Need some quick ideas for content creation?
No matter how creative you are, everyone has days when the ideas won’t come. Every idea you consider seems trite. Your head’s stuffed full of cotton wool.
To ensure that you can create content anytime, anywhere, create your own Content Idea Bank.
Instant content creation ideas: create a Content Idea Bank
A Content Idea Bank is a partly a swipe file, and partly ideas you’ve brainstormed and banked for future use.
Unfamiliar with the term “swipe file”? From Content Creation Swipe Files: Inspiration, Tools & Organization:
A swipe file is a term that stems from traditional advertising copywriters who would gather title ideas, clippings, research snippets and more into a file that could later inspire their work.
I’m a copywriter, so I keep my copywriting swipe file in an Evernote notebook packed with advertising materials (mostly vintage ads) I’ve collected over the past 20 years.
Not only do I keep my copywriting swipe file in Evernote, I keep my Content Idea Bank there too, in its own content creation notebook. Here’s what I keep in that notebook:
- Content formats: everything from eye-catching infographics to formats of articles I’ve written for clients;
- Unused research materials;
- Mind maps and ideas I’ve brainstormed;
- Useful links…
What you keep in your Content Idea Bank is up to you. Basically, store anything which inspires you and helps you to get ideas.
On those days you’re fresh out of inspiration, look through your Content Idea Bank.
You can also try these ideas for an instant creativity boost.
1. Ask the best content creation question: “what’s the problem?”
Life is just one problem after another. For me and you, and for everyone else. Instead of cursing challenges, look on them as perfect for content creation.
I love the “what’s the problem?” question. You can ask this question for almost anything.
- Your freelance writing clients;
- A novel you’re in the midst of plotting (try using “what’s the problem?” for every scene);
- When you procrastinate on something…
Whenever you’re stuck and can’t find content inspiration, remember the question.
Try experimenting, too.
2. Experiment: do something, then write
Experimenting is a no-brainer method of content creation. Although there’s extra work involved—you’ve got to conduct the experiment—you’re creating unique content.
Think about experiments you (or your clients) could create. These experiments needn’t take a lot of time and energy. They can be quick, or more complex.
A quick experiment: use A/B testing to test headlines, in advertising, or in content. These itty bitty experiments always teach you something, and give you material for content creation.
Longer experiments are useful too. For example, perhaps you’re working with a freelance writing client and discover that his top competitors are on Instagram, but your client isn’t. You ask the “what’s the problem?” question and decide that yes, it may be a problem for your client—he could be missing out on sales.
Why not suggest an experiment to the client: trial Instagram for a month. You’ll create some Instagram posts, and post on the network, posting two or three posts each week, as well as engaging on Instagram on the client’s behalf.
When your client agrees, you’ll become inspired. Not only will you look at your clients’ products in a new way, you’ll easily brainstorm ways to promote them on Instagram.
Finally, let’s look at my favorite way of developing fresh ideas for content creation: batching.
3. Batch as often as you can: batching is perfect for ALL content creation
If you’re unfamiliar with “batching”, basically it means doing similar tasks in a block of time, rather than switching from one task to another. It’s useful because it makes you more creative, so you’ll get better ideas.
For example, in content creation, you could batch-create:
- Blogging tasks. Try batching headlines for the blog articles you’ll write over the next month;
- Freelancing queries. If you’re a freelance writer, you could batch queries for prospective clients or publications;
- Your fiction writing: try batching outlines for the next five scenes you’re writing…
Not only does batching enhance creativity, it saves the time you spend switching tasks: you’re more productive. I like to set aside quiet Sunday afternoons to batch content creation ideas for my clients.
Try using a timer, and set it for 25 minutes (yes, it’s the Pomodoro method.) Before you start, decide how long you’ll spend on this batching task—usually, I’ll batch for a couple of hours, in 25-minute sessions. Take a break at the end of 25 minutes, and walk around. Then set the timer again.
Try these tips for all your content creation: you’ll make it stress-free
When you ask the “what’s the problem?” question; develop experiments; and batch tasks, you’ll find that developing ideas happens as a side effect. It’s stress-free—you’re no longer feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
Create your Content Idea Bank today: use any app you choose. I’ve used Evernote for many years, but Obsidian would be perfect too.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.