Where do you find inspiration for your content?
I get this question all the time one as one of the pre-qualifying questions we ask in our Content Creators Facebook Group.
There are a few different variations of this question, but the bottom line is people get stuck on where to come up with ideas or inspiration for their content.
I’m going to give you a quick little story about where this all shifted for me. It was probably two years ago. I started doing a daily email to my subscriber list. I did this after having watched Ben Settle do this for an entire year, then I became a customer of his Email Players monthly newsletter subscription. For a while, I called it my ‘almost daily email’, but that was fine with me, even at a few days a week it was so much more than I was doing prior to implementing this.
If you’re thinking about subscribing to Ben Settle, I’m going to tell you he might offend some of you, but if you can get past the language or phrases he uses and pay attention, you’ll learn a ton. Simply watch what he does, how he structures his email, his headlines, the way he weaves the story to a call to action. It’s a simple text-based email (text-based emails have a higher deliverability rate), with a story and call to action. The call to action was usually for his Email Players paid newsletter, once in a while it would be for his podcast, another one of his products, or on the rare occasion, an offer to a friend’s product. I made the decision to try this and thought, “okay. I’m going to commit to doing this for a year.”
So I did. I implemented my own daily email. I would take the most mundane stories from my life and twist them into one call-to-action. This totally takes practice, so don’t assume you just sit down and it’s going to happen. What I can tell you is that if you focus on the process (the mastery of getting better), you’re going to enjoy doing it.
All content takes practice. I’m kind of on a mission to get people into that mindset.
Here’s a great example of turning a mundane event into an email.
One morning my son was coming up the stairs, carrying a plate of food, and the next thing I know he drops his breakfast, and I asked him “are you okay?” because I heard this loud crash. (I should tell you also that during this time I was literally sitting at my computer, staring at my email editor wondering where to start with that day’s daily email, then I heard the crash).
I hopped up to see if everything was O.K., and he said “I knew I was going to do that. I was saying to myself, ‘don’t drop your breakfast, don’t drop your breakfast.” At that moment I immediately thought “God, how many times do we do that to ourselves in business? How many times do we set ourselves up for failure?”
We think “I’m gonna make this offer and no one’s going to buy it” or “God, I’m afraid no one’s going to show up to my webinar, or what if nobody reads this or nobody shares this”…
…we do this mind “F” on ourselves, right? We totally set ourselves up for failure instead of looking at it as, “I’m going to do this regardless of what happens.”
You do it because of who you become in the process. Every time you hit that publish button, you’re instilling credibility and a sense of trust within yourself. Eventually, you’ll stop saying “regardless of the results” at a certain point, but the bottom line is “I’m going to do this. I’m going to share this and I’m going to learn something from it.”
Back to coming up with ideas.
I have this little notebook, “Everything is Content”, where I jot down notes and ideas when they come to me. It may be while I’m working, listening to an audio, or even watching T.V. Once you realize that there are literally ideas everywhere, you’ll start seeing inspiration in the most random places.
Here’s the other thing… you also want to pay attention to what other people are doing in this space.
- What resonates with you?
- What made you click through to a particular piece of content?
Start writing down headlines that draw you in.
This content isn’t drawn from keywords or SEO. While SEO is always going to be super important and have a relevant place in your content strategy (for lack of a better word) when you start telling stories and having conversations you’re going to find that there is content everywhere. The first place I would look for inspiration in my content is exactly where I’m at right now (in my business).
Here’s another example. I recently had a conversation with a woman in my Content Creators Facebook group and we were talking about her content. I’m looking at her site and it’s beautiful. She creates websites for clients, does graphic design, and has social templates available for creating sharing images. The first thing I thought when looking through her site is that every single client project should be a piece of content. She has an amazing portfolio of beautiful work.
Tell the story of the project.
- What the client wanted
- How you started the project (design process, creative brief, etc.)
- What the site looked like before
- How the client found you (referral? content?)
- The end goal of the project (new leads? selling products or services?)
Start thinking about the things you do in your business on a day-to-day basis.
Another example is me doing videos like the one in this post.
I have a list of questions from people about content creation challenges. I knew before I hit the record button that answering these questions on video would also make great written content. I had a short bullet list of what needed to be done and jumped in.
I raised my desk (I have a Varidesk… and I highly recommend standing anytime you record audio or video. I know my energy level is much higher when I’m standing). I turned the lights on, pulled up my bullet list on the monitor, and dove right in to record the video.
I knew I would create additional pieces of content from the one video (and trust me, after shooting 10 of these videos I’ve already learned a ton. For Example: slow down. haha… )
If you’re not familiar with the author and podcaster, James Altucher, check him out. He writes down 10 new ideas every day. He says it doesn’t even matter what the ideas are for. Are you a digital marketer? Your ideas don’t have to be relative to your business. They could be 10 new types of water bottles you’d invent. 10 New styles of socks, or hoodies, or names for an energy drink. It’s not about whether or not you’ll do anything with the ideas. It’s about building that muscle (just like exercise, right? You don’t have to intend to compete in the Crossfit games to enjoy the benefits and value of a CrossFit workout).
If you don’t want to come up with 10 ideas a day, that’s O.K. Find out what works for you. Just do something every day where you’re practicing finding ideas and creating content.