I spent the morning coming up with ideas for content marketing white papers for my students. No matter what you are doing, coming up with a solid idea is half the battle of getting it done. So what are the characteristics of a great idea?
Relevance – Unless you are keeping your own personal journal, you are always writing for an audience. And as Dale Carnegie told us
“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: ‘Wouldn’t you like to have that?’ Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
A few things can help here:
- A look at your analytics to see what your audience has liked in the past
- A consideration of the news value of the topic you are considering (see this past post for more on news values)
- A thoughtful audience persona (see this past post for more on personas)
Feasibility – A great work is, first and foremost, a completed one. Your idea is only valuable if you have the insight, talent and time to bring it to life. If you struggle with coding, a nifty app is a great idea. If running your business takes all of your time, it will be hard for you to keep a blog up consistently. Yes, you can and should learn new things, but unless you have the time and resources to do that before your deliverable is needed, you may need to be more realistic.
Once you have the great idea, your job is much easier – now you just have to do it!