Monday, August 2, 2010

Stop Looking for New Ideas - Start Looking for YOUR Ideas

Stop Looking for New Ideas - Start Looking for YOUR Ideas

OK, I am not going to lie to you. The fact is, there really are no new ideas. Unless you’re performing cutting-edge scientific or medical research or are hot on the trail of the biography of the most up-to-the-minute celeb-to-be, there will be other people out there writing on your subject. And depending on the subject, there may be a LOT of people out there writing in your area of interest.

LISTEN UP: Do NOT panic. I am in no way saying you shouldn’t write on the topics that interest you. You should write about them – all of them – and here’s why.

You were blessed with a brilliant brain. You’ve got insights and instincts and a perspective that are all your own. Your education, life experience, and professional expertise have given you a view and understanding that is different from everyone else’s – even others in your industry! Have you ever heard the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”? With your blog (as well as articles, white papers, and/or books and eBooks), you will become a teacher for someone. Admittedly, chances are pretty good that folks will already have heard at least some of your message elsewhere before, perhaps many times. Sometimes, though, it takes a special turn of phrase for the message to actually sink in. Timing also is critical. I may have heard the lesson a thousand times before, but this time, at THIS moment, I am ready to learn it, embrace it, embody it, and act on it. This time – because of your message.

Do not let the idea of competition stop you from writing. That is a lack mentality and comes from a perspective of limited belief. Whether you agree or not, we live in an abundant universe. There is more than enough for all of us. More than enough business, more than enough clients, more than enough money – and certainly more than enough people who want to hear your message.

There is, however, one caveat: As Seth Godin says in Purple Cow, you must be ready to be better than the rest. What does that mean?

Fortunately – or unfortunately – to be better than the rest is not really a matter of intelligence or profound ability. What it takes is effort. It takes an investment of knowledge, skill, professionalism, and time. Make sure your articles contain useful content. Find someone to interview and use a quotation from them. Do a little research and include source material from another expert. Make sure you have double-checked all your facts. Make sure you have spell-checked and that your grammar and usage are precise and correct. Make sure you’ve formatted it for easy reading. Make sure your tone is appropriate for your audience. Make sure you attach appropriate keywords to it so that people can find it.

These things may all seem obvious, but they’re not. When showing up on time for work and knowing where the file is when your boss asks for it are now considered exemplary employee behaviors (and they are!), getting all these little details correct will make you stand out from the crowd in a major way.

Places to Go for Ideas

  • I Thought EVERYONE Knew That! What are the things that, when you hear people ask you, you say to yourself, “Really? I thought everyone knew that.”
  • Your Passions Are a GREAT Idea Feeder. What do you love (to do)? What do you hate (to do)? What would you like to learn more about?
  • What Are You REALLY Good At? What do you do better than 90% of other people? At which part of your job/business/industry do you excel? What do other people tell you you are good at?
  • What Are You Reading? What books and magazines are you reading? What are you reading on the Web? What exciting new thing did you learn about in a publication that had nothing to do with your business?
  • What Happened to You Yesterday? Did you lock your keys in the trunk? Have a great (or terrible) customer service experience? Try a new restaurant? Have an interesting conversation with your kids? What lessons can you take from the day-to-day and apply to your business/industry?
Some industries are tailor-made for blogging all day, everyday. Coaches and therapists. Financial advisors. Indie bookshop owners. Others - like plumbers, chiropractors, or mortgage lenders - are more specialized and make take a bit more creativity. But the ideas are there - and as soon as you learn the secret of tapping them, they will gush at you in a torrent. Make sure you capture them by writing them in a notebook reserved for them, or on your digital recorder or phone.

Good topics get a lot of coverage. Don't shrink from adding your two cents. Take comfort - and confidence - in the knowledge that you have a new slant, perspective, set of life experiences to bring to the table. No one can write like you can - and somewhere out there is a person who's waiting to hear from you.

This is Day 13 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you tomorrow for the next post!

Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your questions about topics for content to Laura.

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