7 cost-effective ways to improve your content.

When you sit down to write your next piece of content – whether it be a script for a television commercial, a blog, or Facebook post – chances are there will be a moment where you think to yourself: “is this good enough?” or “how can this be better?” We’ve all been there. If you’re a consummate perfectionist, then you will probably never be satisfied with what you’ve created.

Every poem probably has sixty drafts behind it

– MARY KARR

So, how do you break out of the funk?

I’ve put down some of my favourite ways to help conjure up a creative spark, as well as ensure that once that spark has been lit, it resonates with your audience.

1) COPY WHAT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE

I’m not endorsing plagiarism – but sometimes, if an idea works for someone else, it can work for you too. Some of the world’s biggest brands even do it, like the Dallas Cowboys.

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They loved Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Reading Bad Tweets” so much, they decided to do it themselves. The result was that they had the most viewed piece of content in their storied history.

Even the masters learn by emulating others.

2) GET PHYSICAL

Working out releases certain chemicals in the brain that give your body more energy. Exercising is often a cerebral activity that allows your brain to get excited and release chemicals that help you be more creative. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details, but let’s just say that the more you move, the better chance your content moves your target audience!

3) STOP TRYING

Often one of the best ways to get an ‘aha!’ is to stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Relax, and spend time doing other stuff. You never know what will spark a new thought or idea when you relax and let your subconscious do the heavy lifting. Sometimes, it’s when you take your eyes off the ball, that things really come into focus.

4) CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT

At times, it can be hard to create great content because we’re stuck in the same mold. Have you ever had a day when you felt completely ‘meh’ sitting in your same old office trying to be creative? Well, the same neurology is at play as when you travel to a new region or place that you’ve never been before and you seemingly notice everything: the sights, the smells, the sounds. Changing your environment encourages you to look at things in a new way – which is a great idea if you’re looking for a creative spark.

5) FOCUS ON STORYTELLING

Your business or organization has a story to tell, and how you tell that story can determine the impact it makes on your audience. No one wants to read a boring book or watch a boring ad. Think of unique ways that you can tell your story, and use this acronym to SUCCEED.

S – Simplify – Don’t waste people’s time, get to the point!

U – Unexpected – What doesn’t your audience know about your product or organization that’s interesting and might catch their attention?

C – Concrete – Use real case studies or examples. Metaphors can be a great tool for storytelling, but whenever possible, use real examples or case studies.

C – Credible – Use examples and facts that you can back up, and help prove your point. Don’t quote a number if you don’t have the data to back it up.

E – Emotional – Don’t be afraid to get emotional with your storytelling; we’re emotional beings and getting excited, fearful, sad, or happy are all ways that can help get your story to resonate on a deeper level. Just as Budweiser did below.

E – Evoke – Push boundaries, give an opinion, and play on strong memories.

D – Differentiate – Be fresh, be different. Your product or service is unique, and so are your experiences. Play on that to provide a unique experience and differentiate yourself.

Here is an example of how Budwiser tells a story:

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6) BRAINSTORM

If you have the opportunity to work with other people, get them together and brainstorm. Start with ‘green hat’ thinking – a process that says every idea is a good one. This will allow all members present to feel like they have a voice and it will usually draw out some of the more fringe ideas that can really get the ball rolling. There are lots of ways to brainstorm, give them all a try and see which ones give you the best results.

7) A/B TEST YOUR CONTENT

A lot of tools now let you A/B test your ads/content. You can create two nearly identical ads with slight, specific variations and test them to see which ad performs better with your target audience. It’s a great way to learn what type of content resonates with them, saving you time in the end.

Always in beta.

Those are just a few tips for you to try out, to see what works best for you. I would encourage you to never cease in trying to improve your content, and to be aware of what activities spark new ideas and thoughts.
Let me know what kind of success you find, and of course, if you discover a new way to summon that creative spark. And of course, with the holidays approaching, may I recommend you spend some time focusing on number three?

We love creating memorable pieces of content, so if you’re looking for some help with that next big idea, don’t hesitate to get a hold of us, or download this free workbook.

Tell us what you think.