How to get past creative blocks
Whether or not you think of yourself as creative person, all jobs required creative thinking. And especially as marketers we produce a lot of content, for ourselves and our clients. However, it can be difficult to continue to produce high-quality content when we don’t feel creative or inspired.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to get over (or prevent) creative blocks.
Take a break
Remember your brain is a muscle and needs rest time. During our break time out brains continue to process ideas. Therefore, breaks can boost our creativity and give us new ideas.
One of the most effective ways to get over a creative break is to take a break outside. The University of Michigan found that walking outside (preferably in nature) improved attention spans and memory performance over 20%! They found that walking outside, no matter the temperature, had the same mental effects as meditation.
Don’t force it
Our brains don’t have an endless well of content ideas. And we can’t force ourselves to be creative. It’s okay to just walk away. One way to keep to refilling the well is to just do something else. Change your scenery, have conversations, read books or articles, watch a movie or show. Diversity of other creative inputs will refill your own creativity.
Inspiration can be found anywhere but it’s easier to find it when you are being active. Take opportunities to use other parts of your brain and senses! It could even be a monotonous task that you normally don’t enjoy, but the switch up will help get the juices flowing.
Focus on the process, not on the results.
Making content isn’t just about the result. There are many steps along the way. Finding joy in all the steps can make it easier to stay motivated.
Befriend your inner critic
There will be bumps in the road. It impossible to make perfect content, the first time, every time. Taking risks will help sharpen your skills and build your confidence. Don’t afraid to befriend your inner critic. Not letting yourself fail or telling yourself that you aren’t able to succeed both result in failure. It ok! Your inner critic and any failure is how you learn and grow. The fast you acknowledge your critic and failure, the faster you’ll be able to get past the block and make something you are proud of. It’s all part of the process!
“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”Paula Scher
Listen to yourself
Although it may feel like it, creative blocks don’t just appear out of nowhere. Often, a lack of creativity comes from not taking care of your physical or mental health. It’s difficult to feel motivated and inspired if you’re exhausted.
So, check in on yourself. Are you getting enough sleep? When was the last time you drank water? It’s easy to want to power through and get things done but that mentality will come back to bite you later.
Audit your task list
Sometimes a task can seem so big and overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to start and we just don’t. It can paralyze your creativity. The easiest solution is to organize and prioritize your tasks. Cut the task into smaller chunks if you need to.
Ways to divide tasks
There are many different methods to prioritizing and organizing your daily tasks. The “Eat the Frog” method (named after the famous Mark Twain quote) encourages you to take care of the big or complex tasks first thing in the morning. This way you are productive right out the gate and don’t have a big task hanging over your head all day. Once you’ve eaten the frog you can move to other things.
Another popular method is David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method. The first step in this method is write everything you need to get done down. Once you have an overview it’s easy to see what tasks are important. Writing it all down and putting it one place frees up brain power and lets you focus on getting the stuff done.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”Van Gogh
Writing down your targets for the next day before you finish for the night or as you think of it, helps you feel on top of the day as soon as it starts. Spending a few minutes to plan out tomorrow’s tasks is way easier than spending the first part of your day scrambling to remember what was a priority to get done that day. This will also help your work life balance because you don’t have to keep thinking about all you have tomorrow.
Another aspect of auditing task is looking at how you view the task. Are you procrastinating the task because you don’t really want to do it? It’s easy to add time to situations if want to avoid the task. However, tasks don’t usually take care of themselves. (wouldn’t that be nice?) procrastinating the task will just make it worse. And often, when we finally do something, we’ve been procrastinating, we find it wasn’t that difficult in the first place!
What is your go-to way to get past creative blocks?
7 Ways To Make More Engaging Content
Content creation is an integral part of marketing or running a business in general now. However, a lot of companies struggle with creating content that generates engagement. Part of the value of content creation is that engagement and the conversation between brand and consumer. What can you do to create engaging content for your brand?
Here’s 7 things we have found to be essential in making quality content!
Know Your Audience
The content you create for one audience can be very different from another. Understanding the WHO is helpful first step.
It can also be helpful if you think of your audience as a single composite person. Instead of trying to talk to all of them, you are instead making content for one person. A lot of companies do this by making a buyer persona. That way you can think, “Would my buyer persona like this?” vs. “Would all my followers enjoy this content?”
Make a Plan
There is nothing more overwhelming than trying to maintain consistent content posting across multiple channels without a plan. It can feel like juggling snakes. 🐍 Making a plan can be as simple as figuring out what types of content you want to post and when it would be best to time to post it. The more specific your plan is the more you time you take out of the equation.
Part of making a plan is planning out your message and/or your angle. Now that you know who your audience is, think about what type of content would work best for them. Knowing what you want to talk about can make it easier to figure out what types of content would be best. Would your audience benefit from long form blog articles or would a TikTok series be more helpful? Both of those types of content take a lot of effort, so planning it out ahead of time is valuable!
Find Shared Passions
The sheer amount of product, companies, and information available is staggering. It is not enough anymore to have a good product available anymore, your brand ideals and personality need to match with the personality of your consumers. 56% of Gen Z consumers say that having shared passions and perspectives is a major factor when it comes to their engagement with a brand. However, most consumers are fantastic at sniffing out inauthenticity. Your brand personality and ideals need to actually be what you say they are. Actions speak louder than words!
What are the advantages of having a well-defined brand personality and ideals? Giving your company a personality makes things like content creation a lot easier. Knowing who you are also can help you make decisions about the direction you want to go in the future.
And 49% of young consumers say they will evangelize a brand they feel represents their values, likes, and personality.
Don’t be afraid of incorporating causes you care about into your brands personality! 72% of consumers want the brands they care about to be positive contributors to society. We’ve seen in recent years that many brands (especially smaller companies) connect their core brand to a charity or cause they care about. Younger consumers are 69% more likely to buy from a brand that contributes to a cause.
Keep It Simple
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. No matter who your audience is, needlessly complicated language or content structure isn’t appreciated. Simple and honest is always good. Remember, why you are making the content. Is it to promote you or your brand? Then tone of the content should match your voice. People can see right through any inauthenticity if you are trying to make something that isn’t you.
It’s easier to connect with a brand online if you feel like you are talking to a real person. Does the content you are making sound personal?
Remember the Big Picture
Why do you want to make this content? Keep the big picture of your content in mind as well as each individual piece. Are you trying to promote a specific product or service? Don’t be afraid to include a call to action in your content! A call to action is how to accomplish the goal of your content. It’s the follow through.
A good call to action is simple and concise. It uses strong verbiage. Give your audience a good reason to take the desired action. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Take a Step Back
When it comes to content, it’s often valuable to take a step back and from your project and let it rest for a bit. The longer you work on a piece of content the easier it is to be become blind to mistakes, errors, and typos. You may be surprised by the power of fresh eyes!
An old copy writer trick is to proofread backwards. Instead of starting at the beginning of your content: start at the end. Because your brain is following a different path through the information, it sees things in a different way. Starting at the end allows you to look at it sentence by sentence instead of word by word or thought by thought. Knowing your content is edited well will help you feel more confident in posting it.
Another aspect of taking a step back from your content is revisiting old content. Repurposing or adapting finished content is an excellent way to stay inspired and make more content. There are always new things that can be added. Adding information keeps your messages up to date. Up-to-date content is more accurate and provides for value to your followers. Another reason to recycle content is that it gives more people an opportunity to see it. And even if someone has been following you for a long time there’s a good chance that they didn’t see the content the first time around.
Keep Consuming Content
This is my favorite part. 😜 One of the best ways to keep your own content sharp is to consume other content. It can inspire you, help you stay up to date with current trends, and keep your skill sharp. Most ideas don’t start in our heads, the spark is external. All of the creative juices it takes to create content can easily be burnt out if you don’t feed it with creative thing that you care about. Change your scenery, have conversations, read books or articles, watch a movie or show. Diversity of other creative inputs will refill your own creativity!