Sometimes building creative content can feel impossible. Whether you’re tired, the office has run out of coffee, or you’re just plain hangry, concentrating on creative content development can require a perfect storm of everything falling into place at the right time.
However, there are ways of working around the dry spells. These twelve methods will help to reinvigorate your productivity and reignite your creative spark.
1. Let it all loose and be exuberant
Seriously, the quality of my writing is never better than when I’m feeling great. Exuberance makes you feel confident, successful, and very happy. It’s a combination that usually leads people to produce their best effort.
Here are a few ways I like to pump up the exuberance (many of which aren’t ground-breaking, but they absolutely work):
- Pop on some noise-canceling headphones and blare your favorite playlist–the more boisterous the better
- Read some of the comments left by your audience on previously successful content that you developed–sometimes this is the best way to remember that your work doesn’t suck
- Listen to an online radio station (better yet, listen to a foreign station) and have fun laughing at the most ridiculous ads
If all else fails, just look back at your past experiences, remember when you didn’t even have a job, be thankful, and start working.
2. Make a meme
This one could be challenging if you’re feeling like your creativity has run its course, but there’s a way around that: make a mashup of your two favorite memes. Don’t have any favorites? That’s the perfect excuse to take a mental break and peruse the internet’s vast assortment of ridiculous memes.
I guarantee you’ll run across at least one meme that will make you crack a smile (or bust out laughing if you’re lucky).
3. Hijack some pop culture references
Associating your creative content with pop culture makes it much more memorable. Napoleon Dynamite. Yoda. The Simpsons. The possibilities are practically endless. Pop culture encompasses a vast assortment of material you can choose from. Just take your pick and put a clever twist on it.
Just look what Pepsi did to riff off the popularity of their fictional Pepsi Perfect in Back to the Future:
4. Hit them with one from out of left field
Once in a while, it works best to take your audience completely by surprise. Not everything needs to feel like it’s coming directly from your blog feed (How to do blah blah, 21 ways to blah blah, etc.). If you’re a sales professional, try writing about your absolute worst sales experience. Infuse it with a bit of humor then send it on its way. Shake things up with some variety.
Try these ideas on for size:
- Write a script and then do a live video stream to your audience for new product launches, community involvement, company events, and more
- Talk about your competition–seriously, this can be very effective if you’re honest and use a balanced viewpoint
Surprise, inspire, or shock your audience; that’s the key to success here. It’s important to note that you still need to give them content they’ll engage with. Always keep it targeted.
5. Copy the work of others…legally
No, I’m not talking about plagiarism. Rather, I’m talking about roundup content. You’ve seen the kind—usually, they come in the form of blog posts that compile the best tips, quotes, or resources from industry experts. The amount of writing you must perform is minimal and the quality of the content is high. All you need to do is find the greatest sources possible and give attribution to the original author.
Here are a few simple steps to follow that will help you create impactful roundup posts in a short amount of time:
- Choose a topic – this should be centered around your audience’s interests
- Make a list of at least 5 to 7 prominent experts in your industry
- Find published content from each expert and select their best quotes, resources, or tips that relate to your topic
- Write a short blurb that provides context for each of the quotes–this usually requires a brief introduction and a conclusion
- Write a short intro paragraph that provides context and sets expectations
- Write a closing paragraph that reiterates the importance of the information you covered
That’s it. Just keep it simple and be transparent about your sources and you’ll have a very effective piece of content on your hands.
6. Go completely visual
Videos, pictures, GIFs, infographics, memes, and other visual elements are excellent ways to capture audience attention. There are two main elements that make people click on your content:
- Amazing headlines
- Prominent visuals
Every time I visit YouTube, Forbes.com, or Facebook, my eyes are immediately drawn to the visuals. A video thumbnail that shows a shark swallowing a swimmer, a headline with an image of a laughing child, a picture of your best friend getting married. Visuals have an impact.
Check out this statistic to see what I mean:
We only remember 10% of the information we hear 3 days later. But, if a relevant picture is added we remember 65%.
That’s a statistic you can take to the bank. Include excellent visuals and you’ll have a much more effective piece of content.
7. Review a great piece of content
Books, videos, blog posts, social media posts, the list goes on. Any one of the aforementioned types of content can be used to develop a compelling review of the features, benefits, methods, tactics, or performance of another piece of content.
How to create a great piece of review content:
- Choose your content type
- Create a list of questions you want answered in the review
- Answer each question
- Finalize your review – if it’s a video, create a script, if it’s an article, create an outline and begin filling it in, etc.
The most important thing about a review is that it needs to be helpful. The audience won’t care about the color of synthetic motor oil. They’ll want to know why they should or shouldn’t use it.
8. Create an analogy of your favorite film or TV show
Working with big clients is just like running Jurassic Park. You’ve got to give them just enough space, food, and attention to make sure they’re happy, but that one time you don’t do your job, they’ll eat you alive. See what I just did there?
People love a good analogy. The more recognizable your source material is, the better. Stick to the classics; Star Wars, Seinfeld, Jaws, the Kentucky Derby, etc. If the audience recognized your source material right off the bat, it makes the entire analogy much more compelling.
Ready to kick yourself into creativity overdrive? These eight ideas should help you become more productive during creative dry spells while using minimal brain-power.