If like mine, your job requires you to constantly generate content then you realize how exhausting this can be. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that there are days (sometimes weeks) when you’re feeling decidedly uncreative and yet still have to come up with the goods.
However, it turns out we need not be re-creating the wheel all the time. There are many ways we can “cheat” and still churn out compelling and relevant material on a tight schedule (who knew?!).
This recent post by Danny Iny on Copyblogger offers 21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue. Perfect for those days when you’re feeling uninspired.
Numbers 5, 10 and bonus # 22 are my favorites. Which are yours?
21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue
Sometimes you’re just flat out of ideas.
It’s not a matter of talent — you’ve written great stuff in the past. But lately, when you go back to the well for a fresh idea, it’s coming up dry.
This happens to the best of us — even veterans who consistently produce quality content have their off days. Yet they continue to write.
They may grumble about how hard it is to get going and create something solid, but they still do. Again, and again, and again.
They aren’t super-human, and they don’t have magical content-producing powers. So what is the secret?
They do it by pulling out the well-worn toolbox of strategies for creating awesome content. Steal content and ideas. If you’re flat-out exhausted and out of ideas, then get them from somebody else — either content, or ideas, or both.
I’m not talking about real stealing, of course — it’s more like “borrowing with the author’s blessing”. Done right, this can produce some valuable content that the authors you “stole” from will thank you for using!
- Curate content. Find your ten favorite websites, and then find your favorite post on each of them. Publish a post listing these top ten posts, and explain why you like them. You don’t even have to think about being creative, and everyone you feature there will appreciate it. This is what we do with our Best of the Web feature, and there are lots of other examples.
- Ask friends for ideas. If you’re tapped for ideas, then reach out to your friends and colleagues, and ask them what they’d like you to write about. You can do this with offline friends, or with like-minded online entrepreneurs. If you’re not already part of a mastermind group, then reach out to a few bloggers that are about as big as you are, and suggest starting one. I’m in a mastermind group with Jon Alford, Paul Wolfe and Caleb Wojcik, and they’ve all been a great help to me.
- Ask your audience. You can kick the last strategy up a notch by reaching out to your audience. This can be done in several ways — it can be as simple as running a “what would you like me to write about” post (which is a bit lame), or it can get more interesting by asking for their input on a problem, as Marcus Sheridan did to create his tag-line, or by asking a question so that you can compile their answers into another piece of content, like nittyGriddy’s free blog posting schedules e-book.
- Do an interview. There are lots of reasons why interviews are great for blog content, but right now let’s focus on the simple fact that it’s a lot easier to write a handful of interview questions than it is to write an entire post! Plus, it can be a great way to connect with really interesting people. (I got to interview Randy Komisar, who is my hero in the business world – and all I had to do was ask!)
- Solicit guest posts. This is a great source of content, and it’s easier than most people think – find a handful of blogs that are your size or smaller, whose content you really like, and invite them to write a guest post for you. They’ll be flattered, and happy to get exposure to your audience. They’ll work hard to bring their A game, and not only will you get a great post, but they’ll happily tell their contacts about it, and bring you a few new readers in the process.
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Associate Director of Marketing