Working in content marketing is an exciting, fast-paced environment that requires creativity constantly. Unfortunately, creativity isn’t a tap we can switch on and off as and when we need it.
If it’s not a tap, then what is it?
Creativity is innovative thinking that uses imagination and originality to bring something valuable to life.
Creativity is intangible and subjective and offers new possibilities for problem solving.
What this means is that it’s an abstract thing that a lot of our livelihoods depend on – fantastic!
Picture the scene; you’ve surpassed the midweek hump day and a fellow colleague has scheduled an ideation session for Friday afternoon. You’re sitting prepping for the meeting and no ideas are flowing, everything reaches a dead end or has been done before.
Where do you go from here?
Well, let me help. As a fellow content marketer, I’ve been there, done that and worn the ‘I had no ideas for this one’ t-shirt of shame.
Here are my five top tips for a hard creative reset to get the ideas, words and campaigns flowing again.
Dig out that customer persona you’ve had stashed away in your drive and get back to basics. Or, if you don’t have one of these to hand, log onto your client’s Google Analytics and take a look at what else the traffic reaching them is interested in.
Consider the following:
Whatever industry or niche your client fits in, brainstorm the connections they have with your audience and start considering what gaps of knowledge, insight or support they can offer through creative campaigns.
Put yourself in their shoes; look at the social media they’re spending their time on and embody what they’d look for in a piece of content so you can craft something that will fill those gaps.
Another simple but effective way to reset your creative cogs is to consider what you’re trying to achieve with your content. This could be to build brand awareness, build customer loyalty, share information, shock readers, offer comfort or so much more.
Customer intent has always been a huge aspect of content marketing, but it’s becoming even bigger. Zooming out and considering where on the customer journey your content is aiming to reach the target audience is key in getting started.
Beginning a brainstorm by considering what you intend your piece of content to do helps set the tone and can be a useful way to get ideas ticking.
If you’re a bit further in the process with your planned content idea but you’re staring at the blank page like all the greatest writers [i.e. Natasha Bedingfield] then keyword research is a great tactic.
Working in content marketing and SEO, keyword research can become an everyday task that we lose our passion for but, instead, use it as your inspiration. Delve further into the words your target audience are using to search and let them craft a useful structure to your content.
Remember that word game you’d play in primary school, where you went round the circle saying words that were semantically related to the previous? Think of using keyword research in content marketing as an adult version of this.
Consider the semantic field surrounding your topic and ask yourself, “What’s something new my content can bring to the table?” Think of ideas that link to your topic but have meaning and intent.
This way not only will you be inspired, you’re using the words in your content that ensures it reaches its intended audience.
Burn out is like a disease to creativity. If you’re burning your candle at all ends, overworking or tiring yourself out then, newsflash, that’s not going to get you anywhere. Creativity best sparks in a rested, happy mindset that can think and see clearly.
Take a break from your screen, get outdoors or somewhere you feel most content and switch off. Overdrive often leads to underwhelming creativity.
There are many perks to remote working but staying sat in the same place all day is a strong drawback. Utilise the perks and switch up your location. The change of setting may be just what you need for new ideas.
The most creative minds in history needed a muse, as do us content marketers.
Agencies and departments are built in teams for a reason: so the best, most creative minds can bounce their ideas off each other and bring the ultimate creative concepts to life. Whilst content writing can feel like a sole activity, the creativity behind it doesn’t have to.
Jump on a call, start a conversation, pick the brains of people around you (whether they’re in your department or not). I can assure you that you’ll find a nugget of golden inspiration from the amazing team surrounding you.
Hopefully, these tips will help you break free from the vicious cycle of stress and demotivation and will reignite your creative spark. The best ideas can often come from the strangest of places so don’t be afraid to break away from the mundane schedule and switch up your processes – you may just have a breakthrough.