By: Trent Howard

3 Tips for Developing New Content When You’ve Hit a Creative Wall

October 11, 2017 8 minutes

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Working in the digital marketing world, we have all had those moments where we hit a creative wall. You want to create innovative and engaging content, but you’ve been pumping out infographics, blog posts, and all other types of content for the same product for months, and you’ve finally hit your breaking point. Sound familiar? If you haven’t had this happen to you, let me know your secret, but for everyone else I have put together three tips to help get you out of your creative rut and reinvigorate your content marketing campaigns.

Disclaimer, these tips aren’t the end of the line when it comes to creating content. Rather they are a starting point to get the creative juices flowing while producing new angles for different projects you’ve been working on. For the content to be successful, be sure to put in the proper amount of time into the creation of the content strategy after you have developed the initial ideas.

So what are the best ways to create great content that approaches your product or company’s message from a new perspective? Here are a few tips to kickstart your thought process the next time you have a content brainstorming session.

Leverage Existing Holidays

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When it comes to digital marketing, pulling out your calendar and planning content around holidays may not seem like a groundbreaking discovery. Yet, this simple strategy is often overlooked, which leads to fun and engaging content ideas sitting in the attic of your mind. These ideas could be lighting up the digital world like the blinding Christmas lights on the Griswold home illuminate an entire neighborhood in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

When brainstorming holiday content ideas, take the time to analyze your audience and determine which holidays would resonate the loudest. Ask yourself questions about your audience. Which holidays are most celebrated in your country? Are there any holidays your product has a strong connection to? Are there any holidays that should be avoided?

Once you have decided on a few holidays, let your imagination go wild. The holidays allow for a more playful and creative voice to be conveyed without seeming gimmicky. They can also allow you to show more of a human touch and tap into the essence of your company to show your audience what you really stand for.

Invent a New Holiday

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Who says that you can only plan around the holidays that already exist? There is a rising trend of “National Days” which are days that have been identified on a national level to celebrate something unique. These days range from something as trivial as Talk Like a Pirate Day to far more serious themes such as World Suicide Prevention Day. Many of these national days weren’t voted on by congress but rather came to be due to the marketing efforts of someone just like you. Seth Godin weighed in on the trend and presented his own equation as to how to create a new holiday:

“Find an emotion that needs social approval in order to be easily expressed. Hook it into something you sell or do. Discover other organizations that would benefit from the holiday as much as you would. Voila!”

A great example of this process is American Express, which created Small Business Saturday back in 2010. American Express followed Seth’s equation and found an emotion that needed social approval: supporting small, local businesses. Next they hooked it into their company: another way for people to use American Express credit cards. Finally they discovered other organizations that would benefit from the holiday: small businesses around the country that could use some limelight for their bootstrapping and business tenacity. What was the result? The holiday received an extreme amount of positive feedback and is still celebrated to this day, which provides American Express with a vast amount of content opportunities every year.

So what holiday could you create? What existing national day could you build content around? Who knows, in five years we may all be celebrating the holiday you came up with after reading this article. If you want some quick inspiration, check out this list to see all the national days throughout the year.

Take Advantage of Your Competitors’ 404s

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Sometimes the best ideas aren’t always your own. Before you think I’m encouraging you to go hijack someone else’s content, allow me to clarify. I am in no way condoning plagiarism. I am however encouraging research into what your competitors have neglected to fix and taking advantage of their mistakes. By doing a simple crawl of your competitors’ sites, you can get all the information you need to create content that can be cashed in for some quick backlinks. I’ll walk you through an example of how to do this.

Say that I am in the cat food industry and one of my competitors is a company called Cat Food Cuisine. Use a web spider tool, like Screaming Frog, to crawl Cat Food Cuisine’s site and pull up a list of all their 404s. Once you have this list of 404s, start putting the URL’s into Ahrefs.com (or another SEO backlink profiling tool of your choice) to see if any of the pages have a decent amount of backlinks. When you find one that does you have hit the SEO jackpot! This URL will be the premise for your next piece of content. Simply create a piece of content that is based off of the 404s URL title and reach out to all the sites linking to the broken page. Use a templated email that in essence says, “I was looking over your site and noticed a link that is broken on X page. As a kind, concerned friend, I am reaching out to not only inform you about this broken link, but to provide you with an alternate link to a wonderful piece of content that covers that same topic.” Just like that, you have a great, relevant, and needed piece of content that is being backlinked to and driving domain authority to your page.

In a glance here is a quick breakdown of that process:

  1. Crawl competitor’s site
  2. Compile list of 404s
  3. Run 404s through a backlink profiler and find a 404 with a large amount of backlinks
  4. Create an original piece of content based on URL title of the 404 page
  5. Reach out to the sites that backlinked your competitor’s 404 page letting them know about the dead link and provide a link to your new content piece for them to use instead
  6. Give yourself a high-five

If a competitor’s URL doesn’t have many backlinks or 404s, move on to a new competitor and repeat the process.

All three of these tips will help you break down the creative wall that comes when consistently creating content. I recommend taking time each week to go through these tips and any other brainstorming techniques you already use to continually build up a reservoir of content ideas to pull from. By doing so you will not only set yourself up for success but also position yourself to create quality, evergreen content that will continually pull traffic to your site.

Written by Trent Howard on October 11, 2017

Trent is an Enterprise Marketer at 97th Floor, developing SEO strategy to increase traffic, conversions and user engagement for enterprise-level clients.

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