This might be a familiar scene.
You're hunkered down at your laptop to work on your blog. You stare at the cursor blinking against an empty page as you wrack your mind for ideas.
Fruitless, you open social media and look through what others are working on. You scroll past article after article of great content, repeating one phrase to yourself as you go...
"How do they come up with this stuff?"
How are they coming up with all these fresh ideas while you're recycling the same few ideas? Are they tapped into some secret content creation spring that keeps pouring new ideas into their laps?
Meanwhile, deadlines are looming, pressure is building, and you're still staring at a blank page.
While inspiration can often feel like something you either have or you don't, there are a number of ways that you can give your own creativity a shakeup, even when you feel uninspired.
Here are some ideas.
When you're tasked with creating content that will engage your audience, it's a good idea to look at what's worked in the past.
What sorts of content have exploded beyond your reach? What's fallen flat?
Each social media platform has built-in analytics that allow you to track the performance of each post. Facebook, in particular, has a Page Insights tool that can show you the reach and engagement of each individual post.
Pay close attention to posts that had a lot of shares. While it's good to get likes and comments from your audience, post shares bring your content to fresh eyes who might become new followers.
Look at the posts with the highest engagement and see what they had in common. Work those common threads into new content.
If an older post did particularly well, you could even reshare it to see if lightning will strike twice.
Ask Your Audience
It can be difficult to guess what your audience wants. But when in doubt, it doesn't hurt to ask.
If you're at a creative dead end, simply asking your followers what they want to see can give you a good idea of what they would engage with.
If you have a few ideas already, posting a poll can be a powerful way to narrow things down. But if you're at a complete loss, open-ended questions can yield a bounty of fresh ideas.
Get On the Bandwagon
When you're posting content out into the world, it might feel a bit like you're just monologuing to a dark theater.
But, no content creation campaign exists in a vacuum. There is a social conversation happening around you all the time.
And other brands are hopping into that conversation. All it takes is one video to go viral for a whole deluge of content creators to hop on the bandwagon and try to copy it (anyone remember the Harlem Shake?).
It doesn't just have to be a viral video though. If a story is dominating the news cycle — or just your corner of the marketplace — publish a piece giving your take on it.
There might already be a lot of pieces about that subject, but your perspective is unique, and your audience will be interested to hear where you stand.
If you do this though, avoid being too polarizing. That's the perfect way to alienate your audience. A controversial take might bring some short term success, but you may suffer in the long run.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed trying to craft a message relevant to each of your few thousand followers? It can be difficult to create something for a wide variety of people that will resonate with each of them.
Instead of focusing on the bulk of your audience, create a few "marketing personas."
Give each persona a name. Think about where they live, where they work, what they do for fun. Think about what values, fears, and passions they might have. What brought them to you in the first place? What might they want from you?
Then create content as if you're communicating directly with that individual. After all, a conversation is always more engaging than a lecture.
Create three to five personas, then cycle through them as you create content, keeping in mind their unique values and desires.
Make a List
If there's one thing Buzzfeed has shown us the last several years, it's that people absolutely love lists.
As your brain takes in information, it files it away in your memory in specific categories. When you read a chunk of unorganized information, your brain works hard to put that content in the right file.
But in a list, the information is already categorized. This makes the content easier to read and thus, more engaging.
Choose just about any topic that your audience might be interested in (remember your poll from the second tip?) and make a list out of it.
You might even want to rank the items and see if your readers agree or disagree. After all, debate is engagement — just as long as it is lighthearted.
Still Lacking Content Creation Inspiration?
If after using these tips you're still out of creative gas, it might be worthwhile to outsource.
If you're looking for skilled, content creators that can you trust with your content creation, you've come to the right place.
Search our database of vetted freelancers today to find the right partner for your content creation campaigns!