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Unlocking Your Content Marketing Creativity

November 01, 2017
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Content Marketing

The last few months of the year are the busiest for content marketers.  There is so much to do in so little time that it’s no wonder why stress rates for marketers are on the rise.

If you’re feeling burned out and can’t seem to muster the same level of creativity you had earlier in the year, don’t feel too bad.  It happens to all of us at one point or another.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should wait until inspiration strikes again.  Here are a few ways to ignite your imagination and unlock your content marketing creativity once more:

Focus Less on Business Goals

Let’s be honest; establishing goals is essential for any business.  But if you’re focusing strictly on the monetary goals of your content marketing, then you could be killing your creativity.

According to a Harvard Business study, people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by “the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself”—and not by external pressures (i.e., the pressure to produce more content or to maximize your ROI).  In other words, you could be putting too much pressure on yourself to make money, which hinders your brain’s ability to think outside the box. 

Next time you’re feeling burned out and find yourself thinking about business goals, try focusing instead on the positive reception your content has had in the past.  Knowing that your content has helped your audience in some way is always a good feeling and this reminder can inspire you to chase that positive reaction once again. 

Tap into Your Funny Side

Improving your content marketing could be as easy as watching a funny video on YouTube.  Studies have repeatedly shown that humor and sarcasm can increase creative idea generation, so don’t be afraid to get a little silly!

There are a few reasons why scientists believe humor can boost creative thinking.  First, happier people tend to be more creative, and laughing regularly is a great mood booster.

Another theory is that the parts of our brain which help us set up jokes and interpret them are the same parts that are used in creative idea generation.  The next time you and your team are trying to brainstorm content marketing strategies, consider warming up with a joke—just make sure that it’s work appropriate.

Change Up Your Scenery

We are creatures of habit.  In fact, our brains are wired for it.

Unfortunately, running on autopilot can make getting into the creative zone difficult.  To shake things up, start with a change of scenery.  

Changing your environment can break up the monotony and give you a fresh outlook on your content marketing.  It can also improve your focus, allowing you to get more done in less time.

Try redecorating your office, sitting in a different part of the office, or working from an entirely new location – the smell of coffee is sure to wake you’re brain up.  You may simply need to see things from a new angle to get your gears turning.

Get to Know Your Audience Better

It’s just common sense; the better you know your audience, the easier it will be to find new angles to approach your content.  If you don’t know anything about your audience other than traditional demographics, you are missing crucial information that could help you get creative with your content.   

Let’s say that your company sells wedding apparel and your target audience is women, ages 20-40.  This information is good to know, but what are their likes and dislikes?  What are their values and beliefs? Where do they spend time online?

By uncovering your target audience’s attitudinal behaviors, you can unlock new solutions to their problems and connect with them on an emotional level.  With this data, you can now create different content strategies and campaigns to target specific segments of your audience.

If you aren’t using robust content marketing tools to uncover this information, then go after it yourself.  Send your existing customers surveys or hang out in online forums and social media platforms to listen in on their conversations.  The more you learn about your audience, the easier it will be to unlock your content creativity.

Overcome Perfectionism

Not only does your content need to bring a fresh perspective to the table, but you are now expected to ramp up your content production as well.  Needless to say, there is an insane amount of pressure on content marketers these days.

With such immense pressure, it’s easy to fall prey to perfectionism.  Unfortunately, few things kill your creativity more than the notion that your content needs to be perfect before being published.

The most effective way to overcome perfectionism is to just start creating—even if it’s bad.  Taking that first step forces your brain to overcome a huge mental hurdle you may not have even realized you were facing. But be sure you have someone proofread it before you publish it. Nothing negatively affects credibility more than poorly written articles with grammatical errors.

Get Your Blood Pumping

You probably know that exercise does a body good, but did you also know that it can boost your brain’s creativity?  Research has shown that regular exercisers do better on creative tests compared to their sedentary peers.

Even if you don’t have a regular fitness regimen, you can spur creative thinking by taking a short walk and getting away from your desk for a while.  Not only can doing so boost your memory and productivity, but it also gives you a change of scenery that can help refresh your brain.

Be Open to New Ideas

Have you tried brainstorming with your team and felt it was a complete waste of time?  Many marketing managers have felt this way.  However, there is a simple way to get more creative ideas out of your brainstorming sessions.  

For brainstorming to be effective, you and your team need to be open to hearing fresh ideas, no matter how silly or bad they are.  How many times have you heard a successful CEO say that they’re idea sounded insane at the time?  Many of those ludicrous ideas have managed to produce a successful company.

Never mock an employee for an idea or shoot their idea down too harshly.  Not only will that employee never contribute to brainstorming sessions again, but it could make others fearful of speaking up as well.  Instead, embrace the weird, silly, and insane ideas that come your way!

Bonus tip: Put a whiteboard in an area that is seen by most people on your team and encourage folks to write their ideas on it. Then encourage them to expand on others’ ideas. You never know where idea might lead!

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Catch Up on Industry Trends

Sometimes, it’s difficult to think about work at all, let alone come up with a fresh take on a specific marketing campaign.  To get your head back in the content marketing game, put work aside and start reading industry news instead.

The latest news in your industry usually has a few inspiring stories that can motivate you and spur innovative ideas.  Suddenly, the gears are turning once more and you’re searching for ways to help people through your content.  In this moment, it has become less about the money and more about the work itself.

You can also discover new content marketing tips to get your content creation back on track.  Even spying on your competitors can ignite a creative (or competitive) spark.  Looking outwards, even for a brief amount of time, is sometimes all it takes to re-center your brain and unlock your content marketing creativity.

Conclusion

Look at it this way—your creativity is not a finite source where, once gone, it cannot easily be restored.  Instead, creativity is more like a muscle that simply needs to be stretched to get back to its peak performance.

Try these strategies out and always be open to new ways to spur your imagination.  By keeping an open mind, you might stumble upon a new way to unleash your content marketing creativity.

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