The initial hurdle when it comes to the majority of content marketing campaigns is ideas; ideas for new blog content, ideas for new social media strategies, ideas for advertising, and ideas for online PR and earned media. Thinking of something that will help you stand out from the crowd can be tricky.
A great way to come up with a range of new and creative ideas is to brainstorm with a team of people. The problem with brainstorming though, is that it doesn’t always go to plan. Some people join in, others stay as quiet as possible, and often it results in a couple of people bickering over who had a good idea first.
When you think of brainstorming you tend to think of a group of people sat in a room writing ideas on a whiteboard as and when they think of them. Although this can work for some teams and often result in fantastic ideas, some people find it easier to use visual tools and write their ideas down when they think of them, rather than being put on the spot.
Here are some great brainstorming and collaboration tools that to help you generate some unique ideas and release your creative flow:
Stormboard is a free, online whiteboard that provides you with a range of different coloured sticky notes, allowing you to collaborate with other people in an easy and efficient manner.
This tool comes with a range of different templates, depending on what it is you’re brainstorming, how many steps you need as part of your brainstorming process, and what your end goal is. Stormboard allows you to post text, pictures, videos, and documents, and also gives users the ability to draw sketches.
The users initials can be shown on each sticky note to show who had which idea, or it can be left completely anonymous. Once enough ideas have been added to the Stormboard, users can vote on which ideas they think are the best, to ensure a group decision is made.
Sometimes it can feel like you have hit a brick wall when you’re trying to come up with new ideas for content related to a particular subject or industry. That’s where the Portent Idea Generator comes in.
Head over to the website, enter your subject or topic, then press the arrow button. The Idea Generator will give you a suggestion of a blog post title based around your topic, and if you don’t like it you just have to press the refresh button next to the subject box to get a new one.
It’s likely to come back with quite a few random suggestions, but it can really help to get those creative juices flowing and get your mind in gear when you need to have a brainstorm and come up with ideas quickly.
When it comes to mind mapping, MindMesiter is a favourite with many people. It has a simple and easy to use interface, and as with Stormboard allows for real-time team collaboration online.
There are four different pricing tiers available, and the more you pay, the more features you will get. The basic plan, which is free, lets you create up to three mind maps that can be shared, collaborated on, and imported.
All the mind maps can be designed and customised as you see fit, and different topics can be colour-coded to make them stand out. All maps can be embedded onto a website or blog, even if they are fully interactive, and they can also be turned into a presentation for the rest of your team.
This tool is perfect for mapping out ideas, timelines, project details, and more. Mindomo creates colourful visual mind maps that allow users to map out every key element and step needed for a project.
Mindomo includes a range of templates and smart guides, but as with MindMeister only allows users to create three maps with the basic account – after that it goes up to $36 for 6 months.
There are a range of layouts to choose from, including mind maps, org charts, and idea trees. This tool is available on desktop and can also be downloaded on any iOS and Android device.
When it comes to visual social media tools, Pinterest is one of the best. It prides itself on helping users to create different topic boards by collecting ideas, links to articles, and of course, pictures.
People use Pinterest for all sorts of things, including interior design ideas, fashion and style, photography, and recipes. Although the majority of people use Pinterest’s public boards so that they can share their visuals with others, Pinterest also allows users to create secret boards.
Secret boards are perfect for brainstorming, as they provide a space for you to collect ideas and articles around a particular topic. The boards can be shared with others in the “who can pin” box, and a subject can really come to life when different people start pinning down their ideas.
Are there any brainstorming tools you frequently use and would add to this list?