I'll Admit it: I've Got Nothing
have talked about content, so I realize the irony in admitting that, from time to time, I struggle for ideas. It's not easy to come up with new subjects every day-week-month-quarter or however often you communicate with your audience. We don't want to be redundant, and we don't want to just put any old thing out there (that is wasting the reader's time), so what to do?
Steal Ideas from Others
Or as we like to call it, "curating". Curating is when you share or comment on content that others have written, and as long as you give the author/company credit, it's perfectly legitimate!
Of course, you can't use other's content ALL the time, you need to mix it up (and the percentage of original content should far outweigh curated content). So where can you go when you're out of ideas? Of course, you can always Google subjects, but when you've exhausted that, try these:
- Twitter: my personal favorite. There is always some provocative or outrageous twitter war going on somewhere on which you might want to comment. You can search by subject (use a hashtag or not), so you may find articles to share here, or just idea starters for yourself. Even if you don't want to tweet, it's worth setting up a twitter account just to use the search engine.
- Google Alerts: If you write about a particular subjects consistently, you can set up Google Alerts to see articles written on the topic.
- StumbleUpon: You choose areas of interest, and then StumbleUpon takes you on a ride. This site is heavily weighted to the arts, and it's easy to spend lots of hours in this black hole, so be forewarned.
- YouTube: Most of the content here will also show up in a Google search (they own YouTube, you know), and YouTube is now the 2nd most-used search engine (behind: you guessed it!).
It's important to remember these sites when you're
your content as well! Just as you are looking there for ideas, so are others.
Get More Creative in General
(Duh. Why didn't you think of that?) Actually I'm not kidding. You can teach yourself to be more creative. Here's how:
Ask 3 questions about your subject/situation: Why? What if? Why not?
Play. Keep a box of Tinker toys (look it up if you're not a Baby Boomer...) or building blocks and get physical. Take a break and build something.
Draw. Did you get a coloring book a couple of years ago when they were popular? Keep a coloring book and crayons or markers nearby and don't worry about staying inside the lines!
Be someone else. Come at your problem or situation with a different mindset. What would Elvis do? What would Steve Jobs do? What would Mother Teresa do?
Read. There are books about improving creativity. One of my favorites is Josh Linkner's Disciplined Dreaming. Check it out.
Whatever you do, don't just stare at the walls when you're out of ideas. Get out of your office: try one of the tactics above or just take a walk. Before you know it, an idea will pop into your head (even if it's writing about being out of ideas...!).