed? How could it have been improved? Are you the person to deliver a better service? Can your business help solve the problem, using your expertise and skills? Look and listen to the services that surround your marketplace and spot the holes in their provision, customer service, range etc, and see if you can fill them.
Going to conferences and networking sessions can be good for generating ideas. Talking to people in your area can be beneficial in terms of identifying new directions to push your business ideas in.
When you think you have a grain of a good idea, a concept or a vision, take it to your peers. Discussing your ideas is the best way to develop them. Talk to your colleagues and other like-minded people who will help generate practical steps on how to turn a concept into reality.
Seymour Schulich, a Canadian self-made billionaire whose career has spanned the financial markets and the mining and oil industries, said in an interview with MIT Enterprise that his business partners played a crucial role in his ideas process.
He said: “The thing about partners is that you can get these wonderful ideas at 4 o’clock in the morning and then you come in the office and say, “I have this wonderful idea.” And your partner will say, “It’s a wonderful idea but you haven’t thought of these three things.” Then you say, “Oh, gee, I haven’t thought of those three things.” That’s a great role that partners often play.”
It’s wise to listen and not be despondent if your partners and peers say it’s a bad idea. If you can’t sell the idea to them, there must be something wrong with it.
Click on the links below for more Web Content Recipes:
Carving Up Mark Nunney - How to get lots of content from one interview
Inspirational Quotes - How to use quotes to the greatest effect
Observation - Tips on how to observe and how to use what you've seen.
How to Write a Book Review - Ideas on how to approach your review
About Rachelle Money
Rachelle is a contributor to The Web Content Recipe book
Nowadays, Rachelle is Communications Manager at Scottish Renewables.
She graduated from the Scottish School of Journalism in 2005 where she was awarded an internship with two national publications - The Sunday Herald newspaper and The Big Issue magazine.