How to develop the best lateral thinking skills
Lateral thinking skills go to together extremely well if you are working on new ideas for content for just researching keyword phrases. Like any other skill, the old rule applies that the more you practice thinking "differently" than others, the better you will become at it.
Do you tend to be a right brained "creative" thinker or a left brained "analytical" thinker? Or maybe you are a little of both. Creativity can be a huge benefit to lateral thinking about unique content ideas or in researching content for a Web site.
Someone once said that SEO is part science and part art.
The science part of SEO will appeal to those who are fascinated with technology aspects of Web work or for example people who love looking at spread sheets of analytical data. Often the analytical minded person loves the challenge of trying to understand their competition or just exploring how something works.
The creative or right brained thinker tends to lean towards creating something totally unique and different. Whether you are more creative or more analytical in your thinking style don't really matter, because both skills are very important. For this article though, we'll address the creative or lateral thinker.
5 Tips on how to develop the best lateral thinking skills:
1. Practice makes perfect
Walt Disney use to often get his creative right brain thinkers together all in one room (and he called them Imagineers.) Those who were more analytically minded, he put together in a second room, because he believed that there was a place for everyones talent. In the creative group, they would dream of different scenarios such as a story line for a cartoon. Each creative person added to the others concept until they came to some amazingly creative or funny plot twists for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. Perhaps it was something as Goofy trying to get home during rush hour traffic, and a whole range of crazy things would happen all thanks to team creativity. But the key is that practice thinking laterally or creatively enough and it becomes a habit. Once the plot was formed, the story would go to pencil test and other types of talent.
2. No negativity in brainstorming
If a group is creatively brainstorming, one of the essential things is having a steady positive flow of input from everyone in the room. There is no room for negativity or questioning how it will possible to do something. In Disney's case, he might be talking to his imagineers about a new Disney ride. Let's say a ride that makes the participant feel like they are flying. One person says, "We could do it through illusion." Another says, Yes, what if we built a huge creen to cover their whole feild of view." Someone else says, yes we could do that and what if we used huge fans to blow wind through their hair." As the dialog goes smoothly, all it takes is one person to be negative and it cuts of the flow of lateral thinking. For example if someone said, "but this would be too expensive" and someone else said "yeah, and what about safety." Of course all of these things would come up in a later meeting, but if you are wanting to develop the best lateral thinking skills, then everyone in the room had to be allowed to dream without limits. Later on, often when the ride concept was created, it would be sent into the analytical thinkers as a step 2 and Disney would say, "okay fella's, let's figure out how to build this." That's where they could excel at the logical part of how to actually build the ride.
3. Sometimes the best lateral thinking takes effect when you explore the illogical.
In keyword research for SEO, it pays to explore all of the evidence instead of only guessing at what you think makes the best logical sense. When you attempt to research a specific phrase that is lodged in the front of your mind, you are limiting the results you will see to those that using that exact two word combination together. In the meantime, there could be hundreds of searches being done that you will never ever see or find, because you are logically guessing at a specific phrase that you think may be important. By using a single word, you are going to get a much wider cross section of keywords and understand exactly how they are being used by the searcher within a variety of phrase clusters. Thinking laterally, is enhanced when you try to avoid those first words that pop into your head. Why? Simply because those will be the most competitive terms that the whole world thinks are important.
4. Creativity and lateral thinking can be improved based on natural expressed dialog
Allow yourself to focus on "how people dialog with you." Think back to any conversations you've had recently with a customer. Can you recall that conversation? What did they say to you and how did they say it?
Many times, we substitute other words (which may mean the same) but in creative keyword research, you want to start with dialog the way it was actually expressed to you.
5. Tips for when you just don't feel to creative
What if you are feeling stumped...about keyword research? Try a reverse approach. If you feel challenged because the keyword you're researching seems to have no potential, try and explore your audience's "searching behavior" first to see what else they want or need based on the conditions, then create the exact high quality content that they're looking for.
Best described, if you are researching your data well, it's like a light coming on in your mind. It's like flipping a switch on to an huge "idea generator!" Truly it is like looking through a porthole on the world's searching behavior.