Brainstorming is the first step in any project, and for some, it can be the most difficult. Generating new ideas can be intimidating due to the overwhelming number of possibilities or lack thereof. Whether in a group or on your own, brainstorming can help flesh out and strengthen ideas. It is an ongoing process, and breaking it into steps can lessen its intensity. There is usually more than execution for an idea, and examining the options allows you to make the best decision for your content creation.
Even the most bonkers, infeasible ideas can provide important insight, or spark new concepts to build on. It can be scary to speak up, but when brainstorming with a group, sharing your thoughts provides your unique perspective. When working on your own, it is easy to dismiss ideas or forget them, so it is important to write down everything, no matter how silly you might think it is.
The first thing to ask yourself when approaching a content creation brainstorm is, “what am I aiming to accomplish?” In the case of social media content creation, are you celebrating a holiday? Launching a new product? Engaging with the audience? Knowing your end goal creates limits to what can feel like a limitless pool of options. Make a map of your thoughts, starting with your goal and branching out into everything surrounding that idea – colors, feelings, shapes – anything that comes to mind could be useful later on. I find it helpful to write down a list of ideas the old fashioned way (pen and paper), rather than electronically, as it gives me something to physically hold and look at while working. Once you have your ideas, ask yourself, “what are the steps to get to that result?”
Contrary to popular belief, great ideas don’t just appear out of thin air. Great ideas build on the ideas of others. Start by looking at other works that have the same goal as your own, or that have the same aesthetic you’re aiming for. Scroll through social media or flip through a magazine. Consuming media is visual research that can tell you about current design trends and illuminate possibilities. Collect your research and inspiration along with your other notes in a folder or anywhere you can look at them all in one place.
Now that you have your resources, it’s time to start developing your ideas. Consider how you want your own piece to look. Think about the different elements you need to include and how they can interact with one another in the frame. Look at your notes and study your references. Come up with lots of different compositions and executions (they don’t all have to be winners). You can do this by arranging placeholders on your design software, or doing it by hand. The first execution isn’t always, or even usually, the best one. Play with colors and hierarchy, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. In this particular step, quantity is more important than quality, as it is much easier to eliminate options than to come up with new ones.
When you have multiple iterations of the same idea, you can see what works and what doesn’t laid out right in front of you. Narrow down your options to a handful of your most successful pieces. Take the parts you think work best from your choices and try different combinations of elements – you may discover something new during this phase of the content creation brainstorm.
It’s a team effort! It’s important to have more than one pair of eyes on a piece. Receiving feedback on your conte creation can not only clarify parts you’re unsure of, but might also provide you with insight you hadn’t thought of. Because you have looked at your own work the most, you may be overthinking unimportant details or overlooking obvious issues. Don’t forget, there is always room for improvement! Take it one step at a time. 🙂
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Written By: Naomi Nora, Graphic Designer