Book Review: A Technique for Producing Ideas by James W. Young

The perks of graduating as an English major is that, unlike many of my engineering friends, I actually want to keep the books I bought for my classes. One of those books is A Technique for Producing Ideas by James W. Young. It’s smaller than most PDFs, totaling to about 28 pages.

While it felt silly at the time to spend money on it, I found the information it contained to be quite useful. It’s aimed primarily at those in advertising, but since I’m not the greatest generator of creative ideas, I thought it could help me a bit. Here are the steps it provides for trying to come up with brilliant ideas, whether they’re needed for a new campaign or your next novel:

  1. Gather Information: Learn as much as you can about the topic you’re working on, be it your target audience or the concept that’s intrigued you. Learn everything you can—from the menial to the exciting. Don’t forget to keep track of your information! The author suggests writing down each fact on a 3×5″ index card.

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Tips for Deeper Audience Analysis: Persona and Scenario

A few days ago we talked about doing an audience analysis and why you should know who’s reading your blog. And hopefully you read up on who your followers are and what they’re interested in. If you feel like all you’ve collected is a jumble of information though, here’s something that may help you narrow your focus.

From the data you’ve collected, create a persona and a scenario for your blog. A persona means a fictional person you’ve created to represent the average reader of your blog. A scenario is just a situation where your reader would go to your blog to fulfill a need.

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Tips for Good Content: Audience Analysis

Creating content is hard. Creating good content is tricky. How do you continually spit out information that your audience wants to hear and that will reach through the noise? I don’t know about you, but I tend to run out of ideas fairly quickly sometimes.

Whenever I feel devoid of content though, I always try to think, “What would my reader want to read about?” However, you have to know your readers in order to answer this question, which is why you should conduct an audience analysis.

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Blogging: It’s Not About You

It’s not about you.

How many times do we need to hear this before we internalize it? We live in a society of bloated personalities, where every social media post screams “Look what I do! This is important!” But is it really? When you post, tweet, blog, are you creating content for yourself? Or is it for your reader?

It’s so easy to create a blog, to design it, to add a few well-written pages. But why do we blog? How many people are actually reading? How many really care?

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