It happens to the best of us: We stare at the blinking cursor on the screen and the words just don’t come. We struggle with inspiration for illustrating a product or brand. The creative slump is real—but there are ways to overcome it.
Content Marketing Institute’s Ann Gynn compiled a brainstorm of ideas for breaking out of the creative slump, submitted by marketing professionals. Here’s a summary of my favorites:
Use toys. Grab blocks (Lego, Duplo or wooden) and label them with words that relate to your brand: attributes, content themes, personas, customer challenges, etc. Color code the blocks and then start building and looking at various combinations—the idea is to get away from linear thinking an uncover new creative connections.
Dig into your content archives. Search through old blogs, social media posts or case studies: identify topics that can be expanded, updated or adapted. Consider adding video or creating a new infographic to refresh content.
Get out. Change your outlook: Head to a new coffee shop, grab your laptop and work from the conference room. Take a walk or visit a museum during your lunch break. A change of scenery can offer a fresh perspective and stimulate the brain.
Look at someone else. Bring in fresh eyes: Offer a brief overview of your company, your challenge/task, and any helpful details. Then let them go. Don’t shut them down or tell them why an idea wouldn’t work. Write everything down, explore ideas that resonate with you, and let their enthusiasm re-energize you. Keep that list and reference it whenever you get in a slump.
Mix it up. Switch up the format of your content. If you’ve been doing a lot of storytelling content, try an informative article instead. Changing it up with different channels can help inspire new ideas…working on a video or writing an email campaign instead of a blog post can inspire new ideas.
Take a side job. Find a side project at work. Someone on your team can always use help with a project that’s been put on the back burner or an impending issue. Tackling a different problem than your typical work project shifts your everyday perspective and can be re-energizing.
Talk it out. Whether you interview clients, vendors, or staff members, real conversations are an easy way to energize a lackluster campaign. Interviews often reveal new topic ideas, a different point of view, and, if you keep the interview format, even a new voice.
Create a list. Make a list of something unrelated to what you’re working on. This is a great way to keep your brain engaged, while taking time away from the task at hand. The list can be anything, from your 20 favorite music albums to items you need from the grocery store. Compiling the list actively stimulates your brain.
The next time you need to get the creative juices flowing, try one of these ideas. Are there any you’d add to the list? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.