Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If you’re a content marketer like me, chances are you have.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this blank page problem, but first—let’s take a step back.
The earliest signs of content marketing date back to 4200 B.C. in cave paintings. Marketers have been telling stories to drive engagement and generate leads for years in some form or another. But, the future of marketing resides in the hands of those creating compelling content that inspires action.
The rest? Well, it's just noise.
According to Hosting Facts, more than two million blog posts are published every day to the web. Knowing this, it’s imperative for content marketers to tap into their creative side to develop content that attracts and retains key audiences. But how you ask?
Follow along for four tips and tricks to get your creative juices flowing inside (and out) of the office to help your content breakthrough the overwhelming noise and reach the most relevant audiences.
1. Identify Your Story
Like you, I too look for ways to unleash my inner content creative genius in my everyday work. That’s why I turned to the experts who know it best, HubSpot Academy (@HubSpotAcademy), with the help of their Content Marketing Certification.
In video two of the series, HubSpot touches on what leadership guru, Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) calls “The Golden Circle.” This innovative concept challenges marketers to rethink how they share stories, and it all starts with WHY. To keep it simple, the WHY is your purpose.
So if you’re planning a content marketing strategy for your company or client, zero in on identifying the WHY. The more you know about your subject matter, the easier it is to create compelling content that resonates with your readers.
If you aren’t sure what you’re trying to achieve, your content won’t be very creative—let alone effective.
At your next strategy session, talk with your team about your WHY by revisiting your goals. Understanding the underlying purpose of why you do what you do will provide you and your team with a clear direction moving forward.
For more information on the “Golden Circle,” watch Sinek’s powerful TED Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.”
2. Foster a Culture of Creativity
Creativity is fueled by company culture. In the book, Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton, we learn how adopting a “Yes, And” mindset can be invaluable when developing creative ideas.
For more than two decades, The Second City has taught corporate clients how to apply the tools of improvisation to common business challenges.
Kelly and Tom suggest that the most obvious place to apply “Yes, And” is in brainstorming sessions:
“When people are building and supporting each other’s ideas quickly, they tend to filter and judge less, and when you take off filters at the early stages of a brainstorm session, you allow ideas to go to new places, and you discover new connections that conventional wisdom doesn’t account for.”
In other words, to foster a culture of creativity, you must give every idea a chance to be acted on. So, what are some actionable ways to do this at your next brainstorm? Consider the following:
- Select an off-site venue
- Clarify the brainstorming goal
- Appoint a facilitator
- Diversify your team
- Break the ice
- Mind map with visuals to organize information
- Cede control over any and all ideas
Creative breakthroughs occur in environments where everyone is willing to contribute, regardless of their rank.
3. Take Risks
While risk often scares marketers, safe strategies offer little in terms of ROI. Just ask PR 20/20 Founder and CEO, Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer).
At 27, Roetzer left the comfort of his career to turn a vision into reality. In 2005, Roetzer founded PR 20/20, an inbound marketing agency that provides performance-driven marketing services in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio.
None of this would’ve been possible without risk.
This same mentality applies to content marketing. While you have a reputation to uphold, there’s room to experiment and challenge the status quo. How can you do this?
Try newsjacking. This technique allows you to inject your own flair into breaking news or controversial industry topics. So as the story develops in real-time, you’re able to insert your narrative and potentially get noticed by reporters and analysts.
Another way to experiment with content is to compare and contrast your value proposition with competitors. Knowing who your competitors are and what they’re offering can help to make your marketing efforts stand out from the rest.
As a result, your prospects will understand how your services and/or solutions are uniquely fitted to solve their problems.
4. Recognize Buzzworthy Topics
These tools allow you to monitor top performing and shared content, and identify major influencers to drive actionable insights and opportunities. That way, you can develop smarter content strategies for your company and clients.
BuzzSumo’s newest feature, Question Analyzer, curates the most popular questions asked across Internet forums for specific keywords. This provides marketers with access to thousands of content ideas for blogs, social channels and more.
>> Related read: How to Use BuzzSumo for Content Marketing <<
Make Your Creative Ideas More Strategic
Once you get your team on the road to creative freedom, map out your ideas with a content calendar. Content calendars help your team take a more strategic approach to content topics, formats and more. Plus, you'll have fresh ideas to pull from for months to come.
Unsure where to start? Download PR 20/20’s content calendar template to take a more strategic approach to content strategy.
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