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Need fresh blood?

Not the gory stuff oozing out of haunted houses.  I'm talking about the content ideas-kind of fresh blood. (A slightly spooky idiom I admit, but apropos for the season.)

So your client's decided to dive into content marketing for real. And you've methodically worked through multiple planning meetings to identify the high points: overarching company objectives, content marketing goals, specific strategies, and tools to measure successes.

Now it's time for content ideas. Sounds like fun, but this part of the planning process can quickly dissolve into a big fat puddle of pain. Because idea creation is hard. I know. Coming up with engaging stories can eat up a good part of a writer's day. And getting stuck goes with the territory. Here are some tips and tricks that I use to dislodge the block and get the old brain back in the game:

Tip:  Published studies show that physical activity actually enhances creativity. Slumped over a computer in a cubicle? Not so much. So if your idea mill is running on empty, go for a walk.

Tip:  As the sneaker gurus say, "Just do it."  In this case, it's more like, "Just write it."  Seriously, just start to write whatever comes to mind.  I call this exercise "getting the top layer off." It doesn't matter what the words are. Write them down and get them out of your head. Once that layer of gook is gone, you may discover some real nuggets of brilliance just below the surface.

Tip:  Listen to your inner voice.  If a thought keeps cropping up post-gook removal, your gut's trying to tell you something. There's a seed of an idea there, so go with it.

Tip:  Don't discount the obvious. First of all, there are darned-few brand new ideas in this world of ours.  And what you think may be common knowledge may actually be a pretty novel and helpful notion for others. Remember, you're the industry expert, not your audience.  It's okay to revisit "old" ideas.  They just need to be repurposed in a fresh way. Which may call for a brief walk. I'll see you out on the trail!

Cindy Ritter is a freelance writer for marketing and corporate communications.