To produce good content, you must first produce good content ideas. Recently, my team found a geeky approach that gives us a ton of content ideas in record time.
Not only is it effective, it’s a lot of fun, and a great way to encourage collaboration and team work.
In the short video below I explain the basic setup. You can read about the details of the process beneath it.
That’s our process in a nutshell. I’ll take you through the details here.
Brainstorm Content Ideas Collaboratively
Coming up with content ideas is difficult.
Even for seasoned creatives.
I know because I spent a few years working as a creative at an advertising agency.
The process we often used might be familiar to many of you—it involved a ceiling and hours of staring, hoping for inspiration to hit.
This is the opposite approach.
This brainstorm technique is fast-paced with strict timings.
It’s collaborative and ideas come in huge volumes.
Good ones. Excellent ones. And many many bad ones.
What You Need
Google docs. A timer. And Google Hangout or Skype if you’re working remote.
Rules of the Game
Every idea is okay. Build upon each others’ ideas. The more ideas the better. Never say “no,” only “yes, and…”
Our editor takes the role of the facilitator. He does the introduction and sets the pace with a timer in hand.
He guides contributors that can come from anywhere in the organization. We invite sales, developers, designers, and content creators.
The more divergent the people, the richer the pool of results.
Because we are a distributed team, we usually meet on Google Hangout.
It’s a fun environment that stimulates the creative vibe.
The Idea Game
The facilitator begins with an intro. He explains the topic of the day and the rules of the game. He uses a timer to time-box short brainstorm bursts.
Everyone goes to a shared Google document without logging in. This is key.
Being anonymous helps you not get judged or judge yourself.
It’s a safe way for introverts to share their ideas.
The timer starts.
Everyone starts typing their ideas. You can see everyone else typing live in the same document. This feels like magic.
The facilitator keeps an eye on the timer and stops the team after five minutes.
Don’t stop there. It’s time to up the ante. The facilitator pushes the contributors to new levels by challenging them with catalysts.
For example, randomness: The contributors get a random word. They’re invited to make connections between the topic and a random word. This leads to many unexpected results.
- What if we had all the unlimited budget?
- What’s the worst possible way to go about this?
Each time we do another five minute brainstorm.
After 20 minutes we wrap up by going through all the content ideas in bursts.
At this point we have hundreds of content ideas. Many are awful but usually there are a few gems in there.
Choose the Valuable Content Ideas
The contributors can stop now.
It’s up to the facilitator to pick the best ideas and to put them in an overview that’s easy to review.
In our team we let all the brainstorm participants vote on the ideas afterwards.
This helps for buy-in. After all, the team members are the people that will oftentimes create the content. Including them in the decision making does wonders for their motivation.
That’s our simple nerdy approach to coming up with many content ideas.
Give it a try.
Carve out 30 minutes and get hundreds of content ideas in return.