The struggle to stay creative during the content creation process is a challenge that most, if not all, content marketers have encountered at some point in their careers. New ideas are often just hard to come by, and creativity doesn’t always follow the same tight deadlines as content marketing. It can get harder and harder to come up with fresh, new, and exciting ideas the longer you work on a campaign. It can often feel like every single creative content marketing idea has already been implemented – multiple times.
So what do you do when you are in a content creation crisis and faced with a deadline ahead? In this blog, we discuss reasons why content marketing can sometimes get bogged down by writer’s block and content creation tips that are sure to help you overcome your brainstorming hurdles and get back to great, creative content marketing.
Why does writer’s block occur?
Writer’s block during content creation can occur for a variety of reasons. One could be that you have simply used all your creativity for a particular customer or company. It’s difficult to create original content every day, especially if you’ve worked on it for weeks, months, or years. That feeling of immense production pressure can be a major stumbling block when creating creative content. HubSpot’s Pamela Bump tells us that:
“The pressure to create can trigger both stress and fear of failure, which are scientifically proven barriers to creativity. Not only can they get in the way of your motivation, but you can also prevent new or unique ideas from coming your way. When under pressure, you may feel less inspired, unmotivated, or get into a bad writer’s block that leaves you wondering if you will ever have a great idea again. If that moment happens, don’t panic. Remember, this happens to everyone – especially marketers who have to produce hundreds of creative assets or campaigns annually. “
In addition to stress that leads to a lack of originality and writer’s block, Moz’s Caroline Forsey talks about how focusing on SEO and keywords can stifle creativity if you let it. While an SEO-driven strategy can ultimately lead to immense growth, sometimes it can seem like it takes away the fun and creativity of writing – but it doesn’t have to! In content marketing there is room for analysis and creativity. It can only take a little while to find your groove.
Writer’s block happens to everyone. The most important thing when faced with this is not to panic. Instead, prepare yourself with strategies that will work for you when it inevitably occurs. The following eight ideas won’t cure or solve your content marketing creativity problems, but they do give you a place to start when you stumble and need guidance.
1). Walk away
One of the best, and easiest, content creation tips is to just walk away. This doesn’t mean ignoring deadlines or your client’s needs and wants. It means that when you feel stuck, simply standing up and stepping away from your computer is immensely valuable and helpful. Take a walk, do yoga, have a cup of coffee or tea, or watch a mindless TV show.
What you do doesn’t matter as long as you are away from your computer and can force your mind to focus on something else for just a short time. While it may seem counterproductive to pause content creation for a while, the end result will be a surge in creativity that couldn’t have occurred without giving your brain a much-needed break.
2). Always be on the lookout for inspiration
Hubspot reminds us: “Great ideas can happen at any time: in the car, while cooking, on a walk or even while falling asleep in bed. If something interesting occurs to you, record it. “
Recording ideas that come to mind in real time can be an important tool in combating writer’s block in content marketing. Taking pictures of things that pique your interest, keeping a list of ideas and topics, and using voice messages are all ways to capture creative ideas when they hit you.
You may not have time to work these ideas out right now, but they will be available to you later and can lead to solid content marketing in the future. In addition, setting reminders to review these notes later also helps keep those ideas in mind when you need to use them.
3). Just start writing
One of the things I start with when I start creating content is simply writing. Sometimes that means I’ll start with an outline, but often it means I’ll just start. I write down everything on my mind every now and then and the end result is – terrible. Just awful. BUT the simple act of getting something on my computer screen is asking my creativity to do the rest.
HubSpot’s Pamela Bump has similar advice: “If you’re feeling really uninspired, just get the bare bones of the piece down on paper and come back to it later. Once you have something half-finished to publish (if not the best-written) the pressure should ease off so you can dive back into it a few hours later with fresh and innovative ideas for extra flair. “
Sometimes the biggest stumbling block in content creation is a blank screen. A little text on one page is enough to inspire you and get you moving again.
4). To ask for help
When creating content marketing articles, marketers are often afraid to ask for help. This could be because you’re new and hesitant to show that you don’t know everything, or it could be because of a small ego and not wanting to admit that you can’t do it all on your own. I’ve seen both. Whatever the reason, there’s no shame in admitting that you need a little help with content creation.
This approach is especially useful when you are writing on a subject that you are unfamiliar with. Caroline Forsey of Moz suggests, “If you are frustrated with a topic that you don’t enjoy writing about, don’t hesitate to reach out to experts – even within your own company. Your passion for the subject will fuel your desire to write the piece from a more humane point of view. “
It doesn’t matter who this help comes from. Friends, co-workers, or other experts in the field you write about are good places to start. As long as you can find someone who can offer a new perspective, you are spot on. You will find that most people are ready and even eager to provide a glimpse into a customer or content marketing area. You just have to ask.
5). Work when you are most creative
Figuring out when your ideal productive times are and planning your most creative tasks during that time is essential to creating quality content marketing. Whether that time is morning, afternoon, or even evening, protect this time for content creation as much as possible. This could mean dozing off Slack, putting your phone down, or turning off the sound and notifications on your computer. Whatever it takes, set a time when you feel best for tasks that require creativity and save for other times of the day to do tasks that require less of your mental energy.
6). Connect with your audience
Getting aware of your target audience as you create content can really go a long way. Caroline Forsey from Moz says: “I often tell new writers on the team that you can find an interesting human point of view on any topic, no matter how boring it may seem, which makes writing about the topic more exciting and gives the readers more opportunities to connect the piece. The easiest way to find the human point of view is to consider the reader’s point of view when searching for a topic on Google. Start by asking yourself, ‘Why should I ever search for this topic?’ “
Connecting with your audience can also include interacting with them on social media and observing the world around you. Listening to and absorbing what you see everywhere can help you focus on that human element. Stay open-minded, read books, articles, and tweets – whatever you need to see your content marketing from a different perspective: the consumers.
Find out what is important to your audience and write from that angle. And if you are not sure what it is, just ask! Take an informal survey on social media or send a survey through a newsletter. If you take the time to go all out to discover your audience’s wants and needs, you can create content marketing that creates an authentic connection with your readers.
7). Take a look at what worked before and what didn’t
Analyzing what worked and what didn’t work in the past is a great way to create creative content marketing pieces. There’s no point in spending time creating something that has already been proven not to work. Forbes suggests, “One easy way to get ideas is to look at competitors and industry publications. You can take a look at their website and sitemap to see what content has been created if you want a complete overview of how to create a content plan. If you want to win quickly and easily, you can check out their social media accounts to see which topics are getting a lot of engagement and if there are any trends. “
They also suggest using social media data to not only help you come up with new content marketing ideas, but also to understand what is happening in your product or service category. Monitoring these trends is an easy way to ensure that your content marketing hits the mark.
8th). Outsource your content marketing creation
Creating content on a consistent basis can be difficult, let alone creating engaging, engaging, and fresh content on a daily basis. By following some of the steps above, you can save stress and time, and make sure you enjoy and are proud of the content your business creates.
However, if you find that you are still struggling to create quality content using the ideas above, keep in mind that it may be time to outsource your content creation. Using professional content marketers can save you hours a day and a tremendous amount of stress. For more information on how to write your own versus renting out content, check out this article from Three Girls here. It has a thorough breakdown of each option to help you make the best decision for your business.