Do you ever wonder how people come up with new ideas to put out great content over and over again?
Whether it’s your favorite artist, musician, author, blogger, or thought leader sharing amazing content online, you think to yourself, “How do they do it?!
On the surface they seem like creative geniuses, but what if I told you that there’s a creative process they go through to come up with brilliant ideas?
I’m going to share their secrets for coming up with endless ideas so you can create great content online and never run out of ideas again (you heard that right!).
Quick tangent: One thing to note right off the bat is that anyone who’s ever had to sit down and create anything, at one point, has felt creatively stuck! As creatives, there’s a point where we can feel creatively tapped out or like our creative well is running dry.
Maybe right now you just don’t know what kind of content to create or feel like you have nothing new to say. Or maybe you feel like you’ve covered all the topics you can think of and fear you’ll run out of things to talk about.
I’ve been writing a weekly blog and newsletter pretty consistently for almost a decade so I’ve felt #allthefeels when it comes to feeling creatively stumped, uninspired, or the constant pressure of having to crank out good content.
After years of research and a lot of testing, I discovered a creative process that will help you tap into your creative genius and create amazing content on repeat—End of tangent.
But before I get into what you can do to come up with ideas, I want to first share how you need to think about creating content because it’s the most important part of channeling your creativity. Here are two mindset shifts you must make before you can open up the floodgates to your creativity.
Mindset Shift #1: You don’t have to be 100% original.
If you think you need to constantly come up with new ideas, this is probably the biggest thing preventing you from coming up with a bunch of ideas. Like with most things, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel! No matter what industry you’re in, it’s likely that what you want to say or do has already been done before.
When it comes to creating content, the goal isn’t to create something completely new but to improve or offer a different perspective, spin, or wisdom on what already exists.
You see this in the music industry all of the time! You hear a new song and realize, “Wait! I know this beat!” And if you pay attention, you’ll also see this play out in your favorite TV shows, food recipes, and even the latest fashion trends.
The world’s most creative people revisit the same topics, recycle the same ideas, and use the same themes over and over again. You see this often in the film industry, for example, Friday (1995), Next Friday (2000), Friday After Next (2002), and they were even going to make Last Friday (2013).
There’s an influence behind almost everything so instead of trying to be original, figure out how you can put your unique spin on it.
Mindset Shift #2: Everything you create won’t be a hit.
It’s the truth! Of course, we all want everything we put out to be monumental or to go viral, however, it won’t. Think about your favorite musician? Is every…single…song they’ve created a hit?…
And the same goes when it comes to content creation. We can trick ourselves into thinking that everything we create should be profound in some kind of way, but the moment you realize it won’t be you’ll free yourself from your perfectionist nature that’s preventing you from coming up with good content ideas.
Once you make these two mindset shifts, you’ll be in the right state of mind to unleash your creative genius.
Below are five strategies you can use to come up with endless content inspiration so you never run out of ideas again:
1. Get your hands on a magazine.
When I’m feeling creatively stuck and need some fresh ideas, the first thing I do is source magazines. I either grab an Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, or Oprah Magazine.
Well, because print publications spend millions of dollars on market research to learn what people are interested in. Everything from their headlines, subtitles, sales copy, articles, and storylines are influenced by what people want to see, read, hear, or learn.
It’s not only strategic to piggyback off that research to inspire your own content creation but it’ll also save you time! If you don’t have some magazines lying around the house, go pick up some for content inspiration. You’ll thank me later!
2. Ask your audience what they wanna hear about.
This is the best way to come up with content ideas–straight up ask people! I do this about every couple of months. We can’t forget that we’re creating content for people so it’s a good practice to occasionally ask, “What do you want to learn more about?”
You’ll see that when you ask, people will happily share exactly what they want from you! This gives you a lot of ideas that will get your creative gears turning. You also want to take note of what people ask you about often because that’s where you’ll find common struggles and frustrations.
The most important part of this strategy is to stay connected to your audience. If you do this one thing, you’ll never run out of content ideas!
3. Look around online.
There’s inspiration everywhere, you just have to look around. The easiest way to find content ideas is to check out other people’s content.
You can get content ideas inspired by real-world events happening in realtime. For example, it could be something on the front page of Yahoo!, a topic trending on Reddit, or the latest in pop culture. This is how you can easily keep your content fresh and relevant.
And even after just a few minutes of scoping out online forums, blogs, articles, songs, books, podcasts, or videos, you’ll have a bunch of content ideas–guaranteed!
4. Get out of your chair and get moving!
Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas come when you’re moving around? Well, it turns out that you’re not crazy! Scientific studies show that movement sparks creativity.
For me, my best ideas come when I’m either driving, walking, or showering (since I have my Aqua Notes, no more great ideas down the drain!). If you’re feeling creatively stuck, sometimes the worst thing you can do is stare at a blank screen, instead, create a change of pace.
Whether it’s dancing to your favorite song, walking your dog, or doing a bit of exercise, you’ll notice how your body’s response to endorphins will spark some good ideas.
5. Keep a running list of ideas in one place.
This is theee secret for never running out of ideas again! Many creators do this to not only keep track of their ideas but to source ideas when they need to spark creativity. I love using Evernote for this, but you can use whatever works for you!
I recommend that you make it a practice to spend an hour or so each month doing the above activities and then putting down all of your ideas into one master document.
That way, you’ll always have topics to choose from on those days you’re either feeling uninspired or need ideas on demand. With a running list, you’ll never run out of ideas because you’ll have a document ready for you to pick something from.
Then, when you randomly come across something that sparks an idea or if you have one that just pops into your head, you’ll have somewhere to put it.
The last thing I want to leave you with is don’t forget to have fun!
Yes, your business is on the line. Yes, there are real deadlines you have to meet but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the process.
Embrace your quirks.
And always be of service.
You are a creative genius.
Now go out there and unleash it!