Struggling to find great content consistently? This article shows how time blocking unleashes your creativity, leads to a brilliant brainstorming session and increases your productivity.
It’s good practice to publish a regular rhythm of content so you can build up trust and your reputation with your audience and they know how often to expect something from you.
That rhythm has to match what you are able to achieve – in terms of your time and also coming up with ideas for new content.
A full PR plan could include content for media relations, thought leadership, blogs, social media and speaking engagements. Ideas will come in fits and starts. It’s easy to have a whole host of ideas when you get started, but once you have ticked off those topics, how do you continue to come up with new content?
If you have that “what do I say today?” or “I have nothing to say” feeling, don’t worry, you are not alone. Finding ideas for new content is one of the top challenges identified by marketers in research by Hubspot.
So, if you do just one thing to help you generate lots of ideas for content and PR opportunities for many months and beyond, block out time in your diary and brainstorm with yourself.
What’s the benefit of setting aside blocks of time?
We are all so busy that the idea of taking 2-3 hours out to think only about content might seem like a hard task – but if you want to add value to your clients and customers and rise up those search engine rankings, then the time is worth it. McKinsey states that the 3 Cs of customer satisfaction are “consistency, consistency, and consistency.” So, you need to get your content plan right.
When you set aside time to think about your content, it gives you the space to be creative – to follow the natural leads and connections that spark new ideas. Having a regular timeslot each week or month means that you can get into a routine where you can be productive and unleash your inner creativity. When you feel inspired, your ideas and energy flow, and you will enjoy yourself.
Ideally, you will be building your forward plan for the next 6-12 months – so that means a lot of content and a lot of creative thinking needed.
Getting creative must work for you.
Choose the best time to suit your workflow and state of mind. Are you most creative on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon?
Once you have planned your creative time, you need to be mentally and physically prepared to capture your ‘gems’ when the ideas start flowing.
Make sure that you:
- Look forward to the time so that you are in a positive frame of mind.
- Look at your workspace, does it inspire you? I often make clearing my desk part of my intentional preparation – visualising that as I tidy up, I am making space for new ideas to enter.
- Find a space free of distractions. I prefer quiet spaces, but equally, I know people who prefer the hustle and bustle of a busy coffee shop to do their brainstorming.
- Have your laptop, plenty of paper or sticky notes to hand – whatever works for you. Personally, I grab my daughter’s A3 pad of paper!
- Just think of headings. This is very important. Remind yourself that this is a brainstorming session. You are just writing down ideas and prompts and you can turn these into newsletters, social media copy, blogs etc at a later stage.
- Write down your ideas as they flow. Don’t worry if nothing immediately jumps out. Start off by gently asking yourself some questions, such as what does my audience want to know? Why is what I do important? Why do I do what I do? And then keep asking yourself more questions.
What’s the result?
After your planning session, you should have lots of ideas captured. Not all of these will be relevant right now and some may not work at all. However, there will be some real treasures in there that you can get started on immediately. The rest can be added to your content or PR planner to develop later – all great for forward planning!
If are stuck and struggling to come up with relevant and creative topics, you can always bounce ideas off someone and have a brilliant brainstorm with others.
What to do next
Once you’ve generated your ideas, start to organise them into themes and types, and create content pillars. When working out what content you should prioritise, remember, Google likes ‘EAT’ content – expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Does your idea meet those criteria? And don’t forget to book another time blocking session in your diary.
Communicate with clarity
PR and content planning doesn’t always come naturally. If you want help creating a clearly defined PR plan with great content ideas…
I promise you will leave you feeling inspired, energised and brimming with ideas for content.
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