I recently suffered from extreme writers block. I write for the ion blog almost daily and I really love it. I have ideas always swirling in my head, topics I want to cover, tips I want to share, stats I stumbled upon that made me think… but creating content takes a lot of time and finding inspiration can be a struggle. Late last week, I found myself in that position - lost and feeling uninspired.
I stared at the clock in the top right corner of my computer screen, watching my deadline inch closer and closer; I wasn’t going to make it. I was going to have to dig deep into my brain and pull out an excuse.
“My dog ate it” or “I suddenly came down with a cold” was not going to suffice and disappearing from the office and turning off Slack was probably going to have a horrible outcome too, so I had to face this writer's block head on, like an adult.
We all feel uninspired at some point. I reminded myself that even the most talented writers and artists out there are inevitably in need of a creativity boost. So, fueled by caffeine and panic, I set out to find inspiration for my next article. Inspiration comes in all shapes - movies, music, art, a walk around your own neighborhood, or (in my case) a piece of your very own content.
So to give you some backstory, I recently worked on a relaunch project with our marketing team. A few years ago we created an infographic that included 75 content marketing stats that we found impactful. The infographic was successful, consistently shared on social media organically and engaged with even though we were not sharing it with our audience regularly. The content was dated and so, we set out to update the stats, redesign it with a new modern look, and return it to the world. This was a fun project and the content within the infographic was valuable enough to write about… there it was! My inspiration, my solution to writer’s block.
How to Determine if An Experience is Worth Repurposing
I talk a lot about the power of repurposing content. If you and I have ever been on a call together you know that I want you to get more life out of your content, you know that I am a huge supporter of taking a large piece of content and using it as a springboard into multiple content pieces rather than a singular piece of content. To me, that sounds like such a waste of money, resources, and time.
A few months ago, we spent some time looking at which of our content pieces were receiving the most traffic on social media and we kept coming back to the 75 Stats Infographic and to be honest, we were surprised. We had not shared the infographic in a while, not on social or email or anywhere else. Sure, it is on our site but it was not on our homepage or even sprinkled throughout the site - it exists in our resource library. But, there it was, on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, being shared by our followers and their network.
The content was great but it was dated, so we took a look around the web and decided that it was a good time to take the infographic and get it back into the market with a new look and new stats.
Tips that can help you determine if your existing content has potential to be repurposed:
- Is the content dated but easily updated?
- Is your audience and their network engaging with the content?
- If they are, how often are you sharing it? If they aren’t, would they if you shared it?
- How long would it take you to update the content? Is that time available?
But, What if the Only Content you Have (for lack of a better term) Sucks?
We have all created content that we are not proud of… whether it’s an article that we wrote or a marketing email we sent out and immediately regretted, we all know that feeling but we created that content for a reason, so let’s look to it for inspiration. The infographic didn’t suck, in fact, it kinda rocks so it was easy for me to find inspiration in it… but what if it didn’t? Well, that would inspire me too! When I come across boring content I try to look at it from another angle and try to answer a few questions:
- What story is this content trying to tell? Is it educational or was it supposed to be fun but fell flat?
- Why do I think this content is subpar? Is it the topic? Is it hard to read or understand?
- What sections of this content could be reimagined to be more interesting?
- Could the content be broken up into something more scannable?
I believe that even the most dull content can be interesting if its reimagined and updated with a few best practices. Interactive content does a great job with taking traditionally boring content (white papers that are heavily technical, for example) and making them more engaging.
Updating a Dated Experience - From Tried and True to New
We knew that our audience enjoyed the infographic in its current state so there were concerns about whether or not it made sense to update the experience and send it back out into the world, hoping to continue increasing our reach. We were happy to see that right after we launched our updated version, the shares continued. We let some of the user’s who had recently shared it know that there was an update and they gladly sent it back out to their network.
We created a gated PDF of the experience that users can access after completing a form. I am now keeping it on my desktop and show it to our customers during content strategy calls as a way to get them to think about their own static assets and the opportunity to repurpse them.
I started this blog post unsure of what to write about and I am glad to say that it was my own content that gave me inspiration. I hope this post helped you see ways that you can take your own content and make it into something new - a blog post, a white paper, an infographic - sometimes your inspiration exists in your own work, which is pretty awesome if you think about it.