Content creation isn’t a monolithic process. While every brand has different needs when it comes to content creation, you don’t always have to take inspiration from what your peers and competitors are doing. While data-driven content strategy tells you which topics and segments you should prioritize for engaging your target audience, the actual creation process isn’t always necessarily rote. There are tons of unlikely places you might not have considered to get inspiration for content writing! It’s like growing a garden, in which you just have to see what’s going to bloom and produce unexpected verdant growth, while other ideas won’t get further than seedlings. Here are some unlikely places you might not have thought of to find content to write that gets attention and results.
Look to History
Content marketing isn’t a totally shiny new concept, even if it’s been used more in the past decade than it did in marketing departments in decades prior. It’s actually been around since the 1700s with “Poor Richard’s Almanack.” Jell-O was actually on the brink of bankruptcy until their recipe books wound up gaining popularity and continue to horrify onlookers well into the Twitter age. (Shrimp aspic mold, anyone? Sure to be a hit at holiday parties!) The old days didn’t have the challenges and advantages we have with content marketing today; they just focused on making something new and/or useful. Look at those old magazines, journals and picture books and think about how you’d apply similar framework to a project you’re working on now.
Cute Animals Never Fail You
When in doubt, cute animals are always a way to go. A funny comment on a cute animal picture can end up going viral, but think less about the result and about why people found it funny. Think about your favorite animal that you could write all day about. Find some way to apply their cute behaviors or perhaps facts about them into the topic you’re writing about. Being very into toads, it’s a safe bet most people aren’t as knowledgeable in toad behaviors as I am, so I treat it as injecting a random toad fact into a topic or perhaps using a picture to illustrate a concept. Curiosity leads to clicks and shares!
Browse Google Reviews of the Weirdest Places
You might have some hidden gems hiding in Google Maps near you. People leave reviews of locations you wouldn’t expect them to leave reviews for, everything from waste treatment plants to historical attractions: It’s not just for businesses trying to get more visibility and important places for communities. There are reviews that just leave a star rating; some are just a couple words; then once in a while you get these epic tales in the reviews that tell an unintentionally hilarious story that inspires you and can be easily applied to what you’re writing.
Packaging design might change over the years, but what makes candy stand out from most other types of comestibles is that it’s something meant to be enjoyed in the moment. It’s got brighter colors than most other packaging and a distinctive look, even if the bar inside doesn’t look that different from other candy bars. Do those colors evoke some feeling or memory? Why is it so eye-catching and attention-grabbing? There’s totally a story or tactic hidden in there even if you’re not that into chocolate.
People-Watching at a Mall, Train Station or Other High-Traffic Place
People-watching is great for creative writing like essays, fiction, game narratives and so on, but it can also be put to work in content writing. Watching a scene unfold as people come and go from trains or have awkward Tinder meetups at your local mall can definitely inspire a story your brand can tell. You never know what problems you’ll observe that you realize you’re positioned to solve or the various intricacies of human nature that come up during these seemingly mundane activities.
There’s no shortage of totally unexpected places to get content writing inspiration from. Reading between the lines and making observations are how we become better writers.
Rachel P is a 4-star content strategist (Strategist Account #541) available to help you with keyword maps, customer journey maps, and buyer personas in addition to writing for you! She’s also an indie game developer, writer, and consultant. If you would to like to hire Rachel to devise a content strategy for you, please contact your account manager or send a direct message.