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Productivity

Twitter Ideas

The interwebs are greedy. The more great content you create, the more you’re expected to create.

But what happens when the well runs dry? What should you do when you’re parched for ideas?

How can you create awesome content, day after day?

Turn to Twitter, and you’ll find a well of inspiration that’s ever flowing.

Here are three simple techniques you can use.

1. The Andrew Chen Method

Entrepreneur and angel investor Andrew Chen uses a simple three-step formula to help him come up with things to write about.

  1. Tweet an insight, idea, or quote.
  2. See how many people retweet it.
  3. If it catches, then I write a blog post elaborating on the topic.

Sharing an idea in a tweet only takes him a minute or two. If the tweet gets ignored, he’s not lost much at all. But if it’s picked up and retweeted, he knows he’s got a great idea that he should expand upon.

2. Check You’re Writing in the Right Direction

Spirituality author and storyteller Donald Miller uses Twitter while he’s writing books. He shares ideas from the book to find out whether his readers will appreciate what he’s writing about.

Miller explains:

I recently used Twitter to find out what themes and ideas would stimulate thought. I would tweet an idea I was writing about, and if it got re-tweeted or stimulated conversation, I was more eager to use it in my book.

Here are Donald’s four steps for getting ideas on Twitter:

  1. Tweet a chapter idea and ask if anybody has given the idea any thought. If you hear crickets, skip that chapter.
  2. Got a powerful one-liner? Tweet it and see if it gets re-tweeted. You might turn that one-liner into a complete paragraph or more.
  3. Stuck on an idea? Tweet and ask anybody if they’ve read an interesting article about it. Twitter is a great resource tool.
  4. Use Twitter to summarize an idea. The great thing about 140 characters is it makes you condense your thinking, which is often the essence of good writing.

3. Split Test Headlines

Leo Widrich of Buffer App uses Twitter to split test headline ideas. Here’s the steps he follows:

1.) Find 2 headlines for an article that you think will perform well.
2.) Tweet both of these headlines at roughly the same time, at least 1 hour apart. Here I’ve found that doing the 2 Tweets both in the AM or both in the PM works best – 9am is much more similar to 10am, then say 12pm is to 1pm. So going with clear “morning” or “afternoon” times is crucial.
3.) Compare the data for which headline to settle on.

In one test Widrich conducted, one tweet got twice as many clicks as the other tweet, so he had a clear winner.

Over to You

Have you ever used Twitter to come up with ideas? What techniques do you use?

Marketing Mistakes

Marketing is part art, part science. There are few hard and fast rules.

That said, if you’re making any of the following blunders, your business is probably falling short of what it could be.

Are you messing up in any of these nine ways?

1. Seeing Competitors as Enemies

When you play a game of Monopoly, you don’t see the other players as your enemies. So why should business be any different?

Your competitors aren’t out to get you. They’re not trying to destroy you. They’re just playing the business game, in a similar space to you.

Having competitors is actually a good thing, for two big reasons:

  • Healthy competitors show there’s a strong market for your products or services.
  • You can learn from your competitors. Iron sharpens iron.

In fact, your competitors might even be willing to help you out. This is exactly what happened to entrepreneur Steve Cody. He explains:

When I launched Peppercomm, I knew my nascent firm wasn’t a threat to the giants in my industry, so I made a point to ask the big firms’ CEOs to join me for a drink. My goal was twofold: to let them know I’d started a business, and to ask them on bended knee to send any prospect my way that was either too small for them or that they perceived to be a conflict. Several large competitors did just that and ended up sending me hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business.

2. Not Knowing What You’re Selling

Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. You’ve told me you run your own business.

“That’s cool,” I say. “What does your business sell?”

How do you reply?

Can you explain your product in a couple of sentences? If you can’t do this in everyday language, then you need to get that fixed.

The power’s in keeping it simple.

Want another way of looking at this? Then answer the question:

How does your product or service improve the lives of your customers?

3. Buying Your Own Hype

Entrepreneurs have to be positive and forward-looking. It’s how we get investors and new customers on board.

Likewise, your marketing messages show the best of your products and services. You polish up for the cameras, and that’s okay. No one wants to air their dirty laundry.

The problem comes when you start to believe your own hype. It’s vital to have a realistic assessment of your business, and tackle problems as they arise.

4. Burying Your Contact Information

To sell to people, you’ve got to communicate with them. Hopefully, your website does a great job of this. But what if people want to know more?

Be easy to get in touch with. Don’t hide your contact details in an obscure section of your website. Make them easy to find, preferably on your homepage.

Worried that you’ll be inundated with queries from people who’ve already purchased? Remember that good customer service is a form of marketing. And if you’re genuinely scared about receiving a deluge of complaints, then your product or service needs work.

5. Failing to Measure ROI

We’re big on tracking your metrics here at Social Caffeine, and that’s not just because we’re math geeks. Fail to measure the results of your marketing, and you could be throwing away good money.

Yes, you’ve got to spend money to make money. But that’s not the whole story. Spending money doesn’t automagically make money. You’ve got to spend money wisely. And metrics give you that wisdom.

When you’ve found what works through the numbers, follow through on your discovery.

Freakonomics author Steve Levitt tells the story of how he once encouraged an international retailer to test the results of its newspaper ads. After testing, they found that the multi-million dollar ad campaigns made no difference. But they wouldn’t pull the ads, because that’s how they’d always done things.

You’re smarter than that, right?

6. Spamming Your Pitch

Business is all about knowing the right people. And we live in an age when it’s easier than ever to make connections with the right people.

That’s great, as long as you show respect for the people you’re making connections with. Treat people as people, not as a means to an end.

People can tell if you’re sending them a copy-paste email. You’re wasting your time and their time.

When you want to connect with someone, take time getting to know them. Cultivate the relationship. Then when you’re ready to work together, you’ll have a firm foundation in place.

7. Trying to Do it All

Yes, in an ideal world you’d have a limitless marketing budget. But you live in this world, the one you’re sitting in right now. And in this world, money, time and resources are tight.

Try to do everything, and you’ll spread what you’ve got too thin.

Instead, focus on what works. When it comes to your social media marketing, that can mean limiting yourself to one or two networks.

8. Failing to Follow Through

You’ve come up with a top dollar marketing strategy. You’ve started to implement, but it’s not delivering the results you hoped for.

Do you switch it up? If it’s a total failure, maybe. But it’s possible that it just needs time, and some careful tweaking.

Don’t change things around just for the sake of it. Do it for a reason.

This is especially true when you’ve got a winning formula. Remember when Gap changed their logo back in 2010? Okay, maybe you don’t. That’s because the new logo lasted all of two days.

When you’ve found what works, stick with it.

9. Telling Your Story

Okay, we admit, we’re joshing with you here. At least a little. Telling your brand’s story is a great idea.

That said, you should always focus on your customers when you tell your story. Tell your story to engage, not to stroke your ego.

Creative Fire

So you’re all burned out of ideas?

Keep pushing, and you’ll find you’ve got more inside you than you believed possible. As William James once said:

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.

How can you get fired up again? What can you do to find your second wind?

1. Make It Into a Game

So you need to create content on a particular topic, but you feel like everything’s been written before?

Then come at it from a new angle. *”But I don’t have an angle!”*

You don’t need to find the angle. Let someone (or something) else find it for you.

Head over to the random idea generator. It’ll give you a word or a symbol. You can use this as your jumping off point. See, now you’ve got an angle.

Easier than you thought, right?

2. Head Outdoors

Artificial light boosts the levels of the hormone cortisol in your body.

Cortisol causes stress.

When you’re blocked for ideas, it’s stressful. And a stressed mind is a blocked mind. It’s a downward spiral.

Only by backing off can you release your creative flow. A really simple way of doing this is heading outside. If you’re stuck in an office, at least head over to a window for some natural light.

The other great thing about getting outside is that you’ll move your body. Exercise, like natural light, helps to encourage feel-good hormones. The better you feel, the easier you’ll find it to be creative.

3. Treat Your Obstacles as Puzzles

Instead of looking at your block as a problem, see it as a puzzle to be solved. It’s showing you the way forward. As Ryan Holiday puts it, “the obstacle is the way.”

In other words, keep fighting! You’ll only discover what you’re capable of if you refuse to let your obstacles defeat you. Here’s Ryan Holiday again:

The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.

Of all the possible strategies for dealings with difficulties, this is the one you can always use. Everything can be flipped, seen with this kind of gaze: a piercing look that ignores the package and sees only the gift.

How Do You Deal with Creative Blocks?

Do you back off? Let them defeat you? Or do you keep pushing? What have you found is the best way through (or around) your blocks?