Every creator inevitably encounters a creative drought at some point in their career. Even the most successful authors or the most brilliant artists will come to a point where their imagination gets stuck between a rock and a hard place, and marketers are no exception to this rule – especially if you’ve been consistently pumping out content for a good while already.
The good news is, there’s a cure! For some people, what helps most is to take a break and let the mind rest. While the world of marketing unfortunately doesn’t allow for much rest, there are other ways you can continue to create content you love without each idea needing to be completely unique and revolutionary for your industry, with one of them being to read blogs just like this one.
Although we’re not suggesting you go to the opposite end of the spectrum and completely copy someone else’s content with a few subtle changes here and there, there is a middle ground you can occupy by making use of the many resources available to every marketer to draw initial inspiration from, and then use your content creation skills turn that into something fresh and exciting. With that in mind, here are ten content marketing ideas guaranteed to get your creative side going again.
1. Research, observe, and make use of current trends
There are a few reasons why current trends are an excellent source for new content. When a topic is already popular, you can be sure that it’s a subject that interests many people, and one that already has a significant search volume. Unless the trend is a revival of something old, the content you make for the trend is also very likely to be fresh when you release it to the public.
As well as being easy for your potential leads to find, trends are great because as a marketer, you will also be able to identify them fairly easily. Things like social media hashtags, popular posts and news sites will all provide the latest stories free of charge and in easy to find locations, so you won’t have to spend ages scouring the internet for something to talk about.
One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have a fair bit of competition from other marketers with the same idea. Don’t let that stop you though; all you need to do is to put an extra spin on your content to cover a gap that hasn’t been explored yet, like delving into a niche area of the topic or talking to someone who has experience with your chosen trend, whether it be a renowned expert or a humble customer.
2. Take notes on an interview with an expert – or conduct your own
As much as we all love to create and consume content that’s fun and entertaining, it’s important to remember that it takes more than that to make successful content. People want to know that the content they engage with has useful information, and that they can believe what you’re telling them.
So, why not kill two birds with one stone and use an industry expert to boost your authority AND create engaging content in the process? An expert’s opinion will be based on first hand experience, making it much more valuable than the average person (and probably the average content creator too).
If you’re watching someone else’s interview, then the best thing to do is take note of any part of the expert’s responses that interest you, and maybe expand on them yourself with additional research. If you’re conducting the interview yourself, then remember to encourage the expert to elaborate on their answers as much as possible, and remain open to asking questions about things you didn’t expect to come up. The nice thing about this method is that it gets the expert to do the heavy lifting for you!
Don’t forget to do your duty as a content creator though. While the expert’s job is to provide in-depth insights into the industry, it’s your job to translate those insights into content that is simple enough for the lowest common denominator of your visitors to understand what’s going on.
3. Expand on public queries
This idea shares some similarities with the first suggestion, but has a couple of key differences. Instead of observing the trend first and then thinking about ways to put your own spin on things, you can also look at customer feedback or questions asked on query based social media sites like Quora or Reddit to pull questions directly from user posts, before answering them with your informed perspective.
While the content might not have as high a potential as something based on a trend, answering user queries comes with the added benefit of letting people in your community know their voice is heard and that you don’t consider yourself too big or important to answer the questions of everyday people. This method is especially effective if you’ve developed your own community, say through an online course or an email list.
4. Revisit your business metrics and take advantage of your current strengths
One of the best ways to come up with new content is to observe what you’re already good at, and focus on becoming even better at it. Which keywords are you showing up for in SERPs? What are your best performing products or services? How do people typically land on your website? These are just a few of the different questions you can ask to get an idea of where your strengths lie.
As for how to gain the answers to these questions, typically you’ll want to use analytics or other data you’ve gathered about your business and go from there. Though it might seem like you’d want to cast a wide net instead, doubling down on a specific niche is actually a more effective way of gaining leads. Especially when it comes to SEO, a jack of all trades will often slip through the cracks, while an expert in one area will catch almost everything that comes their way. Creating content in one area also allows for the creation of topic clusters and pillar pages, further improving your company’s performance.
5. Look to see what others are doing, and then do it better
You might remember the warning in the introduction of this blog that said not to copy other people’s content. Does that make this point seem hypocritical?
Well, not really, because we’re talking about doing more than simply copying a recipe and adding a little garnish on top. Without being rude to other people’s best efforts, I’m sure we’ve all seen marketing content that starts out by intriguing us with its incredible premise, but for one reason or another the actual execution falls short. Maybe they failed to expand on an interesting point they made, or the presentation style just wasn’t exciting enough to do the information being presented justice.
That’s where you come in. Ideally, you only want to be borrowing part of the idea rather than taking the whole thing, and then adding your own spin on things by adding depth to a subtopic, updating it with a whole new presentation style, or add a modern perspective to a piece of content that hasn’t been updated to match the new age or technology. As long as you’re creating the content from scratch and behave within reason, there’s no reason you can’t draw inspiration from other people’s content.
6. Try your hand at a form of content you’ve never tried before
When you first started out as a content marketer, there’s a significant chance that there was one form of content that you decided early on just wasn’t for you. Maybe you refused to make a podcast because you assumed you’d never be knowledgeable enough to discuss a single topic for an hour, or you avoided the idea of a webinar because you aren’t good at responding to viewer questions in real time and prefer to stick to a script.
What better time is there to tackle your content marketing fears than when you can’t think of anything else to do? If there’s nothing you’ve been putting off, instead you can look at your favourite piece of content from the creator you look up to the most, and try to implement the best parts of their style into your own content.
The worst thing that could possibly happen is that you decide to scrap the content, or it doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped. But even then, you’ll come away from it all with additional experience you didn’t have before, and will have a better idea of what to do next time (or if it went especially badly, what not to do). It’s better to have failed and tried again than to have sat at your desk and done nothing while you waited around for inspiration to strike.
7. Create an online course
If you’re struggling to come up with content, that probably means you’ve already created a substantial amount already. Therefore, wouldn’t it be a great idea to gather all your lessons and use them as a teaching opportunity by condensing them into a single course? An online course is an excellent way to show off your knowledge in a particular area without being seen as boastful, because you’re doing it with the intention to share your knowledge with others. It also makes for a great lead magnet – aka, something you can give away to encourage visitors to your website to give you something in return, like their contact information.
Remember that an online course needs to be valuable; it’s no good simply repurposing information that anyone can find on the internet if they look around a little.
If you’re thinking about setting one up, why not check out our in depth guide on how to launch an online course in three phases?
8. Find a popular opinion, and play devil’s advocate
To preface this idea, make sure you’re staying within reason when you play the other side. Don’t start trying to convince people that two plus two is five, or create content that is designed to draw clicks from outrage rather than an interesting alternative perspective.
That being said, there are still a few safe and effective ways you can go against the grain and really get people thinking. There might be a popular industry assumption that has become outdated, a common piece of advice that really needs additional consideration before being offered so freely, or a negative experience you’ve had that you want to share with your readers. These kinds of posts can often be seen in blogs with titles like “Is ‘X’ still true today?” or “Things I wish I knew before I did ‘Y’...”, and so on.
Because these types of posts often end up with a fence sitting outcome, they are a great way to be a contrarian and stand out from the crowd while not actually reducing your authority by making any outrageous claims – as long as you know what you’re talking about, that is.
9. Give away your secret formula
The Mr. Krabs inside of you might be panicking at this suggestion, but hear us out for a moment. Many content marketers hesitate to give away anything valuable for free, which of course they should. The old saying, “if you’re good at something, never do it for free” comes to mind, and it’s good advice. For many people, this might not be a feasible idea.
However, the reason that some businesses can get away with, and even see great success in giving away their prized methods in a step by step guide, is because the actual process itself requires so much time, effort, and professional expertise, that the reader is never going to be able to do it themselves. There’s a difference between giving away a recipe for a 15 minute stir fry and a slow cooking stew that takes three days to make.
The point, therefore, is to generate interest for your business and how it works, without actually losing the ability to get customers to pay for your products or services. The more technical skill and investment is required for your business, the bigger the potential reward for giving away your secret is.
10. Repurpose your old content
Some people might not consider tidying up your old content inspiring, but to those people we should ask, weren’t you inspired while you were making that content in the first place? If you were, what’s to stop you from rediscovering that same feeling?
Combining the old together with the new can be a rewarding and enjoyable process, in part because it allows you to compare the content creator you were with the content creator you are today. As for how to update your content, you can either add recent discoveries to it and make a version fit for the present day, or you can change the format, like converting a lengthy blog post into a short and snappy checklist.
Redoing old content is low hanging fruit, but if an apple at the bottom of the tree can taste just as good as one at the top, why go to all that effort of climbing it? You shouldn’t always be sprucing up old content, but there’s no harm in taking the easy option once in a while and giving your hard work a needed update.
Hopefully by now, you’re ready to get out there and do your duty as a content marketer by bringing refreshing, high value content into the world. Know that the possibilities don’t end here, rather these are just a few ideas to get you started.
If you’re thinking of using customer feedback as inspiration, why not read our previous blog on how to collect and use customer feedback effectively?
Or, if you want some one-to-one guidance on your new content marketing strategy, give Loved Brands a call and we’ll help you to create the marketing content you and your audience have always dreamed of.