Friendly Advice
Dec 11, 2020

6 Unexpected Places to Find Content Inspiration

Katie Sabel

When you work in a creative field, it can be hard to keep the engine running. After all, your day-to-day depends on you being able to think in new and exciting ways. Maybe you’ve been tasked with coming up with a brand new concept, or maybe reimagining an old concept in a brand-new way. But, there lies the issue- you just can’t think of anything!

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Creativity is not an easy job. It’s mentally demanding to have to come up with new ideas every day. Especially with content creation, this process can often feel frustrating or like you’re starting from scratch. Sometimes it feels like everything’s already been written about! 

The process is made even harder by our inner critics. Somehow, whatever small semblance of an idea that we’ve got is never good enough, or won’t be popular enough.  Because of that mental toll, it can be hard to produce content frequently. In a job that relies so heavily on your brain, what are you supposed to do when your brain just won’t work?

Well, when writers’ block hits, we find it’s helpful to refocus. Don’t be afraid to step away from that blank page and look elsewhere! Here are six unexpected places where you can find content inspiration.

Expand on a Classic

A like button is highlighted on a laptop keyboard
If you’re not sure where to turn, take a look at what worked before. It was popular for a reason- let your audience guide you on where to go next!

When looking towards the future, it’s really helpful to take a closer look at what was successful in the past. Is there a certain type of content you’ve written that always does well? Is there a type of content that you always love to write?

If you’re scrapped for ideas, it’s not a bad idea to play the hits! You could take one of your old popular topics and write about it in a new way. 

Take an article about a film, for instance. You loved writing it, and your audience loved it, too. Do it again! This time, you could use that old subject as inspiration for a new one. Maybe the film was made by a popular director- you could take a look at their other films, and make content off of that! Or, you could also take a look at a related movie in the same genre. 

The point is, old content can help you build bridges to new content. Let your past successes lead the way to new content inspiration!

Get Specific 

A magnifying glass lets us see beautiful wildflowers up close
If you’re not sure where to start on your next piece, why not look at your old ones for inspiration? You can always expand on something you touched on earlier, and get even more specific with it. 

When it comes to content, it can be easy to focus on the big picture. Big concepts reach more people, right? Well, not necessarily.

When it comes to content creation, and especially content marketing, there are often shared niches between the members of an audience. Maybe in one piece, you touched on a specific DIY method, for example. Well, chances are, a lot of people want to know more about that very DIY method! Going back to old pieces and finding niches to explore further can be a great source of content inspiration.

Or, if you haven’t touched on a niche before, you could find a new one! For this trick, you’ll want to look at your old pieces broadly. If you’ve been going the mainstream route with your topics, why not dig into subcommunities or subcategories? You could compare and contrast this new discovery with your old take, and bam! Your writers’ block is gone.

Stay Current

Stacks of newspapers are tied up with string and serve as great content inspiration
If you feel like you’re out of things to talk about, try letting current events talk for you. What happened recently that you’d like to explore further?

Maybe your creative well has run dry, but that doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck. In the age of the internet, there is always a lot going on, and a lot to talk about. 

For content inspiration, you could try turning to social media. What’s the newest thing that everything is talking about? Is there anything that happened recently that you want to weigh in on? By looking at pop culture, you’ll be able to find brand new things to write about that’ll interest your audience as well. Plus, finding out about what everyone wants to know is now made even easier by websites that track search engine trends.

Or, if trending topics aren’t your thing, you could also try the news. What new discoveries have been made in science? What’s going on in the world of politics? By looking to the news for inspiration, you can connect your own content to world events. You never know- something new might come up that’s relevant to your audience!

Ask Around

A content creator interacts with their audience to gain great content inspiration
If you’re not sure what your audience would like or wants to know, ask them! Polling the room can help you find new and exciting things to post about.

When you’re writing content for an audience, there are a lot of assumptions made about what people will or won’t find interesting. We’re constantly doing research on our audiences, but we’re very rarely in close conversation with them. Well, if you’re out of content ideas, why not try the direct approach?

If you want to know what your audience is interested in, one of the best ways to find out is to interact with them. For example, you might set up an email where people can ask questions, or add a comments section to your content.

Or, if you already have comments, why not give them a read? You never know- maybe your audience's questions are something you can make an article out of, or maybe they even have content ideas of their own! If you try prompting them for input at the end of an article, you may just be pleasantly surprised by what they have to say.

Go Out and Explore

Content creators walk around a large city to gain a new perspective and gather new content inspiration
If you’re stuck in a creative rut, chances are you’re stuck in a physical rut, too. Stretching your legs and becoming present in a new location can give your creative brain the time and inspiration that it needs.

An old adage is that when you’re stuck creatively, you should take a walk around the block. Well, when was the last time you took a walk and really took in a new place? Were you really taking in the area, or was your mind elsewhere?

If you’re stuck creatively, a great way to find new content inspiration is to go somewhere and observe. This works best when you go to somewhere you’ve never been to before. Really roam the area- go into every store, read every sign! Take your time in this new environment. 

By exploring somewhere new, you’ll be able to get out of your rut both creatively and physically. Walking is great to get the blood flowing, and observing is great for jogging your memory. Maybe you’ll see something new that reminds you of something you haven’t thought about in years. Or, maybe you’ll see something else unique or unusual that you’ll want to write about. 

Wherever you may go, keep your eyes peeled. Be optimistic that you’ll find something new and really allow yourself to wander. Oh, and don’t forget to write your ideas down, no matter how small! That way, if genius strikes later on, you’ll be able to remember what your original thought on the matter was.

...and More!

A content creator sits in the grass and journals after gaining new content inspiration
There are even more ways to get content inspiration than just these six. For example, if nothing’s coming to you on a keyboard, why not switch to writing by hand? It might help you get some new ideas out! Once the ideas start coming, you can always switch back to digital.

While these six ideas are great places to start, they’re definitely just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of other writing techniques that you could try in order to become re-inspired. Why not try freewriting, or a fun writing prompt? Getting your creativity flowing mechanically may be able to help you think of new content ideas as well.

Plus, great readers make great writers. Dig into your writing community. What are other content writers posting about? What projects are other creative friends currently working on? Talking about your writing process with people in your same industry can help inspire you to try new techniques, or even just to stick with it.

When in doubt, though, it’s helpful to take a step away from the problem, especially if it’s stressing you out. Allow yourself to take a break. Whether your form of stress relief is working out, or doing crafts, or spending time with friends, getting yourself out of a “stuck” headspace is going to be beneficial for your content in the long run. 

So, if you’re out of ideas, don’t stress too much. You’ve made great content before, and you’re sure to think of great content again.