How to find content inspiration when you’re out of ideas.

  • Do you ever get stuck for inspiration for PR content? You may think that other people have lots of ideas and create content daily, while you look blankly at your screen hoping for just one spark of genius.

    Sometimes, we just need to jolt our imaginations. Or as a well-known author, Jack London once said “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

    Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the creative juices flowing; to seek out some great ideas for content that help you promote yourself and your business.

    Get to know your business… and your customers

    It’s important that your PR style helps you meet your customers’ needs. Firstly, you need to learn about yourself and your business and tie in your content plan to your purpose.

    You’ll hear people talking about “adding value”. But what does this really mean? Eric Almquist et al propose four categories for what customers value in a value pyramid – functional, emotional, life-changing and social impact. With these in mind, try asking yourself:

    • What do you want people to know or feel about your business?
    • What questions do you get asked?
    • Do you have any news to share, such as a new product or service or award?
    • What evidence do you have that your business is needed (i.e. statistics) and that you are making a difference (i.e. testimonials, case studies and reviews)?
    • Are you making a positive social impact – however small that may be?

    Make it personal

    81% of consumers stay that brand trust is a deciding factor in making a purchase. So, building trust with your customers through PR content is vital. You should be authentic – honest, relatable, have integrity and of course, add value with interesting content. Connect to your desired customer base by appealing to your shared deeper values.

    Think about your (and your business’) values. Here are some ways to get started with finding your stories, and anecdotes from your business and personal life.

    • Think of moments that make you smile when you share them. Perhaps your greatest achievement.
    • Don’t be afraid of sharing your worst moments or lessons learned.
    • Talk about moments that changed you – a phone call, a letter, a time when you said yes when maybe you should have said no…
    • Share about a time when you didn’t think something was going to work out and how you overcame this.
    • Tell funny stories. Everyone loves to laugh and you can turn even the most mundane topic into an amusing anecdote. What about ‘the amount of settings on a washing machine’, or ‘the meaning of tog ratings on duvets’?
    • Think of adventures you have had, places you have visited, people you have met – what surprised you?

    Play detective

    You can find a story in almost anything. For me, I always find inspiration in the everyday conversations I have. They just spark a small idea that I can build on.

    I recommend talking to people that you may not speak to usually. If you are comfortable, start a conversation in a coffee shop, a supermarket checkout queue, in the airport (now that we can travel again), or have a cup of tea with your elderly neighbour. Really listen to their story, ask questions, and let them inspire your own story.

    If you aren’t quite ready to start talking to new people, then listen to other people’s stories on podcasts. I love The Moth podcast and of course, The Business Diaries Podcast!

    Research, research, research

    While developing your PR and content style, take a look at what other people are doing – those in your sector, those you admire, and even those you don’t.  Which ones do you like to read? Chances are that your audience will also like these.

    Analyse their posts and content. Ask yourself, what is it about their posts that you do and don’t like:

    • Do they ask questions to encourage engagement, if so, how do that frame them?
    • Do they share stories?
    • What length are their posts?
    • How often do they post?
    • Do they use visuals?
    • What signposting do they do and where do they put the links?
    • How often do they share content that is promotional?

    Get online!

    It’s the 21st century, and the internet has lots of resources to help you with almost anything. You can find writing prompt generators to give you story ideas that you can develop into your own content. There are plenty out there, but a couple that I like are:

    Squibler
    Plot Generator

    My other top tips

    Set aside blocks of time to plan and develop ideas. I share more about this in Unleash your creativity. Why blocking out time leads to a brilliant brainstorm.

    Always fact check what you publish. Google has a really handy fact-checker tool where you can find results from the web about a topic or person.

    Always have to be prepared to capture your ideas. Creativity is a mischievous beast – showing up at its best when you least expect. So Always. Be. Prepared.

    • Carry notebooks – I have loads, in all sorts of places – in my bag, on my bedside table, in the sitting room (for capturing ideas from TV programmes)…
    • Keep sticky notes on the fridge
    • Put a waterproof whiteboard in the shower
    • Download Evernote: I use this when I have my phone to hand, and also to save articles I have seen and thought useful for research
    • Consider using a project management system to capture and organise ideas, such as Trello or Asana.

    The main point is to make it easy for you to capture that flash of inspiration. I have been known to interrupt conversations, pause the TV and frequently wake and make notes in the aforementioned notebook at 5 am! Do whatever works for you.

    And finally…

    As a final little leg up to get you started, here are some introduction ideas for posts

    • I remember a time when…
    • This reminds me of when I met…
    • This resonates with me because…
    • Something I never thought I could do…
    • With the benefit of hindsight, I would have…

    If you are in need of support to position you or your organisation as a thought leader or authority, book a call and we can discuss developing a communications and content strategy so you can communicate your big ideas with clarity and consistency.

Resources

Nine DIY PR Top Tips for Small Business Owners: Learn how you can achieve successful results from doing your own public relations

Find out more

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