Marketers and comms pros are ideas machines. It’s what we do! But let’s face it. How many of our ideas are merely forgotten thoughts, fleeting nuggets of a concept, if they’re not recorded, organized, managed and implemented? My colleague recently shared his advice for generating creative marketing ideas. Here’s mine for capturing – and tracking with – them.

Save your best thinking – and that of your teams and clients

If you’re like me, your best creative marketing ideas come to you in the most unlikely (and sometimes inconvenient) places and times. It could be on the treadmill, while shopping, or even during an unrelated business meeting. Evernote on your mobile device can help you capture these ideas no matter where you are. Take a snapshot, record audio notes or text notes right from your smart device. It even uses text recognition technology to make text in snapshots searchable (e.g., a whiteboard full of notes). You can then access and organize this information from anywhere. The desktop companion lets you easily take recorded ideas and expand on them for use in future campaigns.

For team chat, Slack is where it’s at. I use it daily to communicate with my colleagues. But you can also use it to write yourself notes and save your ideas. Set up a private channel and consider it your digital post-it pad. Of course, Post-It has entered the digital age; it has an app that helps you file your “stickies” for later. I may have to give that a try, too.

Fetchnotes helps keep ideas organized. Fetchnotes keeps it simple. Its web clipper saves links to pages you’re browsing (and you can add a note as you save it). You can also group notes together with hashtags; Fetchnotes automatically files them away so you can search by #tag later. Or you can share your notes with @anyone using just an ampersand (and username, phone number, etc., from your contact list) and start collaborating instantly.

Always have something handy to capture creative marketing ideas before they get away.Click To Tweet

Share your ideas – and build on them

Collaboration in marketing (and in business) is essential for taking ideas from conception to fruition. Bouncing off other people and building on eachother’s ideas help filter the noise and find the ideas truly worth pursuing.

Mind maps are terrific for brainstorming, iterating and prioritizing ideas. Mapping tools like MindManager leverages your brain’s powers of association. And because you’re only populating your mind map with key words and phrases, they’re fast and efficient in transferring ideas into more tangible – and collaborative – forms. Mind maps also allow you to connect your creative marketing ideas, and show the relationships between and among them.

Boardthing and Stormboards offer similar functionality for real-time collaboration. Think of them as your virtual whiteboards.

Ultimately, the best idea capture system is the one you use. The most important thing is to always have something handy to lasso your ideas before they get away. What tools do you use to make sure your most creative marketing ideas make it into your communications plan?

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For more than 15 years, Jen Zottola has helped bring clients’ stories to life – through media opportunities, digital and marketing content, executive presentations, employee communications and more. Fusing creativity with strategy, she crafts compelling, award-winning copy proven to reach and resonate with the right audiences in the most impactful ways. As editorial director, Jen collaborates with clients and account teams to provide counsel on messaging and voice, as well as writing and editing support. Her creativity isn’t reserved only for writing; Jen also gets a kick out of party- and event planning.