Social media consumption is up, meaning more people are online and more content is being created! It’s the perfect time to be using your imagination and creative side to share your story, business or to touch base with your community. However, finding content marketing inspiration can become a struggle after a few posts, so here’s a little inspo from content strategy expert, Carrie Watkins.
Help! I need content marketing inspiration!
The best ideas come from the things you’re passionate about. They can even come from your regular processes. You might not give them a second thought in your day-to-day, but with the right timing and angle, processes that are different from what they teach in “Running a Business 101” can be content topic goldmines. Here are five places to look for those angles:
Put your guilty-pleasure reality TV habit to good use. Did a celebrity just make a huge faux pas that you see your clients make all the time (but on a smaller, less public scale)? Is there a trend that you can pull lessons from for your industry? This can be especially interesting for publications that want industry-specific takes on big stories, such as the spread of disease affecting supply chains or regulations that have unintended consequences in your industry.
Process for inspiration: Each day, sift through a news aggregator such as Feedly to read what’s happening in the world. Don’t forget to look at other industries because trends often have repercussions across multiple industries.
Your favourite podcasts, newsletters, and authors:
If you’re a newsletter junkie, make a list of the best ones you subscribe to and why you find them valuable. In this era of the push-notification news cycle, everyone wants to be a little more in control of the information firehose.
Process for inspiration: Create a folder in your inbox or in your browser bookmarks for interesting ideas. Email yourself links or create bookmarks for podcasts and articles and file them away until it’s time to write. When you’re stumped, refer back to the links you’ve tucked way in your ideas folder.
Your hobbies and extracurricular activities:
Parenting taught me that most grumpy behaviours are born out of hunger or a lack of sleep. That applies to teenagers and co-workers, and you should react accordingly. Look at the things you do outside of work for content ideas. How has running marathons made you better at staying focused on a difficult task? What leadership lessons have you taken from joining a local improv troupe or community theatre?
Process for inspiration: Once a quarter, try something new. Take a class, try a new restaurant, or hike in a different part of your state. Getting a different view of your world is good for your emotional health and can lead to fantastic content ideas.
Your regular meetings and interactions:
You don’t have to be the sole idea generator for your content marketing. You have a team of bright and interesting people. Tap into them for ideas. Also, look at your day. Are there elements that tend to surprise other people? Do you run meetings in an unusual way? Is there something about your company that makes new employees smile? While they might seem common to you, these are the types of things other people can learn from.
Process for inspiration: Each week, ask your team, clients, friends or networking group questions. What have they read recently that they can’t stop thinking about? What is the hardest conversation they had with a client or prospect this week?
Look for content marketing inspiration at industry events:
Although a lot of in-person events are being cancelled right now, they’re still worth keeping on your radar for when the event schedule resumes. Whether they’re in person or virtual, industry events can be content marketing gold. Consider putting together an article helping people who are new to the industry navigate the event. Include tips on sessions and speakers to earmark and event best practices you’ve learned from attending previously. As you’re engaging with the virtual or in-person event, listen for themes or questions that keep coming up.
Process for inspiration: Review sessions from industry events as soon as they release the schedule. Even if you aren’t attending the events, peruse the agenda to identify trends and ideas.
Add to the Conversation; Don’t Repeat It
There’s nothing worse than trying to find a solution to a problem and only getting the same vague, unhelpful advice in every article. “Want to get more done in the morning? Just get up earlier!” The people who write those pieces are obviously not night owls.
The best content marketing is helpful to your specific audience and provides additional context or ideas that further the conversation. As you start creating a list of topics, make sure you know specifically who you’re talking to and what’s important to them. From there, do a quick Google search to see the conversation around that topic. If there are a lot of takes, narrow your topic or find a way to be counterintuitive.
When you’re managing projects, people, and possibly a few fires, it’s hard to find time to brainstorm content marketing ideas. If you’re struggling for inspiration for your content marketing, look around and even outside of your daily life for an angle. Apply what you know to what’s happening in the wider world, and you’ll have a steady flow of topics to help you create a consistent content marketing strategy.
About the author of 5 places to find content marketing inspiration
Carrie Watkins is a writer by education, a marketer by experience, and a trainer by learning from some extremely talented people. Carrie specializes in creating online courses, such as Influence & Co.’s Content Strategy course. She finds being at the intersection of business and technology thought-provoking and learning from the creators who are transforming their industries inspiring.