Nineteenth Century designer William Morris was inspired by the world around him – the great outdoors, the green British countryside, and the wildlife. American artist Andy Warhol was inspired by celebrities, sex, fashion and rock & roll. I’m inspired by my funny and charming little boy, my family, friends and creative business people like you.
But how do you come up with ideas for your blog or Facebook page? How do you decide what to tweet to your followers? What inspires your creativity?
Being endlessly witty and knowledgeable isn’t easy (trust me, I’ve tried), so here are some ideas you can use on those dark mornings; you know, those days when you can’t decide what to wear, let alone what to tweet.
1. Go behind-the-scenes
The other day I had the opportunity for a tour of a large book manufacturer, here in Cornwall, England. It was amazing to see it in action. There were stacks of unread books at different stages of production, and newly printed hardbacks coming off the press, complete with their colourful shiny sleeves.
This behind-the-scenes insight was thrilling – the staff on the production line seemed a little perplexed by my enthusiasm, but I love books, and for me it was brilliant to see how they’re made (don’t judge me – I don’t get out much).
What are you working on at the moment? Where do you create your designs? Take a picture or a short video and share with your audience online – you’ll be surprised how interested they are in your boring old work space.
2. Write a review
The web thrives on opinions – what we think of the latest film releases, the newest anti-ageing product, the level of customer service received from an international retailer.
And if you’re anything like most of us, you listen to your friends’ recommendations.
Have you ever written your own review? If you come across an amazing product that you think your readers would benefit from, tell them about it. And if you’ve spent money or time on something that you’re less than impressed with, share that too.
3. What a pretty picture
Some of the most read and linked-to articles on the web are visual – landscape photos, collections of quirky kitchenware, clever PR photos, contemporary interior designs, new products within a marketplace.
These are almost as enjoyable to write as they are to read – know your audience, and give them some eye-candy to break up their day.
4. Our research shows…
What did you say last time someone tried to stop you in the street with a clipboard to ask you some questions about your energy bills? You probably said “Go away”.
But polls are surprisingly popular on Facebook – vote on what colour to paint our shop, vote on whether you’d like 10% off or a free gift, vote on your favourite holiday.
“We’re working on a tasty new menu and need your input – which would you prefer to see on offer in our restaurants this Autumn? Fruit pie and custard or berry compote with cream? Vote for your favourite now.”
Facebook is great for asking your audience what they think, as it’s very easy to set-up. But you can also do it on your blog, inviting readers to leave their votes in the comments.
5. Be inspired by other people
This doesn’t mean checking out other people’s blog posts and copying them – it means regularly reading outside your own industry. This will help you understand what makes a good article – what keeps you interested? What do you like reading about?
Follow some popular tweeters (Paul Warner from When I was a Kid, social media marketer Chris Brogan). Join the conversation on some of the best Facebook pages (Starbucks, Burt’s Bees, Yo Sushi). And you’ll soon get to understand what works well on social networks.
What about you?
I’m just off to make the most of the unexpectedly warm English weather, to see if I can get inspired to begin the next chapter of my latest business ebook… if that doesn’t work, I’ll try a cup of coffee. That normally does the trick.
So now I’m putting the spotlight on you, the fantastic OMHG readers. What inspires your creativity? How do you come up with an endless list of content to share on your social media pages? Share in the comments below.