Controlling Your Creativity for Higher Quality Content
Creativity is the Achilles’ heel of content producers; it is what makes them tick and at the same time, is the one thing seemingly out of their control. After all, some days you feel like writing, and other days you don’t, but users want to see something new every time they visit. Thankfully, there are a couple of techniques to help you improve your creativity and produce high quality content without interruption.
It may surprise you that the easiest way to improve creativity and content creation is to plan1. Once a month when you are well rested, sit and consider all possible topics you want to cover over the next thirty days. Naturally, most news will come unexpectedly, but apart from that, most things are predictable. Plans and schedules can give you the confidence and concentration needed to tap into your creative processes, and will help justify breaks. Furthermore, this planning process will ensure that your content can be easily browsed, and might even improve the internal linking of the whole website. Finally, with a good list of content, you can engage and prepare your audience for maximum user satisfaction.
Creativity depends heavily on inspiration in order to turn ideas into reality. Scientists say that research is one of the best inspirational techniques out there2. When writers hit their writing block, looking at other content and reading about current topics relevant to their own can help them create unique and exciting articles, even when they thought they had run dry. Humans tend to notice patterns and connections in data, so the research can inspire or at least nudge them in the right direction. Furthermore, this research can give compelling evidence to back up any future article. Also, the research will paint a clear picture of the information already available so that the writer covers new and exciting frontiers.
Challenging conventional wisdom and assumptions is pretty straightforward, but will surely attract attention. Consider advice or beliefs that are ingrained into society’s consciousness; for example, whether children should always be heavily dressed, that you shouldn’t eat ice cream during the winter, etc., and challenge their validity. Sometimes you could find something unexpected and disprove the idea, but more often, you’ll find interesting facts along the way3. However, always provide plenty of evidence, as people are hesitant to change something they have always believed in.
Another creativity tip is to examine the extremes of your niche. These can be marginal opinions, physical characteristics, or little known places, items, etc. It will be quite interesting for readers to read about such uncommon topics. You could compare normal conditions with the extraordinary ones, and try to determine how the second came to be. For example, the microscopic harp4 will be of interest both to music enthusiasts and to engineers. So by writing about these extremes, you can entertain two audiences at once.
With 17 million new users in just the first quarter of 20125, there is a huge market demand for summaries and content guides. These “newbies” do not have the time or desire to read through everything published so far, and would appreciate a concise description or content representation, such as an infographic, to get them up to pace with the rest of the world. These summaries need creativity to successfully aggregate everything published, but should also have a clear starting point: the existing articles and opinions on a topic. Visual, musical, and video representation will best convey all the information, and are most familiar to new users.
When your creativity fails you, relax, look around the Internet for inspiration and think about what topics might interest you and your audience.