Most creators don't need more ideas
What they need is to extract more from the ideas they already have
I spent 10+ years as a wannabe creator. Starting & abandoning creative projects like they were going out of fashion. For every new project, I would sit down and 'brainstorm' a list of content ideas.
1 idea = 1 content
Two things happen when you 'do content' this way. You run out of content pretty quickly AND you start to feel like a content creation machine (and not in a good YOU'RE A MACHINE way)
Everything changed when I started to separate ideas from content
Now when I have an idea it goes in my idea bank. At that point, I don't think about it as content. I don't need to think about what kind of content it will be, I don't need to think about hooks or headlines or how to get attention on my idea. I don't need to judge it as content.
It's just an idea.
And without any pre-conceived judgement that we usually bring to content ideas, I can put it through a process I call Explore & Extract.
And so instead of just having one content idea. One idea can turn into countless pieces of content in several different mediums.
When you elevate ideas like this, content becomes a natural outcome of the process. You'll need fewer ideas but end up with more content than you can possibly use.
And I work on this idea extraction method in two specific:
Since coming back from my sabbatical I've had a deep craving to go deep on one or two ideas each week to really explore & extract as much as I can from them. This is in contrast to what I've done in the past where I have worked on lots of different ideas each week.
Neither of these are right or wrong. It’s just that different seasons have different energy & actions.
So this season I'm focusing on one idea in my newsletter (what you're reading right now) and then extracting all the Snackable content I need for social media platforms from this one idea. Here's how that works in practice...
Each week I start my content planning session by choosing one idea to write about in my newsletter. I go to my Spark Notebook where all my ideas live in different stages & choose one that is in what I call the 'Surge' stage.
It's been an idea that has sparked and I've explored it enough to get the idea charged up and now it's ready to surge out into the open.
I spend a little time each day writing & getting the newsletter ready. Because I am clear on the idea, now I can go into the mechanics of content. I think about how I want to present it, hooks, headlines, format, and structure.
And once it's published I spend some time breaking it up and extracting content from it that I can use in my social media channels each week. Here's where most creators get tripped up. They think I'll extract a few tweets & be done. But if you want to turn this into a real system - the key is to be specific about how much and what type of content you need.
For instance, my content plan is quite simple at the moment.
Each day I schedule one short-form tweet & one long-form tweet (long form could be a long-form tweet, thread or short video). So in my extraction process, I'm looking for 6x short-form tweets & 2 long-form ideas (which I'll use in multiple ways).
The amount of content you need to extract depends on what your content plan looks like - work your way backwards to figure out how much content you'll need to extract to fill your calendar each week.
By being SUPER specific about the content you need to extract you create a self-perpetuating content system that feels calm & cohesive. The more you work the system and combine it with any new ideas you are testing you will literally build a content bank that never runs out.
And instead of opening up to a blank content calendar each week, you'll literally just be able to pull ideas from your content bank and fill up your schedule. Easy.