Do you think of yourself as creative? Or do you sometimes struggle to come up with “cool” (or even just “interesting”) blog post ideas?
For a long time, I didn’t consider myself a creative person–at ALL. I wasn’t an artistic kid. Heck, I still draw stick people. My clients often get charts and diagrams I know make them giggle.
Creativity isn’t something some people have and others don’t. It’s in all of us but it takes some exercise and bravery to let it out.
So how do you make it happen? Forcing creativity doesn’t exactly work too well… a few smart exercises can work beautifully though.
And today I’ve got a super cool guest post to share with you from Tea Silvestre of The Word Chef (someone who I think’s got creativity super powers!).
Guest post by Tea Silvestre
Let’s face it, creating great blog content — especially the kind that stands out from the rest of those links flying by on Twitter — takes a whole lot more than just sheer determination.
It takes sweet, sweet creativity.
But inspiration can be elusive. It usually show up when we least expect it (and when we’re least likely to be able write things down). Like when we’re driving. Or while we’re in the shower.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t purposely cultivate your creativity muscle. You can.
You just need a little practice.
The best way to practice? Find a starting point.
Twenty some odd years ago, when I was learning how to write short stories, I had a mentor tell me that inspiration usually comes from something we love.
He shared that he often used themes or characters from other writers he admired as the jumping off point for his own writing. As inspiration for something else.
I know what you’re thinking… “But isn’t that copyright infringement?”
That depends. Are you copying it verbatim? Or are you using a piece of it as inspiration for something else? Your jumping off point needs to function as a metaphor. (And in case you have any doubts, be sure you familiarize yourself with copyright laws and the idea of Fair Use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use).
5 ways to creatively jump start your next blog post idea:
1. Interview a famous person — preferably someone fictional or no longer in the land of living. This does two things: it helps keep your reader from being confused about whether or not you’re joking (hint: these kind of things should be funny, not serious). AND it helps you have more fun with the content. What would Julia Child say about your new book? What would Tinker Bell tell us about your business? Step inside their shoes and talk from their point of view. If they’re dead, you might have to hold a seance, but hey — that could add to the fun of the whole thing, right?
2. Be random. Open a book and put your finger on the page without looking. Turn on the TV and flip to a random channel. Use a Random Word Generator (http://creativitygames.net/random-word-generator). Have a friend or family member pick a word, phrase or idea for you. Then? Noodle these around until you’ve got metaphors that tell your story or explain your topic.
3. Debate the other side. If you’re like most people, you notice after awhile that most folks blog about the same things — give the same advice. Listen to what others are saying and then turn it around. Ask questions like, “What the opposite of this were true?” You might find that you agree with that opposing viewpoint and can then stand behind it 100%. But if not? Then perhaps you’ve found a new way to approach the topic: by stating the opposite and then refuting that.
4. Make it a game. Gamification and games have been popular for awhile now. Is there an existing game that you could use as a metaphor for telling your story? Hint: Go beyond the sports analogies and choose something different like Chess, marbles, pinball, or Frogger. Your readers are aiming to win at a “game” of some sort, so mix those two together and see what emerges.
5. Use a particular genre to tell your story – Are you a sci fi nut? A fan of CSI type stories? Maybe you love the Food Network? Whatever channel or genre you’re most drawn to can be a great source of inspiration for your own series of blog posts. I’ve written more than a few blog posts based on television dramas like Doctor Who (http://thewordchef.com/2013/03/doctor-whos-favorite-marketing-dish-fish-fingers-and-custard/), and Downton Abbey (http://thewordchef.com/2012/02/the-downton-abbey-guide-to-building-a-passionate-tribe/). Even the reality show, “Chopped” helped me talk about branding in a new way (http://thewordchef.com/2012/04/on-rattlesnakes-marketing-and-building-a-business/).
Finding a creative way to tell the story of your business, brand or product doesn’t have to be something you leave up to agency super stars. There’s a whole wide world out there just waiting for you to use it as inspiration for next big idea.
What about you? How do you jump start things when you’re not feeling creative?
About the author: As a marketing coach and consultant, Tea Silvestre (aka The Word Chef) excels at helping her clients find and share their Secret Sauce with the world.
She’s also the the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd,” and the producer of the new reality web series/competition, “Creamed! Ultimate Marketing Content Showdown.” If you think you’ve got what it takes to compete, be sure to throw your hat into the ring before June 15th!
Quick Note from Michelle: Be sure to check out Creamed! I’m excited to be part of the team judging entries and would love to “see” you on the show. Jump in and join us: Creamed! Ultimate Marketing Content Showdown