That 5K you ran. The amazing cake that you’re about to dive into. An adorable picture of your kid with spaghetti all over her face. You post awesome content to your personal social accounts all the time, so managing your brand’s page should be a cake walk, right?
Unfortunately, this is not how it works.
The good news is that with the right resources, testing, measurement and brand knowledge, it can become (at least somewhat) intuitive. But where do you begin?
Here are 6 sources of inspiration to help you create interesting, engaging and brand-relevant content for your brand’s social channels.
Social Networks: The best source of inspiration is the very network on which you are posting. Follow brands that are doing things right, and don’t limit yourself to your own industry. The idea isn’t to copy a great post, but to be inspired by it and put your own brand’s spin on it. As Barbara Grizzuti Harrison said: “There are no original ideas. There are only original people.”
Your Own Office: There are only 24 hours in a day and we all need about 35. I get it. Because we are so time-crunched and focused on productivity, it’s easy to lock ourselves at our desks and check boxes on task lists. However, I have found that when you relax and physically walk around (WITHOUT thinking about all the work you have to do), you’ll step right into great content ideas and actually increase your productivity. Take a stroll around your office and pretend you’re a customer. Everyday things to you are actually quite interesting—the outside of the office looking beautiful after the first snowfall, the testing you perform on product or even the silly mustache your co-worker drew on her finger that could be turned brand-relevant with a cute madeup word like namastache if you’re Lululemon.
News & Events: It’s important to follow news and events in order to create timely and relevant content. You may never share an article about the recent record-high Powerball prize. However, if you’re Lee Jeans, you could create a fun denim dollar sign and ask your fans what they would do with $550,000. Timely news that is naturally stirring up conversation on social networks are great to plug into when done right.
Holiday Calendar: Every day is a holiday. Really. You shouldn’t post about all of them, but out of 365 days in the year, there have to be at least a handful that your brand can celebrate. The Ultimate Holiday Site from the Hallmark Channel is a great source that shows every holiday you never knew existed. They even have an iPhone app you can download so you’ll never miss Elephant Appreciation Day again!
Pinterest: You could include this with No. 1 on this list, but I use it so much that it gets its own category. Pinterest has a powerful page that many don’t know about: the Popular tab. I love this tab because it doesn’t categorize pins—it just shows the most popular pins on Pinterest right now. This is a wonderful source because you can start to identify trends and see what types of content people are currently drawn to. Inspired by one? Pin it to a board (you can now create secret boards that only you can see) so you will have a whole sandbox of awesome ideas to play in. Yay for productivity!
Everywhere!: Inspiration is everywhere. Keep an open mind wherever you go, because you never know when a great content idea will fall into your lap. Evernote is my savior. I have it synced on my work computer, personal computer, iPad and iPhone so whenever a great idea finds its way to me (as well as some that seem like a good idea but end up not-so), I capture it by adding it to my notebook. You never know, you could be vacationing on a beach wearing your Timberland’s and WHAMMY, a killer photo opp is right at your feet.
Your perfect list of sources of inspiration may vary depending on the brand(s) you are managing. Whatever your perfect list looks like, I recommend keeping it handy, because even the greatest writers need some creative ammunition. When you’re not feeling so inventive and your mind feels like a 404 page, you will have a safe place to turn for help.
Where do you find content inspiration?