Content Creation On Tap: How To Keep Your Ideas Flowing
When you keep content ideas flowing, it gives you such a lift. You don’t need bolts of inspiration.
Once you accept there are no new groundbreaking ideas out there, it gives you a marker to start from. What matters is your perspective and approach to sharing what is relevant to you and the people who are interested in what you have to say.
No one needs to reinvent the wheel, but what we do need is your unique perspective, your stamp, your experience and your voice. This is what makes you different from everyone else clambering for attention.
Let me share with you what it takes to never run out of content ideas.
Proof For You
I have been committed to You Are The Media since October 2013. I have delivered one main theme, or article each week.
Let me show you what I do to mine ideas. Ten years later, still plenty of ideas and places to explore.
The heartbeat of it all lies in discovering a process and embracing an idea framework. What makes a huge difference is when you understand your audience. That’s when the magic starts to happen.
When it comes to how I work it has followed the same pattern for years. I read, I listen and I join in with what’s around me and I document where I am on the journey. I jot down ideas into an Evernote file (I have different files for reading, group work and content ideas). I’ll look at what others have said and look to create my own slant to it.
Why Do We Go Dry With Ideas?
Without a clear process, it’s easy to wander.
Even though I rarely run out of ideas, I’ve learned that pushing through without breaks is not your answer. Every summer and Christmas, I take a few weeks off to recharge, rather than rigidly sticking to a schedule because I’ve made a promise to myself to be ‘consistent.’ If you need to step back, that’s what you have to do.
Running out of ideas becomes more likely when:
Rhythm and discipline are absent. For example, YATM subscribers know they are going to receive an email every Thursday. I’ve always managed to stick to that. I like this quote from Tina Fey, when describing Saturday Night Live, ‘The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.’
You’re unsure of your target audience. In the beginning, you might create content based on your own interests and the role you play in the marketplace. As your audience grows, you start to notice patterns and invite their valuable feedback, struggles, and moments of inspiration.
Lack of specificity. It’s easy to fall into the trap of regurgitating what’s already out there, creating pieces that lack emotion or impact. Instead, don’t be afraid to go beyond the basics – there are plenty of places that cover those already.
Overwhelm starts to kick in. This is when you start to think that all eyes are on you. The promise you make to others, and the work that is surrounding you beyond creation starts to accentuate a mental block, making it difficult to generate original ideas.
Fear of failure and our insecurities. Too often we are presented with stories of success, huge audience growth and a massive return for the work put in. In reality, it can be a slow process. If you spend your time chasing numbers and subscribers, over your creative spark and ingenuity, you live up to your own expectations and pressure, only to be disappointed.
Sticking to your comfort zone. This is when you stick to what you and your industry has said for years. What starts to happen is that you tow the line with everyone else. When I started writing, I could see I was covering the same ground as many marketers, where the industry became the cul de sac. Sticking to well-worn industry topics can limit the generation of innovative ideas.
Here is how to never run out of ideas
Here is what I work to and have learned over the years. This is about finding the seeds of inspiration, no matter your industry.
It doesn’t work when you create with blinkers on. This is when the angle is 100% opinion from you.
One of the best places to gauge ideas is from your audience. You don’t need to wait for thousands of subscribers, focus on the people who are already with you. They can be the source of paths to take and people to listen to. As you grow, you’ll start to see patterns and understand their struggles, dreams, and lightbulb moments. Create with them in mind and also recognise what would have helped you a year ago. You are your audience.
For instance, this article, you are reading now, takes a steer from a poll from a couple of weeks ago when I asked the type of content that people enjoy from me.
This is about immersing yourself in what you are doing and what you are reading, watching or listening to. You then filter it through your own expertise and mold the ideas into work that resonates with your audience.
More importantly, this is not about following trends or popular topics. You don’t need to tell people about Threads. Instead, share your understanding through your unique role and expertise, filtering what you take onboard and adding your own perspective and thoughts.
From my perspective, my own experiences help me progress ideas and to push my work further than ever before. The new YATM Lunch Club events that we deliver have an element of play to them that is learned from the importance of bringing people together over the years. Staying open to the world around me does pay off.
Participating and being open to experiences can be a valuable source of new ideas.
By actively engaging and involving yourself in various activities, you gain insights that can fuel your progress. We launched the YATM Club as a way to understand the dynamic of a private membership space at the end of 2022 and we trialed it for six months. It was new to me, just as much as it was to those who joined in.
Take the opportunity to participate and learn from others, which can spark fresh ideas and enrich your work. Joining in and being an active participant means you are involved with everyone else. This helps spark more ideas when you are a co-collaborator with others. There’s nothing like real-life inspiration.
Don’t forget about your past creations and never overlook the gems you may have created while looking for new horizons.
Your best ideas deserve a comeback. Too often we are looking for something new, why not extend? Reimagine and refine existing content, you can sculpt your work into something even better.
For me, as YATM has developed one of the themes I have come back to is how a community can progress and what it means to feel a part of something.
As you apply your current knowledge and experience to what you have produced previously, you’ll find that your writing today shines brighter than ever before. Revising and expanding on previous content can lead to breakthroughs without starting from scratch. I know that your best ideas are worth refining.
I like this quote Rick Rubin in the 2023 book, The Creative Act when it comes to ideas and inspiration and to think of your work as clouds, “Clouds never truly disappear. They change form. They turn into rain and become part of the ocean and then evaporate and return to being clouds. It’s the circulation of energetic ideas. What makes them appear new is that they’re combining differently each time they come back. No two clouds are the same.” The work you do is always moving, but can come back to an original place.
To keep your spark ignited and not run out of ideas comes from a place of showing up, doing the work and staying connected with your audience. It shouldn’t feel forced and being tough on yourself. Over time, you position yourself to build the right audience.
Capturing and noting down ideas, whether in Notes or Evernote, fuels your creativity. It’s all about establishing a routine that aligns with your audience’s interests and needs.
With practice, you’ll develop a natural ability to generate and interpret ideas. Embrace the idea engine, and you’ll never find yourself at a loss for what comes next in your creation journey.