How‘s that idea bank coming along?
In case you missed it, this week’s email course was about getting ideas… for email courses!
Luckily for us, these techniques also work for blog posts, videos, and other types of educational content.
This is what we covered:
- How to start an idea capture habit.
- How to find ideas from your past.
- How to find ideas online.
Here’s a summary of each lesson, with a link to the full version. At the end of this piece, you'll find my three takeaways from writing this week's course:
How to get ideas with a capture habit
You are by far your own best source of inspiration. But the trick is to record ideas when creativity strikes.
On Tuesday, we learned the most important parts of having a reliable capture system. We also learned a few handy filters from Tiago Forte (Building a Second Brain) and Anne-Laure le Cunff (Ness Labs) to ensure we don’t overwhelm ourselves by recording fluff. Finally, I showed my capture toolkit and how it helps me never run out of content ideas.
See Tuesday’s lesson to start your capture habit today.
How to get ideas from your past
Even if you’re not finding any interesting ideas in the present, you likely have some gems hidden in your past.
On Wednesday, we learned the Two-Year Test from Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole (Ship 30 for 30). With a few writing prompts, developing dozens of great content ideas is almost trivial. What’s obvious to you could be amazing to others, and the Two-Year Test helps you find what that is.
See Wednesday’s lesson for all the prompts you need to ideate analytical, aspirational, and actionable content with ease.
How to get ideas from communities
Coming up with our own ideas is great, but we always must validate them with our audience.
On Thursday and Friday, we learned how to use Sales Safari to find validated ideas in our favorite online communities quickly. By not having to jump on calls for user interviews, Sales Safari lets you do valuable research when you have no established audience or product yet.
See Thursday’s lesson for an introduction to Sales Safari and how to make a list of online communities to research.
See Friday’s lesson for what to pay attention to when reading conversations in online communities.
What I’ve learned this week
I loved Massimo’s question last week about what I learned, so I'll keep this section and make it a tradition.
Here's what I've learned this week writing these lessons:
- Writing is my thing. My girlfriend commented on how happy I’ve been these past weeks. She’s also been reading my emails every morning and tells me that writing is clearly what fits me best. And after 17 years of publishing online, I finally agree.
- Curating ideas is fun and valuable. I’ve always loved curating content. But to share my own experiences with the curated ideas has been the most fun writing I’ve done in a long time. And many of you told me the lessons were valuable, so I learned once again that I should follow my interests and share what I learn.
- Don’t cram too much into each lesson and course. This week’s course was packed. I regret trying to cram too many ideas into this week. For example, Sales Safari could’ve been a separate course (also because I got some emails from people who didn’t fully understand the concept). So, for the future, I want to keep the scope of the courses as small as possible.
What we’ll learn next week
Next week’s email course is all about how to design online courses.
While we’re here to learn about email courses, we can apply the framework I’ll teach next week to any educational content.
Much of what I’ll share will come from Nick Shackleton-Jones’ book How People Learn, which changed my life (no joke) and how I approach teaching. But as Nick took many ideas from UX design and marketing, I’ll also sprinkle in my own experiences.
So, to best help you, here’s my question for you:
What do YOU want to learn about online course design?
And if you’ve been trying to design an online course without success, what’s the main thing that stopped you?
Please share your answer as a comment or by replying to this email. Because the better I understand you, the better I can help.
For now, have a fantastic weekend.
I hope to read from you!