Building a content strategy for your website or blog is a challenge. It takes concentration, a finger on the pulse of your audience’s interests and needs and plenty of confidence in your ability to deliver. You also need a solid plan which clearly defines goals for your content and how you will promote the things you write. Once you’ve covered these bases, it’s time to get creative.
All great content starts with a spark of creativity- an internal drive to make exciting new knowledge accessible to your audience. Here are a few of my favorite ways to get the creative juices flowing with your team or on your own:
Teamwork is a super efficient way to accomplish creative content farming on a large scale. By multiplying the number of minds working on a collaborative brainstorm, you’ll walk away with a huge volume of new and innovative topics to plug into your content strategy. Getting a familiar team together to bring the best ideas out of one another can work wonders for a stale content plan.
Set aside time every now and then for fun, open content development sessions with your employees. Set some simple ground rules for the meeting like passing no judgement on unusable ideas or require everyone to have a specific quota for constructive feedback. You’ll be amazed at the innovative thoughts you can pull out of all the members of your team by simply removing the tension and stigma of group work with predetermined rules.
Go ahead, ask us how we came up with the timeless fable “The Mother of Unicorns vs. the Evil Jelly Bean Queen.” I’ll tell you it started with collaboration.
Your audience is well aware of what they want from you and your web content. They usually aren’t afraid to tell you, but it never hurts to ask. Start by sourcing any feedback you already have on your social media accounts or in your primary contact email. These resources can be a goldmine for creative new topics to write about.
Look for any interesting questions you’ve received from both happy and dissatisfied customers. While it’s easier to answer the most frequently asked questions with regularly scheduled blog content, it’s much more interesting to deliver the solution to niche problems.
For instance, it would be much more interesting to read about how a carpenter helped save an animal trapped under a back porch than it would be to write about typical back porch installation. Always be on the lookout for creative ways to engage your usual readers.
Have you exhausted all of the awesome information your audience has given you on social media or through email? Consider developing a regular contest system to get more interesting and creative content topics from your customers. Offer an intriguing incentive such as 10% off a one time service or a small rebate on the purchase of a consumable good.
It usually doesn’t take much to get your audience to react- all they need is a reason and a call to send you feedback. Make sure to respond to each submission with either an automated “Thank You” email or a nod on social media. Customers will appreciate the personal touch and a quick response.
Don’t be afraid to revisit old content. Some things on your website might be way out of date and unusable to your audience. It’s perfectly acceptable to reuse this content as long as your plan involves bringing it back up to speed. It’s also important to take a new creative eye to reworking used content.
Identify the parts of the piece that made it work or resonate with your audience the first time. Make sure to include these elements in your new draft while developing creative new ways to relay the primary information. Automobile dealerships do an especially good job with this. They promote the features of a car that made it a hit in the first place, keeping them an integral part of the web copy while introducing readers and potential customers to the new features that make the latest car model distinct.
What are some of your favorite ways to jump start the creative process when working on content? We’d love to hear about what works for you!