Long before killer content on the Internet was even thought of, a British social psychologist named Graham Wallas produced a theory explaining the 4 Stages of Productivity. Originally published in 1926, his work, The Art of Thought, is now out of print and the surviving copies sell at a very expensive price.
Why is this so valuable today, especially for content marketers? Because this is a secret strategy for producing engaging, epic and totally killer content! The power behind its efficiency rests between the conscious and the subconscious mind.
Here are the stages and how you can use them to draw readers to your business:
1) The [Killer Content] Preparation Phase – (conscious)
First, you want to get into the right frame of mind for brainstorming. This encompasses looking at your topic or idea from all sides. Look at the advantages and disadvantages. Write down absolutely everything that comes to mind. Look at it from different points of view. Consider different cultures, ages, races etc.
Write them down and walk away. Put the entire topic to bed. You don’t have a complete idea yet…this is only step one of the process.
2) The Incubation Phase – (subconscious)
Have you ever been in the middle of doing something and all of a sudden you come up with an idea for some killer content? You’re driving down the road and you suddenly think of a solution to a problem.
These thoughts or ideas come from your subconscious mind and are born because you put an idea or a problem into ‘incubation.’ You deliberately forced them out of your subconscious mind.
There’s two ways to put your ideas into incubation. You can either deliberately focus on something else or you can literally sleep on it.
3) The Illumination Phase – (subconscious)
This is when having a pen and paper handy really helps because you can quickly jot down the ideas that pop into your mind and then continue on with what you were doing. Like the incubation stage, this one can’t be forced. It has to come subconsciously.
It only occurs after you’ve been able to walk away from your brainstorming stage and consciously focus on other things. Illumination is represented by the actual epiphanies that inadvertently pop into your head during random times.
For now, just make note of them.
4) The Verification Phase – (conscious)
This is the final stage, where you come back (consciously) to your brainstorming ideas. Now you combine all of the ‘epiphanies’ that popped up during the incubation and illumination stages and consciously incorporate them into your writing so that they make sense and work.
By now, you likely have some killer content for your next blog post.