Great marketing starts with great ideas – and ideas don’t come out of the blue. You have to plan for them by making time for the creative process.

You know that it takes a lot of material to support a successful long-cycle sales process.  You need a reason to keep in touch with people that includes useful, relevant, current information that doesn’t always sound like a sales pitch.  You need new blog article ideas, updates for social media, material for your newsletter, frequent and regular press releases, and so on.

A great photographer once told me that the best way to become a great photographer is to take tons of pictures, and then, throw most of them out.

This is also true of great aviation article ideas.

This takes two processes – a creative process and a critical process.

One thing we find when we start working with a new client is that they’re trying to “save time” by doing two things at once.  They have ideas and discard them in the same breath. Sometimes before they even finish the sentence!

Give your ideas for your aviation blog  by separating the creative process from the critical process.  Here’s what we do to come up with article ideas for a client (for the month or for the year!)

The Creative Process

  • Set aside some time for brainstorming, by yourself or with your team. (Be sure everyone can “unplug” and focus during that time.)
  • Get out of the office if you can.  Nobody has ever had a revolutionary idea while sitting in a cubicle. A coffee shop is fine if that works for you.
  • Collect everything you need -snacks, beverages, pens, sticky notes, a white board, fancy mind-mapping software if you like, whatever makes you feel comfortable and creative
  • Bring high-level reference material – (dates of shows, events, editorial calendars of magazines your audience reads, etc.)
  • Write down every idea that comes up – no matter how weird it sounds at first.
  • Generate MANY more ideas than you think you’ll use.  The objective is to have lots to choose from.
  • No criticism, no second-guessing, no eye-rolling or frowning is allowed.  (This is hard work – respect the effort it takes to come up with even the most groan-worthy ideas!)
  • Stop when you’re done and take a break!

Aviation Articles - Best of 2016The Critical Process

  • Set aside focused time, by yourself or with your team. (Again, be sure everyone can “unplug” and focus)
  • This is fine to do in the office.  Make sure you have good light and a red pen.
  • First eliminate duplicates. Take the best of two similar ideas, or merge several into one when appropriate.
  • Consider –
    • Is it relevant to your target audience? (Or can it be made relevant?)
    • Is it interesting?
    • Is it entertaining?
    • Is it helpful?
    • Is it relevant to your target objectives?
    • Do you have materials to support it?
    • Does it fit all of the media you use? (I.E. if the main idea involves a video, can you create a version of the same idea for your printed newsletter?)

Besides using separate creative/critical processes for our editorial calendar, we do the same thing for each article.

We write each article in one session, and then have someone else critique it. Not just for spelling ad grammar mistakes, but also for tone, grade level, appropriateness to the topic, structure, and flow.

It may take two or three more cycles through the creative/critical process, but when we’re done we have a marketing asset that can be used in many ways – blog, newsletter, social media, possibly information packages, courses, and so on.

We get the idea from the mythology of Madison Avenue (perpetuated by shows like Mad Men) that only very talented, highly trained people can be creative; but it’s been our experience that the difference between great marketing and mediocre marketing often comes from having very skilled people involved with the critical process.  It’s not about “lightening bolt” fantastic ideas.

A good idea, executed perfectly, will trump a fantastic idea executed poorly every time.

(Also – see our article “What Should I Write About – Ten Ways to Solve Writer’s Block” for more on the topic of coming up with great ideas.)d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)

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