Creativity and quality content is the heart of communications and public relations. And when we are lacking on ideas, we have to think in unique ways to come up with unique insights that capitalize on trends, and put them into context: long-form pieces with several narratives, rather than a sound bite; infographics over data; video over stills. But, what happens when you are all out of ideas? Think of the last time you were totally stumped for new ideas. What was the outcome? How about the last time you had a surplus of fresh and engaging ideas?
Put another way, how are any of these things connected to output: Innovation, engagement, recognition, or reputation? We have been taught to think of creativity as a replacement for hard work, but how can we get back to thinking about creativity in a way that makes us better content creators and communicators? If you are struggling with content creation, we have come up with four ways to give you a creativity boost.
Have a brainstorming session with your team.
Developing content for your company can be difficult. How do you create something that is going to drive results? There are many ways to develop content, but one of the most common is brainstorming with your team. Brainstorming is the process of generating ideas for creating content, and is a great way to tap into other people’s creativity and have fun doing it. It can be as simple as throwing out ideas while walking around a room or it can be a more structured approach using specific techniques. This process is essential for improving communication among team members and finding content topics your audience will find engaging most of the time.
You will want to begin by breaking up the brainstorming session into categories to help guide the conversation and share ideas. Once you have several ideas, you can begin to analyze them from different perspectives. (Tackling each idea separately allows your team to come at the idea with fresh eyes and different opinions.) Next, create a timeline of when certain tactics should take place. This takes into consideration all factors to ensure that the time management is accurate for every tactic. All together, these brainstorming sessions will help generate more discussion as everyone brings their unique experiences into the conversation.
Take note of the media cycle and seasonality.
There is nothing worse than writing a piece of content that could have been time-sensitive, but was published without taking into account the season or cycle of news. It’s like ordering a Thanksgiving turkey in July or dipping ice skates into the swimming pool in December. It just doesn’t fit. In order for your content to have the biggest impact, you need to make sure it is released at the right time. The media cycle is a preventative mindset to have when creating content.
Media cycles allow you to create thematic content based on these news events. That means you can tie your articles together and create a bigger picture with a series of articles. This leads to creating cohesive themed content, which is extremely useful for getting backlinks from one source. Before you get ahead of yourself, though, it is important to understand the nature of media cycles. If not, you may get a bit discouraged since it can be difficult to take advantage of them.
It is okay to refresh old content.
We all have old content that we’ve used before, and some of it is still good. Maybe it got some traffic when you originally published it on your blog, or perhaps you wrote an article about something that had some success. Maybe it was never really successful, but it’s still getting some traffic now. Sometimes you need to look back at old strategies and content that have been used before and see how they can be applied again.
People will often think of content as a one and done kind of deal, but that is not the case. Content can be repurposed in several different ways—and it should be. You should not just create a piece of content, publish it, and then never think about it again (unless you do not want to get more traffic from your content). Instead, you should create unique takes on content—repurposing it over time.
Ask the media about their interests.
If you are looking for opportunities to create interesting content, you may want to reach out to some media outlets and ask them what they are looking for. This can be a long-term approach that starts by simply finding out who the main reporters you want to reach out to are and getting to know them. This is important because it should lead you into finding out if they are working on any projects at this time and if they share what type of content they need for these projects. This will help you figure out where your new editorial opportunities are in the future.
It is crucial that brands create a relationship when it comes to their content efforts. If you are able to show a media outlet that you are listening, you give yourself the chance to get featured in their next piece of content. Even if it doesn’t get picked up as a feature, you can at least gain knowledge into what topics they are interested in for future endeavors. The best way to do this is to communicate with them via email. You can reach out once every two weeks or so and let them know how much you love what they are doing and any upcoming trends you see for their brand/industry.
You are no doubt aware of the importance content has, but you should be strategic in your decisions and make sure that your content is effective for its purpose. These methods will help you better plan content and get effective results.