You’ve probably asked yourself how can we develop creative content ideas that will set our content apart?

What can we possibly do to grab the readers’ attention and gain engagement through the end of the piece?

To be competitive, you need to address essential and trending topics in an exciting way and answers that all-important question, “So what?”

We all work in different ways and generate creative content ideas through various processes.

Six ways to develop creative content ideas

Here we wanted to cover some of the more common conversation threads we have with our customers regarding content creation, especially for social media purposes.

How to develop creative content ideas

Brainstorming

One of our favourite starting points is the discovery/brainstorming session. Brainstorming is excellent at developing an initial thought. This helps moves from blank canvas towards an engaging piece of content quickly. 

Even in the digital world, we’re big fans of pen and paper. This was crucial in 2020 when creative teams all over the world had to collaborate virtually. No idea is a bad idea in a discovery session, so jot everything down ready to review.

It doesn’t hurt to get feedback from outside of the core stakeholders. 

Disney Pixar is known for this process when working on new films. They value the feedback of teams not directly involved in the project. 

Seeing things from an outsider’s perspective is crucial to avoid being consumed by your preconceived sentiments. 

Consider your ideal customer.

Before you develop a topic, it’s essential to think about your ideal customer avatar. 

The customers you’re writing for will have specific questions about a particular subject. 

Considering these queries ahead of time while aiming to answer them fully in the content can help you develop a creative approach that maps to these demands.

Asking specific questions can help get your creative motor running as you consider your audience. 

Think about things like:

  • Who is the content for? 
  • Where do they consume content?
  • What is the goal of the content?
  • What message do I want to deliver?

We recommend taking this a step further and considering what your ideal customer audience does in their free time. This is often a great way to help extend content further, adding greater appeal. 

Knowing and understanding your ideal customer avatar inside out can be a massive help in sparking creative content ideas.

Find a template that works for you.

The great thing with digital content is that you can test and measure the results easily. 

Doing this will help you find a formula, a certain layout for content or a template that works well for your audience, don’t shy away from reusing it.

If it’s social media content you want to measure, each platform has its own analytics built-in. However, if you are a LinkedIn user, we strongly recommend using Shield. The data below is a snapshot of what you can expect, and it will help you discover what works for you the best.

Shield App - LinkedIn Analytics

It’s essential in marketing to understand that it is absolutely fine to leverage and repurpose a creative idea more than once. 

If you have had success with a particular video style and length, use that template again. Our only advice here is not to become too repetitive and stick to one format all the time. 

Research your competition.

This is not about copying the competition. 

When performing competitive research, you shouldn’t just look to borrow ideas; you should look to develop them even more.

Improving the original can – and should – align with your businesses goals. The end result is content that appeals even more to your audience.

Everybody will approach competitor research differently, and to be honest, this is why digital is so appealing. The data is quite literally sitting online, ready to be analysed and broken down. 

The main aspects and core function of your competitor research should follow the outline below: 

  • What type of content are they using? Look out for what kind of content they are getting their best results. Different types of content work on different platforms, so make sure you look into key channels, including search, website, social and email.
  • What keywords do they rank for? Search engine optimisation should be a big consideration for content marketing, so make sure you research the topics, keywords and content your competitors are ranking for. 
  • Who is following who on social media? This is a great way to spark a content idea. If your competitor is followed by many people who mention similar topics in their bios, start producing content that covers that subject.

The beauty of digital is that, although time-consuming, it makes research very straightforward. Taking time to research, plan, and craft is what will take your content to the next level.

Document and store ideas

Content ideas tend to come to me when I’m not in work mode, often at the weekend or late at night. I use an app called notion.io to keep track of every idea that comes to me. 

I guarantee that an idea you noted down weeks ago and forgot about will be relevant at some stage.

Notion Quick Notes

Track of ideas, inspirations and thoughts like this is a great way to build up potential content ideas for the future.

Use an event calendar.

A superb way to develop creative content ideas is to keep an eye on public holidays, seasonal changes and annual events to plan around them. 

Creative content that will match your audience’s moods and interests is a great way to trigger engagement and conversation.

Thinking and planning ahead of time is not only a great way to trigger creative thinking, but it also helps you make sure the content is well-thought-out and carefully crafted ahead of time.

Pulling it all together

When you set out to create your next piece of creative content, the chances are that you will use more than one of the ideas we have talked about above. 

For example, you could run a discovery session with the sales team to create an article template to be reused at several key dates on your content calendar. 

It’s important to remember what works for one person or business will more than not likely work for another in the same way.

One creative idea can often transition into another, so let them flow naturally.