We’ve all been there – Maybe you’re sitting in front of a blinking cursor trying desperately to feel a spark of inspiration to write your next blog post masterpiece. Or maybe you’re seated in front of a video camera, trying to think of what to say for your company’s latest instalment of your video blog. I feel your pain.
As a content specialist, there are some days when I’m just not feeling inspired, and I find myself struggling to type out so much as a text to my mum. Yes, even the pros sometimes get marketers’ block, and when you’re in need of content ideas, it helps to have a few backup sources of inspiration handy to help you along. Here are a few things I like to do when I’m stuck for content ideas:
1. Constantly keep a running list of blogs, websites and other content that inspires you
Feedly is a great way to do this, or for something a little prettier, go for Bloglovin. When you’re stuck for ideas, simply scan your feed for inspiration – You may read something online that triggers your memory of something else you read, saw or thought about last week. Pocket is another way to keep track of articles and pieces of content as you read them.
2. Find out what times of day and scenarios work best for you personally
For me, it’s usually during my afternoon commute home that I suddenly get a flurry of inspiration (funny it always seems to happen more often when I’ve forgotten my notebook and my phone is out of batteries). But enlightened moments strike at different times for everyone. Maybe you get your best ideas while you’re sitting on the train in the morning, or out at dinner with your folks. Either way, always be prepared for those “hey that would make a great blog post/video/infographic” moments. That way you’ll never be frustrated by the feeling of an idea floating away into thin air when you’re trying to remember it later when you’re back at your desk. Which brings us to point 3:
3. Take your notepad (or phone) everywhere
And I mean everywhere. Phones are good, but they sometimes run out of batteries (see point 2) so paper notebooks are great because they tend to last a long time on a single charge. Note down any and all ideas that suddenly spring to mind – no matter how trivial or half-baked they seem at the time. That way you’ve got a database of potential post ideas ready to explore and research.
4. Listen to your customers and clients
As an agency, we get asked a lot of questions by our clients, which we love! But there are some questions that we get asked so frequently that we realise it might make a great in-depth blog post or video. This is not necessarily so that people won’t ask us the question anymore, but rather, so that we can educate clients as much as possible, and possible spark a further in-person or phone discussion on the topic.
We have a client whose goal when we started working with them was to increase the number of leads their website generated. With some hardworking SEO and PPC campaigns, the client eventually got to the point where they were actually getting too many leads from people who didn’t end up being their ideal customers, as they didn’t have the budget to spend on their product. Bummer.
The learning? Educate your customers as much as possible about your product, service or industry before they pick up the phone to ring you. I know the main goal of some businesses is to just get a person on the phone at all costs, after which they let their salespeople work their magic – But pre-qualifying your customers through some helpful, relevant and educational content available on your website can help save you precious time and energy. Of course, after reading more about your product, some people will just leave your site, and that’s ok too. You really only want to be spending time nurturing leads and potential customers who are actually interested in your product and are likely to buy at some point in the future.
If you really want to get talking to them, grab their email address with a lead magnet or piece of gated content so you can continue to market to them after they’ve visited your site.
- The ultimate list of blog post ideas [infographic]
What are your no-fail ways to come up with content ideas when you’re struggling?