Tips and techniques that can get marketers out of their creative ruts.
It happens to the best content creators and marketers.
You just run out of ideas.
You’re under the gun for the next great blog post, video, marketing campaign, or series of social posts.
And your mind is blank.
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Here are our top ten proven ways to spark creativity and generate new ideas.
Ways to Generate New Ideas
1. Stay Up to Date on Industry Trends
Check out high-quality websites, blogs, news publications, videos, and more to stay current about the latest trends in your industry. Create a spreadsheet to document everything you learn. Leverage ideas, concepts, data points, and anything from your research in your deliverables. It’s likely that you’ll be able to combine what you find into something completely fresh and new.
2. Learn from the Best
Do a Google search about your industry or your products or services, and see what content pops to the top. Leverage the insights in those pieces in your content, adding your own original point of view. This is a great strategy because you’re using building blocks from content that’s performing well in search to create your own.
3. Ask the People in Your Target Audience
Use surveys or social media to ask your customers and followers what content or assets they’d find valuable. This is a particularly powerful strategy because you’re showing that you care about their opinions and are willing to use your marketing resources to provide them with content and other information that will help them out.
4. Participate in Forums
Get involved in forums like Quora and Reddit. The questions and answers on the platforms can be an endless source of real time content and marketing ideas. It’s likely you’ll find groups discussing all aspects of your industry. You can even test your own content and marketing concepts in forums to find out if they resonate before you invest money from your marketing budget in them. Plus, over time, you’ll be able to share links to your content through the forums you get involved with. Forums can be great for generating new ideas, sharing insights, and building new relationships. Just don’t make the mistake of using them to market or sell, because you’ll get booted from your group. Forums are about helping and supporting, not selling.
5. Check Out Your Competitors
Of course, you never want to do a direct steal, but your competitors’ websites, blogs, social accounts, and creative content marketing campaigns could be a great source for creative inspiration. See what seems to be resonating with their customers, prospective customers, and followers, and do your own take on it. Your competitors are probably doing what they’re doing because it’s working. Why not learn from it?
It may seem a little old-fashioned, but brainstorming can be a great way to generate new ideas. Nothing is more powerful than bringing some great minds together to come up with one — or a few — great ideas. Make sure you include people who represent those in your target market. Add a few who are not so you include some diverse perspectives. Set some rules before your brainstorming session so it stays on track and doesn’t turn into a free for all. It’s likely that you’re surrounded by creative geniuses that “get” your business, whether in an office or virtually. Why not leverage their insights to help you come up with your next big content or marketing concept?
7. Turn to Industry Leaders
Leaders become leaders because they’re ahead of the curve and their followers. Why not check out what the trendsetters in your industry are up to and use it for creative inspiration? Doing this will help you develop content and other marketing assets that will position your business as a trendsetter in your marketplace.
8. Whiteboard It
This is another old-school tactic that has withstood the test of time. As you find interesting ideas, statistics, images, or anything, add them to a whiteboard. Over time, you will begin to see creative connections and associations among them that will help you generate fresh content and marketing ideas. Having a whiteboard crowded with concepts is a whole lot more inspirational than a blank white computer screen.
9. Leverage Google Trends
Google Trends will show you what terms related to your brand keywords people are searching for more over the last few weeks or months, and which ones are falling out of favor. Reviewing these when you’re not feeling creative could spark your imagination and get you thinking in new and fresh directions. Leveraging Google Trends will help you develop content and other assets that will be weeks or months ahead of the curve and not yesterday’s Google news.
10. Do More of What’s Working
When you’re feeling stale, why not take a quick look at your social media, website, and other marketing metrics? Figure out what’s outperforming. Do more of it and do it better. Do you really need to find fresh ideas when you can simply do more of what your customers, clients, prospects and followers already value and love?
If you’re in a creative rut, never give up! You’ve had success before and you’ll have it again. Simply use these tips to jumpstart your brain so you can think about things in a different way.