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How to Generate Ideas and Creativity | South by Southwest Interactive

There’s plenty to do when the creative juices just aren’t flowing. Take it from Matthew Diffee, cartoonist for the New Yorker & Texas Monthly and The New Yorker a cartoonist for The New Yorker, who creates 10 ideas a week, just to have 9 of them rejected by management. What can you do to meet your deadlines? And how do you stay creative when your atmosphere is stale?


The following are highlights from Matthew’s talk, “How to Be an Idea Factory” at the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

Creativity very possibly requires you to ‘unplug’

  • You must get away periodically to be more creative.
  • Acknowledge what affects your creativity:
    • YOU – Mindset …What you think
    • What you feel
    • What you do

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt

  • Creatives need to be better at controlling our emotions
  • It’s hard to be creative when you are angry
  • Don’t inhibit your train of thought when being creative
  • Just keep going. It takes a lot of bad ideas to get a good one

Big Creative Principles

  • Get in the zone (sometimes it takes a while)
    • Stephen King works every morning til noon or until he reaches his quota of 10 pages
  • Do not believe in writer’s block. You are never blocked-just go backward
  • Flip the funnel (try not to go to outside sources)

Collaboration is king

  • Tips for when you are stumped on idea
    • Change location and attitude
    • Doodle
    • Add constraints on idea
    • Bring other people in

Special thanks to @socmetrics, @RandyElrod, and @FCSdotcom for the insight!

Build your blog, brick by brick | Blog World Expo

Did you know that 33% of Americans follow brands on Facebook and Twitter?

Blog World Expo 2012That number has doubled in the past 2 years. It’s clear that a company’s online presence is more important than ever. Brands that transcend social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter see a strong following on blogs. This happens because blogs offer more thoughtful and carefully curated content. Building a successful blog isn’t an easy task, and followers will only join if there’s a benefit for them. There are, however, ways for bloggers to improve their sites. The key is is look from inside out. At the Blog World & New Media Expo, a talked called “Building an Authority Brand” touched upon the must-do’s for serious bloggers.  We’ve recapped some of the hot topics at this exclusive event:

It pays to understand the blogger culture

  • Bloggers feel they aren’t treated as professionally as media. Be aware of this, and be respectful.
  • Not all women bloggers are mommy bloggers. It’s almost a derogatory term these days.
  • Don’t think campaign. Focus on relationships when reaching out to fellow bloggers. Having mutual respect for bloggers will enhance your community. So, give a little, and you will benefit in return.
  • Bloggers deserve respect, especially when pitching. There’s no lack of ideas about what to write so keep that in mind when pitching.

Interactivity is key

  • When you find a great blog, comment on the posts you like. Comments are “blogger crack.” If they comment back on one of your posts, thank them, and keep the commenting going.
  • When you get a “no” to the right idea, it’s a no to your approach. You don’t yet get what they need. Switch up the approach to enhance activity on your page.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of bloggers with details about their blogs and any follow-up activity. Note things like: Where did they come from? Why are they on your list? This might help you reach out to and understand prospective followers.

There are plenty of budding blogs and blogger tools to learn from

Thanks for the insight, @CENTURY21, @tamadear, and @rzazueta!

Social Media Marketing by Liana Evans | video book review

Social Media Strategies for engaging in Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media by Liana “Li” Evans is an enjoyable read broken down into 5 sections with 45 brief, easy-to-read chapters allowing you to easily and quickly hone in on the information you seek.

This book does not focus on any particular platform, which makes it navigable for those learning about social media. The heading of the first chapter, “The Basics of Social Media,” dives right into the nitty gritty:  “it’s not easy, quick, or cheap” (to do well at social media).  Those who have a hard time with social media will benefit greatly from this book.

 Set goals for social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter

  • Volume/value of friends
  • Comment content
  • Sentiments
  • Quick response time
  • Inbound traffic measurement
  • Tagging
  • Posts by others
  • Traffic to your site

Blogs goals include

  • Wikis
  • Social events
  • Social sharing sites
  • KPIs & metrics measurement

How to’s/ “genius nuggets”

  • How to spot a troll or constant complainer
  • How to spot the upset customer
  • How social media can play and interplay between departments

Tips: A balance of beginner and advanced strategy

  • If you’re beginner: The first chapters give you friendly insights and tips into social media
  • If you’re advanced: You can easily flip through the chapters and multitude of headings to score some insights

Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter, & Other Social Media

By Liana “Li” Evans

Published December 2010 (3rd Edition)

Best for: Beginners looking for a solid foundation, and advanced practitioners who seek quick tips and good insight

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Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan | video book review

Want a quick, but concise read to learn about social media?

Look no further than Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan.  Don’t let the 87 chapters dissuade you; it’s a quick read that allows you to zoom in to the parts that you need most.  This book is great for both beginners, freelancers, and experts. There are tons of lists of ideas and ways to approach things.

The book contains a Social Media Starter pack which consist of “starter moves” for:

  • Various platforms and types of Social Media
  • Freelancers
  • Personal branding
  • Better emails
  • Business to Business
  • Future orientated LinkedIn profile

Brogan also discusses the importance of a Social networking meet-up, and how important it is to seek out to new people, not just your friends!

Social Media 101 is a quick read.  This Hallmark card-sized book, keeps the pages turning and provides a sense of progress in your social media efforts.

Published on February 22, 2010, Brogan’s Social Media 101 is very tactical book that doesn’t ignore the bigger picture and goals of social media. And it has withstood the test of time.

Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online
by Chris Brogan

Published February 22, 2010

Good for: Beginners and experts to page through. Not ideal as an audiobook.

Video book review: 30-Minute Social Media Marketing


Master social media in 30 minutes with marketing pro Susan Gunelius

With more than 20 years of marketing experience, Susan Gunelius, author of the book “30-Minute Social Media Marketing,” breaks down the vast social media realm into short chapters: “Giving you access to anything and everything you want to know about social media.”

Susan says 30 minutes of social media practice a day for a beginner is a reasonable time allotment. But, if you are doing it right, the time you invest will increase because you will be more engaged in conversations with your connections.

“30-Minute Social Media” book’s sidebars are quick and easy to digest

  • 5 tips for writing amazing SM content
  • 15 ways to jump-start your campaign


  • Tips like setting up a timer
  • Twitter terminology and types of tweets
  • How to do social media for a startup
  • Do’s and don’ts for Facebook and Twitter
  • Various platforms for audio and podcasts
  • Where and how to find freelancers
  • How the Google Panda update changed social media

 Social Media Strategy recipe

  • Identify your overarching goals
  • Get inside the head of your customer
  • Solidify brand image, web messaging, promise-making
  • Find audiences
  • Create messages that consistently maintain brand promise
  • Broaden audiences across multiple platforms
  • Build brand advocates
  • Enable your network
  • Be engaging, real, true
  • Test, analyze, repeat
  • Be consistent and persistent

And Part 3 of the book dives into social media in 30 minutes a day: weekly “to-do’s” that will help you spend your time wisely. This section includes tips on direct marketing and cross promotion.  If you don’t know what these are, check out Susan’s book.

Published in the Fall of 2011, Susan Gunelius’ 30 Minute Social Media Marketing is a great guide for beginners and experts who are seeking new ideas. Susan ends her book with a written kick-in-the-pants to  go forth and prosper.

30-Minute Social Media Marketing: Step-by-Step Techniques to Spread the Word About Your Business
By: Susan Gunelius
Published: Oct. 25, 2010
Best for: Small businesses, startups, social media beginners