The key to creative content marketing is to do certain activities that help you think in new ways. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years.
Apply concepts across different domains
A good way to get new content marketing ideas is to take something from a different area and see how it can work for you.
For example, you might listen to a podcast that keeps you on the edge of your seat, making you want to hear more. Instead of just enjoying it, think about how you can use this in your work.
Could you write your next blog post in a way that makes people want to keep reading until the end, for instance by using open loops in your writing?
Or maybe you see an online store that gives people points when they buy something, and they can use those points to get discounts later. How could you use this idea in your content marketing?
You could give points to people who read or share your newsletters. Later, they could use these points to get special content or even some cool merchandise.
Whenever you find a good idea, think about how you can use it to make some aspect of your content easier, better, or more fun to do.
Curate your information diet
What you consume shapes what you create. It’s important to be picky about what you read, watch, or listen to. Get a mix of different kinds of information, not just stuff that’s directly related to content marketing.
For instance, you might usually read industry blogs and marketing guides, which is good, but don’t stop there. Try reading research papers about consumer behavior or even something as far out as space exploration.
You could also listen to podcasts about history or watch documentaries about different cultures. These might seem unrelated, but they can give you new perspectives that you can bring into your content marketing.
Let’s say you read a research paper about how people make decisions. This could give you insights into how to structure your marketing messages to encourage people to take action.
Or maybe you watch a documentary about a social issue. You could use the storytelling techniques from that documentary to make your own content more compelling.
The point is to go beyond your usual sources of information. Doing this gives you more building blocks to work with when coming up with new ideas.
Aim to be prolific
In content marketing, quantity often leads to quality. The more content you create (up to a point), the better you get at it.
You might be tempted to spend weeks perfecting a single blog post, making sure every sentence is just right.
And while it’s important to produce high-quality content, spending too much time on one piece can actually hold you back.
Instead, aim to create as much as you can. Write multiple blog posts, shoot a series of videos, or create a variety of social media posts.
The more you create, the more you’ll learn about what works and what doesn’t. This approach also helps you build a content library faster, giving you more material to share and repurpose.
For instance, a series of blog posts can be turned into an ebook, or snippets from your videos can be used for social media posts.
The more content you have, the more ways you can use it to engage your audience.
Set lofty goals
Goals aren’t just about numbers; they help you focus creatively.
For example, if you want to get more people interacting with your social media posts, this goal could lead you to try new things.
You might start asking questions in your posts to get people talking, or maybe you’ll share fun quizzes. These new ideas can help you reach your goal and also make your posts more interesting.
Or maybe you want your blog to show up higher in Google search results. This goal could make you write about new topics that your readers care about but you haven’t talked about yet.
Doing the research for these new topics could give you fresh ideas that make your articles better.
Be systematic about research
While you can’t control when a creative idea will strike, you can control the kind of research you do, which often fuels creativity.
The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation, but to get more parts on the table.
The more information and ideas you gather, the easier it is to come up with something new and effective. For content marketing, this means having a solid research process in place.
It could be as simple as keeping a Google Doc where you jot down interesting facts, statistics, or quotes that you come across.
Or maybe you prefer using a notes app on your phone to record voice memos whenever an interesting idea pops into your head.
For example, if you’re working on a content marketing strategy for a fitness brand, don’t just look at other fitness blogs.
Dive into medical journals about exercise physiology, read books on psychology to understand motivation, or even explore cooking blogs for healthy recipes.
Collect these diverse pieces of information in your research hub, whatever form it takes. Then, when it’s time to create new content, you have a rich source of material to draw from.
You can mix and match different ideas to come up with something truly unique.
Maybe you’ll combine a psychological principle with a fitness routine to create a blog post that not only tells people how to exercise but also how to stay motivated.
Being systematic about research helps you build a treasure trove of ideas and information you can tap into any time.
Set up a creative environment
A cluttered, noisy space can be distracting, while a well-organized, quiet environment can help you focus and think more clearly.
This is especially true in content marketing, where you often need to juggle multiple tasks like writing, researching, and strategizing.
You might find that you do your best writing early in the morning, when the world is still quiet.
If that’s the case, consider setting up a dedicated writing space that’s free from distractions.
This could be a specific room in your home or even just a corner of your office. Make it a place where you can focus solely on your work.
But it’s not just about physical space; your digital environment matters too. Consider organizing your computer desktop, email inbox, and digital files in a way that makes it easy to find what you need.
Use tools and apps that help you stay organized. For instance, you could use a project management tool (we use Asana) to track your content calendar, or a note-taking app to store your research and ideas (I use Apple Notes and Heyday).
The key is to create an environment that makes it easy for you to get into a creative flow.
The less time you spend searching for that research paper you read last week or trying to find a quiet place to write, the more time you can spend actually being creative.
And in content marketing, time is often your most valuable resource.
Take lots of breaks
Your brain needs time to process information, make connections, and come up with new ideas.
This is often referred to as “incubation periods” in creativity research, but in simpler terms, it means giving yourself a break to let your subconscious do some of the heavy lifting.
For example, you might find that after spending hours trying to come up with a catchy headline for your next blog post, stepping away to take a walk or do some light exercise can suddenly make the perfect phrase pop into your head.
Or maybe you’ve been struggling with how to structure a complex topic into a readable article. Taking some time to relax and do something completely different can often provide the clarity you need.
In content marketing, deadlines are a reality, but that doesn’t mean you should be working non-stop. Schedule short breaks during your workday to step away from your computer.
Use this time to do something unrelated to work, like reading a book, listening to music, or even taking a short nap.
These breaks can refresh your mind and make it easier to tackle creative challenges when you return to work.
Just like athletes need to rest and recover to perform at their best, you also need downtime to keep your creative juices flowing.
Mindfulness isn’t just for feeling calm; it can also help you think of new ideas.
Techniques like deep breathing and paying close attention can clear your head, making it easier to come up with creative solutions.
For example, if you’re stuck trying to figure out what to write about, taking a few minutes to be mindful can help.
Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and try to forget about other distractions. This can help clear your mind and give you a fresh start on your work.
You can also use mindfulness while doing everyday tasks. For example, if you’re doing keyword research or checking your content metrics, take a moment to really focus on what you’re doing.
Try to get rid of distractions and really pay attention. This can help you see things you might have missed and come up with better ideas.
Adding mindfulness to your workday is easy and doesn’t take much time. Even just a few minutes can help.
The aim is to make a mental space where you can be more creative.
Work together with someone
Sometimes, two people can come up with better ideas than one person alone. Working with others can really help make your content marketing more creative.
As someone who struggles with ADHD, I often use my girlfriend as a body double – a productivity cheat code.
Collaboration can be with someone on your team, or even someone from a different area or job.
For example, if you write articles, maybe team up with someone who’s good at making graphics.
Adding pictures or drawings can make your articles more interesting and get more people to read them.
Or if you’re making a video, working with someone who knows about sound can make your video better and more memorable.
You can also work with people outside your team or company. Writing guest articles for other blogs or talking to experts in interviews can bring new ideas into your content.
This not only makes your content better but also helps more people see it.
But remember, when you work with others, you need to communicate well and be ready to make some changes to your ideas.
Make sure everyone knows what the project is about and what their job is. Use tools like shared online documents or project planning apps to keep everyone organized.
By working together, you’re not just sharing the work; you’re also creating a space where great ideas can happen.
Use feedback as fuel
Feedback isn’t just for fixing mistakes; it can also give you new ideas.
In content marketing, this means paying attention to what your audience and team are saying, as well as your own thoughts, to get more creative.
You can get feedback in different ways, like what people say about your blog posts or how they react on social media.
For instance, if a blog post gets a lot of comments asking for more details on a topic, that’s a clue people are interested. This could be a good topic for your next article.
Or maybe you show a draft video to your team and they think adding some humor could make it better. That’s a useful tip you can use to improve your video.
It’s also good to listen to yourself. If something feels off but you’re not sure what, take another look at it.
Your own thoughts can be as helpful as anyone else’s, since you know your content best.
The main thing is to be open to these comments and willing to make some changes. You don’t have to do everything people suggest, but think about each idea.
Even a small change can make a big difference in how good your content is. And sometimes, these suggestions can lead to new ideas you hadn’t thought of.
Learn from your failures
Mistakes happen, but they’re not the end of the world. In fact, they can be a great way to learn and get better at content marketing.
When something doesn’t work, it gives you a chance to figure out why and how to do better next time.
For example, let’s say you tried a new type of social media post and it didn’t get much attention. Instead of just moving on, take some time to look at why it didn’t work.
Was the timing off? Was the topic not interesting to your followers? Finding the answers to these questions can help you make better posts in the future.
Or maybe you wrote a long article that you thought was great, but it didn’t get many readers. This is a good time to look at what went wrong.
Was the headline not catchy enough? Was the intro weak? Was the topic too narrow?
Understanding these things can help you write articles that more people want to read.
The key is to not get discouraged. The more you learn, the better your content marketing will be.
Keep up with news and trends
Knowing about new trends can give you new ideas and help you keep your content fresh and interesting.
For example, if videos are getting more popular, you might want to start making more videos.
Or if a new social media site is getting a lot of users, it could be a good idea to start posting there.
But you don’t have to follow every new trend. Think about whether it fits with what you’re trying to do.
If the new trend is making short, funny videos but your brand is more serious, it might not be the right fit. In that case, look for other new things that work better for you.
The main thing is to keep learning so you can make good choices. You don’t have to change everything you’re doing, but knowing what’s new can help you stay ahead.
Try new things
Doing the same thing over and over can get boring, and your audience will notice.
To keep things interesting, shake things up and try new approaches in your content marketing.
For example, if you always write how-to articles, maybe try an interview or a story format for a change.
Or if you usually post photos on social media, try sharing a behind-the-scenes video.
Little changes like these can make your content more exciting and keep your audience engaged.
But remember, you don’t have to change everything all at once. Small changes can make a big difference.
Start with one new idea and see how it goes. If it works well, you can try adding more new things over time.
The point is to not get stuck doing the same thing all the time.
There are many ways to make your work more creative, from changing your workspace to learning from your mistakes.
Use these ideas to inject creativity into your content marketing efforts.