Producing content for your email, social media and other content marketing efforts can be a lonely job. The process of cranking out the word count required for our campaigns often means removing yourself from the general hubbub of the office environment and finding a quiet corner to get creative. But be warned, too much of a good thing can actually damage your creative flow.
Isolation might help you find the headspace to craft your message, but you won’t find much inspiration in an empty room.
This is why I’m a great believer in getting out there as often as possible and meeting the people that inspire my work — my clients — to find out what makes them tick and, conversely, what keeps them awake at night.
If I can spend some quality time with my clients in their own work environment, learn a little bit about the challenges they face in their daily business lives, and perhaps talk through some new ideas or brainstorm solutions to a problem or two, I’ll not only help them build a better business, but I’ll also develop a source of inspiration for my future content marketing efforts.
Remember: If you can solve a problem for one customer, there is a good chance another 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, etc., etc. potential clients (depending on the size of the niche you serve) will have the same problem. Demonstrate how to solve that single problem, and suddenly you have a very useful and therefore attractive business solution.
The Consequences of Creative Isolation
I see the consequences of marketing efforts built in isolation every day. These include:
- Generic Copy: Copy that’s rewritten from freely available online content (often taken directly from a competitor’s blog or — worse — poorly informed sources) rarely adds value to the conversation and has little value other than perhaps driving a little SEO traffic. This paper-thin content is more concerned with keywords and search phrases than solving real-world problems and, as such, will do little to help you build real-world relationships.
- Going Off-Piste: Completely irrelevant and therefore useless content won’t help your client solve a problem, so why would they want to read it? One of the golden rules of content marketing is if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t say it.
- Being Too Clever: Too many marketers write completely impenetrable copy that fails to engage their target audience. Their content is stuffed with industry buzzwords and jargon that risks confusing and/or boring potential readers. I always try to remember that while my customers are experts in many fields, it’s my job to make email, social media and content marketing as accessible as possible to them.
- Blank Pages: If you’ve ever suffered from writer’s block, you’ll know that it takes twice as long to produce a blank page than a short, insightful, useful article based on real-world experience. It doesn’t matter how good a content producer you are, if you cannot find the inspiration, nothing will seem good enough to publish. Simply sitting in a quiet room, staring at a blank screen and trying to force content will not work (and if it does, it will probably fall into one of the three categories above).
Nothing can survive in a vacuum. So get out there and ask the right questions to the right people, and you’ll be writing relevant content that helps your prospects and clients solve problems and make the right decisions in no time.
Where do you go for marketing inspiration? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.