How To Tap Into Your Creative Brain and Improve Your Marketing

One of the most common complaints we hear about blogs here at CEM is “I’m just not creative enough to keep up with it.” This is one of the most oft-cited reasons that people don’t tend to their business blogs. It’s true that coming up with content ideas each week can be tough. It’s also true that running a blog takes dedication and a willingness to put in the effort, week after week. However, I would argue that the idea that it takes a creative mind is a farce. Consider the following quote from George Bernard Shaw:

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.”

In other words, creativity is a process. It’s not a stagnant quality that people have or don’t have; it’s the result of thinking about what you want and making it come to fruition. Creativity is a neurological process; as a result, you can tap into it and improve it like you would language or reasoning. A survey from the Harvard Business Review found that people who consider themselves to be creative consistently deliver better business solutions than those who don’t.

Here’s how to tap into your creative brain and develop ideas that keep your blog active.

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Rule #1: Dismiss Your Muse

The first trap that people fall into when coming up with content ideas is that they think they need a creative inspiration to guide them. Thoreau would tell you to sit by a pond, and Hemingway would tell you to run with the bulls. Inspiration, they would lecture, comes from experiencing the world around you.

Content writing, on the other hand, is much more practical than that. You already have an end goal, and it’s to provide readers with valuable information that encourages conversion. To that end, I would argue that you already have a muse: it’s called market research.

Now, take that George Bernard Shaw quote and put in a customer context:

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what your customers desire, you will what your customers imagine, and at last, you create what you will.”

If you’re stuck for content ideas, the best way to come up with them is by asking your audience – the people who will ultimately shape your brand strategy. Good content ideas:

  • Address your target customer’s pain points. If you’re a plumber or a roofer, for example, you’re a wealth of information that people want to know. What questions do you entertain the most often from your clientele? Can you provide simple DIY tips that help people solve their most common plumbing problems? Do people’s roofing needs change seasonally? Thinking about your customer provides a great jumping off point for content ideas – no muse required.
  • Provide relevant, actionable information. Ideally, your content will include some how-to guides or give customers information they can act upon. If you’re strapped for ideas, try looking at Quora or other industry-specific forums to see what your target customers are asking about, and how you can help.

When it comes to creativity, it’s as much about preparation as it is production. For the purposes of your blog, research is the only muse you need.

Rule #2: Do It

The root of creativity is create, and that involves doing. There’s a saying in the marketing world, “if you don’t create, you stagnate.” This might involve some conscious scheduling on your part. People find it easiest to tap into their creative side when:

  • They know they’re at their best. We all have times when we’re most productive. For me, those occur between 6am and noon. If you know you work best in the morning or in the wee hours of the night, schedule some brainstorming or blogging time within that period.
  • They view procrastination as the enemy. A book by Steven Pressfield, called “The War of Art: Break Through Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles” turns procrastination into an evil that you must fight to resist. Do you have tabs open that don’t pertain to your current task? Close them. Focus on doing, and the content will come.

Rule #3: Collaborate

Lastly, collaboration will help you learn from others and guide your own marketing strategy. You can learn from your customers, but you can also learn from the other leaders in your field. Read other blogs, network with experts, or even start a content management brain storm session at your company. The more you talk it out and the more you read about it, the more ideas will come. Collaborating with and learning from other might be the last piece of the puzzle that gives your creative mind a boost.

Creativity is not a magical quality that artistic people have and logical people don’t. It’s a systemic process that involves thinking about an outcome, researching the best way to approach it, and creating at times you feel most productive. The process might look a little different for each person, but it’s always the result of good preparation and execution.

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Sarah Voigtman

Sarah is a native Michigander and mother of three. She spends her spare time searching for the perfect burger recipe and navigating the tumultuous waters of parenthood.

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