MSP-C senior content director Molly Bennett shares five ways she finds sources of inspiration for writing and content creation ideas.
The email pinged into my inbox at 8:15 a.m. “This is a reminder that your content director viewpoint blog is due Tuesday, December 6th.”
No problem, I thought. About a month ago, I had a flash of inspiration and quickly typed out some rough yet (I thought) substantial notes. It wouldn’t take long to give it a polish.
But as I soon discovered, my notes had vanished into the ether—along with the memory of what they were about.
I opened a blank document. And I started thinking about the nature of inspiration: where it comes from, why it sometimes DOESN’T come and which conditions are most likely to get it to flow from my fingertips like a glittery, rainbow-hued stream of light.
So, from my brain to yours, here are a few tips for locating that elusive spark of inspiration.
How to find inspiration to write: 5 ideas for content marketing
- Switch off. You’ll never get in the zone to find ideas for content marketing or inspiration to write if your Outlook is pinging at you and three—no, four—Slack channels are demanding your attention. Shut them down for a bit. Whatever it is can wait—really.
- Step away from the computer. Many years ago, my best headlines often popped into my brain while I was outside on a cigarette break. (Cut me some slack. It was the early Noughties and I was in London, which isn’t called the Big Smoke for no reason.) Having long since kicked the habit, this kind of break is no longer an option. But the point stands: flashes of inspiration rarely come while you’re staring at a screen, fingers poised over the keyboard.
Get away from your desk. Take a walk, even if it’s just around the office. Stare at a potted plant. Let your eyes glaze over for a bit.
- Cast a wide net. It doesn’t matter if you’re designing a magazine for the international potato processing community or writing a blog about the benefits of pharmacy automation. Good writing is good writing, and good imagery is good imagery. You can find inspirational content in Wired, or Garden & Gun, or Greatist, or any other place, even if it’s completely unrelated to your subject matter.
- Consult the hive mind. If you’re still stuck, put out an APB on writing inspiration or unique content ideas. Open up Slack or Outlook (you had it switched off, remember?) and ask for ideas in the General channel or in an Everyone email. Because you never know what genius suggestion might come back from Sandra in Accounts Receivable.
- Stop trying so hard. Sometimes, inspiration stays in its hidey hole. If it does, walk away. Get through the rest of your to-do list and try again later. Whatever you do, don’t settle for content you know will give you a pang of dissatisfaction every time you see it in print or online. Because the right ideas for content marketing are out there—and you’ll know it when they appear.
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