5 Tips for Creating Content When You’re StuckBy
Okay, I have to admit that when I first starting drafting this I Googled “creating content” and found an article titled, “21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue.”
The first tip, “Steal content and ideas. If you’re flat-out exhausted and out of ideas, then get them from somebody else — either content, or ideas, or both.” Huh, I said, “Well, I guess I’m on the right track.”
However to make it mine, I really wanted to own it. So the following are my top 5 tips for creating content.
- Be curious.
- Go to your reader.
- Coffee with someone in your same profession.
- Go to Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t feel pressured to find the perfect article, resource or original idea. If it’s your idea, it’s already uniquely yours. Have you ever had a difficult time recalling someone’s name or that restaurant you love at the precise moment you needed it? Yet a few hours later out of the blue, you snap your fingers and say, “I got it!” That’s because your mind continues to work for you, even though you’ve moved on. The same thing with creating content. I find the more I pressure myself to find that idea, it doesn’t happen. Ideas typically don’t come on demand. However, much like this post, the ideas came to me after I determined this was my topic and I stepped away from it. So pick up a book, go for a walk, watch a movie or just grab a coffee and people watch. The ideas will start flooding in.
We’ve all seen those unique ads or videos show up in our friend’s feed on Facebook. Or you’ve seen an interview or commercial on TV and it piqued your interest. If you find one that’s interesting, click on it and then go deeper. For instance, I was watching an interview on NBC’s Rock Center with the creators of the viral videos, “Sh*t Girls Say.” The two creators have become Internet sensations with three videos. Well, I’d only seen one so I decided to check out the series while the interview was taking place. Not only did the videos make me laugh out loud, they gave me an idea. You see, the reason the videos are successful is because women can relate to it and men know someone like that. It crosses all boundaries. From there I became curious about why that is and after a few videos learned more about a topic that I haven’t even thought of and now have increased my knowledge and feed the content machine. You’ve got to be willing to go the next step and be curious. I swear if I was a cat I would have gone through my nine lives by now.
If you don’t have a reader, then the first thing to do is set one up. I’m a big skimmer (which also means I probably miss more than I catch, but I’m okay with that) so I can quickly search out titles or topics and determine if I want more. I usually always find the one gem that makes it worth it. There’s a wealth of information out there so go out and get it. After reading a handful of posts, you’ll feel energized and ready to tackle your project.
As a public relations professional, I’ve learned that there’s no point in explaining what I do to my family and friends. Typically after such an explanation, the first question is, “so who have you done ads for?” I just hope that at that point my eyes aren’t visibly rolling. However having coffee with someone in your same profession can be very empowering. We understand what we’re up against. We understand wins. We can talk about industry trends and how we’re using it. We can talk about our crazy days and all the caffeine we need to make it through it. And we can talk about what we do for fun. Typically following such a discussion, I walk away feeling energized and with a handful of new ideas…and that leads to more. See number two above.
With the greatest crowdsourcing at your fingertips, why not? What’s interesting is that during the day, there are groups of topics that rise to the top. Much like conversations, the hot topics get the most attention. For instance, check out Twitter trends and then click on topics that might interest you. Skim and find other topics or individuals that look interesting and then click, click and click. Before you know it, you’ll find something that has sparked your creative juices. With the new Facebook feed it’s easy to see what topics everyone is talking about because it groups similar topics together. Today in Reno-Tahoe for instance, the main topic was snow and the coming series of storms with everyone either playing in it or excited for more. It gave me an idea for a new client blog, “online excitement builds on prospect of more snow.”
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. And if all else fails, steal it…figuratively, of course.