It’s not easy being green. Errr, creative rather. Creativity is a hot topic and is of top concern for those whose jobs can be categorized under the term “a creative.”
In marketing, this term is often applied to the content creator.
The graphic designers, the videographers, the writers – the ones who spend more of their time thinking than doing, but all in the name of coming with an idea that actually counts.
Anyone who works as a creative in marketing knows that coming up with ANY idea, day after day, or week after week is challenging. Never mind having to come up with ideas that are actually good.
So how do you prime your brain for creativity and come up with ideas that are not just okay, but better than okay?
First, we’ll look at how creativity works, straight from the source: the brain.
Where does creativity come from?
Creativity comes from these three sections of the brain: the attentional control network, the imagination network and the attentional flexibility network.
- Attentional control network: This is the part of your brain that is super focused on the task at hand. We activate it when we need to concentrate on something difficult or immersive. This can be anything from listening to a podcast to reading a book.
- The Imagination Network: This part of your brain is used for remembering and daydreaming. It helps us construct mental images.
- The Attentional Flexibility Network: This is the part of the brain that switches the previous two parts of the brain. It also monitors what’s going on around us, as well as what’s happening inside our minds.
So how do we get these three areas of our brains to light up like fireworks on the fourth of July? Experts say that these portions of your brain activate when you hit the coveted “flow state.” That’s easier said than done of course. Coming up with great ideas is more work than many people realize.
What is an idea? And how do you prime yourself to have good ones?
An idea is really just a combination of bits of information that already exist. And your ability to “come up with a good idea” is really just your ability to see the relationship between these elements.
After you gather the bit of information, you need to set aside time and a creative space to let the idea emerge. Spend some time thinking, maybe coming up with a handful of okay or bad ideas. Then sleep on it, or go for a walk and come back to it. This relaxation state is ideal for creating the relationships which make up a good idea.
How does this apply to creating amazing content?
So you want to take this concept and create really amazing content, right?
Start by collecting the subjects that make up the focus of your blog. These are the topics that matter to your target audience. Here at HiP for example, our blog covers areas like content marketing, content creation, email marketing, and lead generation.
I’ve done this on sticky notes, on a word processor, or in a notebook.
Then collect some bits of information that you can use to spice up the topic. I’ll often use psychological or literary terms. Then add words that are constraining. These will make up the angle of your piece. Words like learn, avoid, choosing, tips, that kind of stuff.
Then, add in the types of content your company is capable of creating.
Put all of these areas on sticky notes or scatter them across a sheet of paper. Then mix and match.
Not literally. But look at the words you’ve compiled and all the formats of content that you are capable of creating and see how they connect.
Write down some of the combinations. BAM. You have ideas.
But… Are they all good ones?
Repeat after me. Never assume that an idea is good, just because you have it.
You must go through your ideas and separate the good from the bad.
Sometimes, because you are the one that created the ideas, it’s hard to differentiate. That’s why you have peers. Ask someone who knows, maybe a coworker or fellow writer if they would read your article or if they think the idea you’ve come up with is good. That’s the true test. You don’t want to spend all this time creating a video on a topic, only to finish it and have it make no impact on your audience.
Coming up with creative ideas isn’t as easy as taking the first idea that pops into your mind. But the time you spent coming up with ideas that count will show. It will come out in the quality of your content and its ability to accomplish your marketing goals.
How do you create new ideas? Do you use the method above? Let us know in the comments section.