Where do you come up with your best blog ideas?
If you’re anything like me, it’s the places where writing them down is simply not an option – in the car, in the shower, on a hike or in bed in the middle of the night!
When this happens, you’ve got 2 choices:
1. Grab whatever writing implement and scrap of material you can
2. Hope you’ll remember that stroke of genius later
The problem with number 1 is that you end up with random scribbles and scraps of paper all over the place, making it difficult to find things when you need them.
And let’s face it, number 2 never works.
The alternative is to use a cloud-based app that allows you to capture ideas on whatever device you have to hand, and store them all in one central place. Once you start looking, you’ll find inspiration for blog posts everywhere, so it’s important to have a means of capturing eureka moments wherever you go (and in an appropriate format for the situation).
It’ll also make life a lot easier when you actually sit down to write, as you’ll have something to which you can refer, and re-trigger your train of thought.
I’ve tried numerous tools during my time in business, and I’ve also spoken to fellow entrepreneurs and content creators to find out which ones they use and why – and the results are in! Below are my 3 top tools to capture your blog ideas on-the-go.
A popular choice by many, Evernote is an easy-to-use, cross-platform productivity app.
The beauty of this app is that you can capture notes in so many different formats – it will scan your handwritten notes (and make them searchable), clip web pages, save images and sketches and record audio memos. Of course, you can also type straight into it, which you can format with checklists and tables, attach files and tag with keywords so you can find them easily later.
Your notes are organised into an intuitive system of Notebooks, which you can organise further by “stacking” or grouping notebooks together.
Another great thing about Evernote is its share-ability – extremely helpful if you are collaborating with others during the blog production process, to get feedback or input.
The free account does pretty much everything you need it to, but limits you to 60MB of storage and will only allow you to sync 2 devices (e.g desktop and smartphone). If you anticipate being a heavier user, you might want to go for the Plus account, which gives you more space and unlimited devices. The next level up is Premium, which opens up some additional features such as searching within PDFs and office documents, and turning notes into presentations.
For some extra tips on making the most of your Evernote account, check out my previous post: ‘How To Make Evernote Work For You’.
Pro: Variety of idea capture formats
Con: Only available on 2 devices with a free account
Another great option for centralising your blog ideas is Microsoft’s OneNote.
Similar to Evernote, this app allows you to keep your typed or scribbled thoughts, sketches, images, documents and such in a notebook-style system. Here you create individual notebooks, in which you can have multiple groups that contain multiple sections (great for capturing blog ideas on different themes!), which can be accessed from any device.
A big advantage for OneNote, being part of the Microsoft family, is the smooth flow between documents in Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Publisher, which makes its note creation tools more extensive than that of Evernote.
It also works really well as a project management tool, especially when you team it up with Outlook.
Another new(ish) feature is the OneNote Clipper which allows you to clip web pages into your notes easily (but Evernote’s version is better).
OneNote is now completely free, which means that all the features are available. OneNote 2016 is a paid version that allows you to store your notebooks somewhere other than OneDrive – but that is the only additional feature that you pay for.
Pro: Free account includes all features
Con: Not as good on a Mac than on Windows
A new kid on the block, Google Keep is steadily growing in popularity.
This app is similar to the others in that it allows you to keep notes, images, lists, files, and so on, all in the one place, but with the addition of geo-fencing.
There are two stand-out features which set it apart from both Evernote and OneNote: colour coding of notes (meaning you can not only file your notes based on colour but search by colour too) and transcribing of audio notes, when created directly in Keep. This last feature is particularly useful when on-the-go!
Being part of the Google family, naturally, it connects easily to all the apps, e.g. Google Drive, making it very user-friendly. It also supports Google App accounts so you can use it with your domain or business account.
Pro: It transcribes your audio notes
Con: Cannot store notes using a non-Google service, such as Dropbox or Box
Which should you choose?
Well, that depends on your personal preferences – how you like your notes to be organised, the type and number of devices that you have, and your favourite way to capture your ideas.
Why not give each one a try and let me know in the comments which you prefer? 😉
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