If you're reading this blog, it means you are likely somehow involved in, or are interested in, the art of content marketing. And, if you're anything like me (or the majority of any other content marketers on planet earth), you strive to learn more and more about the technique every day so you can become better at it. But what if practice doesn't make perfect? What if, just like Becky on your 6th grade soccer team, you're left in the dirt while some people are just born with a natural gift? A gift to make awesome, awe-inspiring, drool-worthy content.
I hate to break it to you, but it's true. There is a certain je ne sais quoi that simply can't be learned. Whether it be a quick wit or a creative outlook, some people are just born to be successful content creators. Now, don't quit your day job just yet. Just because some of us are not destined to be the Michael Phelps of content creation, it doesn't mean we can't utilize a few helpful tips to become better! The following are exercises you can do throughout your day that won't perfect your skills, but WILL help to sharpen them into some seriously dangerous marketing weapons.
- Make sure your brain gets a good workout. Creativity is similar to any other muscle in that if you don't exercise it, it will become weak. Try a side project of some sort, like painting, doodling, reading or stepping up to a problem that requires solving. Getting away from your desk will help broaden your horizons and keep the creative juices flowing.
- Make it rain everyday. And by rain, I mean pour. And by pour, I mean storm! Try to spend at least 30 minutes out of every day brainstorming content ideas. Collect these all into a spreadsheet or Google doc and keep them on hand for those literal rainy days when you're just not feeling it. You will also find that this time spent focusing on creating topics will continue to get easier and easier with practice.
- Remember to reward yourself. Have you ever felt like you're in a rut, just creating content piece after content piece with no real risk and therefore, no real reward? As creatives, we seek out approval and positive feedback—a reward if you will—for our efforts. After all, we really are laying it all out there when we write. In some cases, a standard, informative but run-of-the-mill piece of content is what the job calls for. Just make sure that you're still taking a couple of risks every once in a while too. That's where the real satisfaction comes from.
- Forget the rules. Some marketers swear by a structured approach to content creation. Research. 1st draft. edits. 2nd draft... and so on. But sometimes, the only way to effectively get those words from inside your head onto that paper is to just go for it. Of course it will be hideous at first, but letting loose and writing down exactly what you're feeling/thinking in that moment often creates the most authentic content. So grab a pencil (gasp) and actually try writing down the words you're thinking, or better yet, try drawing them or creating some sort of thought chart. That's how I wrote this blog!
- Look outside the box for inspiration. Sure, it's easy to follow thought leaders in the content marketing world and learn things from them, but have you every sought out inspiration in other unlikely spaces? Stop reading that umpteenth blog post and take a walk. Inspiration can be found anywhere. Art, animals, and the small, seemingly insignificant moments we all experience in our day to day lives are just a few of the things that inspire me.
There you have it, five easy things you can do everyday to make you better (not perfect) at this art of ours. They may not have had the legs of Usain Bolt or the swing of Kerri Walsh, but that sure as heck didn't stop the other hopeful Olympians from showing up. What you may lack in natural ability, you can make up for in hard work and your love of the content game.
30dps has been in the biz for over 25 years now and has loads of tips. If you'd like to hear more give us a shout! We would love to help you and your business grow.