You’ve been here before. You go to write a social post or a blog… and nothing. The more you try to brainstorm, the more frustrated you become, as the ideas just won’t bubble up. When the content well is dry, it’s time to find content inspiration to allow a wellspring to flow once again.
Content inspiration can come from many sources, but first and foremost, you need to consume content to produce content. If you want to share rich information, you need to stay steeped in learning.
And when I say content consumer, I’m not talking about scrolling your phone while watching your latest Netflix binge.
I’m talking about the content you actually take intentional time to read and reflect on. I have three journals with nothing but notes and jots on content that has inspired me. The active exercise of writing deserves a blog all of its own, but for what you need to know now, writing a note means you’ve read, reflected, and done the sensory act of writing. Writing hotwires information to the brain through the multi-sensory practices of experiencing information through visual and tactile channels.
If that sounds super nerdy, it is. But you should know writing is a highly effective way to become a content sponge.
When you were a child, you were told to be a better reader and writer you had to read and write. Well, to be a great content creator, you have to actively engage high-quality content.
With that thought in mind, I’ll list 5 places I turn to when I need to clean the cobwebs from my mind and cultivate creative thoughts.
Don’t chuck the laptop in exasperation: Fresh content inspiration is right at your fingertips!
- Look to the best people in your industry. All the leaders in any industry have websites and social accounts dripping with content inspiration. If you aren’t actively following (and secretly kind of stalking) a few industry thought leaders, you’re missing out the opportunity to learn from the best. Visit their sites and social accounts once a month. Then take note of content they’re sharing. You’ll be surprised at the fresh ideas that start coming to mind, as you allow online mentors to plant idea seeds.
- Remember that what is old can be new again. People are always trying to invent content that is brand new, but look at the parts of your industry that are foundational and timeless. While everyone is writing about what’s shiny and new, few may be writing about industry pillars. What are the key non-trendy parts of your business that deserve to be shared?
- Make a keyword or key phrases list and start Googling. This exercise can become a rabbit hole, so I give myself a time limit to take content inspiration notes. Look at what people are searching for and what topics you can bring to your audience.
- Look through magazines. I am a self-proclaimed magazine junkie- the customer avatar that grocery store checkouts are designed for. Do you want to know why I love magazines? They are full of color, lines of smart copy, beautiful pictures, catchy phrases, and best of all, they are easy to consume. The whole experience between me and the magazine is easy and pleasurable. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down to flip pages of a magazine and found myself feeling stressed. Magazines are a huge source of inspiration for my personal content and have been content inspiration when I’ve written for industries for which I’m not well-versed. I once had to write for a large fishing and tackle shop, so I picked up a fishing magazine. When I wrote for a high-end architecture firm, design magazines were my best friends. So, next time you need a loaf of bread, throw in that glossy $12 magazine for a little content inspiration.
- Do something creative. We often want the creativity gods to bestow creative thoughts upon us. The problem, however, can be while we’re trying to force creative thinking, we have neglected our creative minds. Creativity blooms creativity. You may be thinking this isn’t an actionable step, but it may be THE step you need to take. Pick up a journal and doodle. Grab the guitar that’s been shoved aside. Step outside and garden. Paint a piece of furniture. What you do isn’t important. All that matters is that it’s a creative release that allows you to step away from your work for a period of time. Your brain is craving passive activity that allows it to light up in ways that are different than the norm.
Next time you’re stalled for what to write or talk about on your website, blog, or social channels, tap into one of these 5 ideas to find content inspiration and move writer’s block aside.
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