As an inbound marketer, I know two topics that go hand-in-hand: Content creation and inspiration. Trouble is, it's difficult to do the former right without the latter. So, when you work for a content creation machine like HubSpot, you have to work hard to find inspiration to produce high-quality content.
With 90% of marketing companies using content marketing these days, you have to be able to find inspiration to develop excellent content. After you’ve hit all your usual places to become inspired and realize it's just not gonna happen, don't panic. There are many places you can go to find what you need to generate thoughtful, five-star content.
Quora’s mission statement? “Share and grow the world’s knowledge.” Quora started out as a Q&A site, but has recently evolved to include blogs and reviews. It’s a great place to mull over content that’s already there, but you can also ask questions on the site as well. Someone is likely already talking about your industry or topic on Quora.
If you aren’t familiar with podcasts, they’re essentially radio or TV shows broadcast online that you can subscribe to, usually via an RSS feed. They tend to have awesome content and are readily available, so you can pick and choose a variety of great ones. Need a place to start? Check out iTunes Essentials Podcasts.
This site describes itself as a “human-powered discovery engine for interestingness.” You can search your topic on the site, but Brain Pickings really focuses on just about any and every topic, so just mulling it over might be inspiration enough.
Yes, as one inbound marketer to another, I’m telling you to go watch some TV for inspiration. Whether you have cable or use services like Hulu, there are plenty of shows that can really make you think. Spur your inspiration by always asking “Why?" when the plot thickens to your favorite drama.
In short, Upworthy is a social media news site that helps content go viral. The site promises “no empty calories,” so the content on there is worth checking out. The content is really an interesting mix of categories, so there’s sure to be something inspiring. Be warned: It’s easy to get lost in the goodness!
6) Comic Strips
Just because you’re looking to create meaningful content doesn’t mean you can’t have a laugh or two while doing so. In fact, a lot of comic strips today are commentary on present-day news and issues in the world, so maybe you’ll learn a little something while looking for inspiration. Here's a great place to find you old favorites and new comic strips to dig through.
7) Case Studies
You’re probably (and should be!) creating case studies at your own company, so why not check out other companies’ client stories too? A healthy mix of case studies from your direct competition and some general ones on your industry could make for some inspiring reading.
RSS feeds are the best way to get all the news you’d want to read on the internet in one place. I personally blend my feed with news on my industry with some personal blogs and websites I follow, and I scan them daily to think up some pretty good fodder for content.
Hey, you followed all those people and companies for a reason, right? But the trick to looking for inspiration here is to have that as a goal in mind when you scan. Marketers use their Twitter feeds for all different types of reasons, so having an “inspiration” mindset is important when heading to Twitter looking for some.
As “the front page of the internet,” reddit is an online community in which users vote on content they like, and it moves up the homepage as users vote. They have some pretty impressive content and user stats, so it won’t be hard to find some inspiration here. Fun fact: The site influences another socially powered content site named ...
If you’ve never been on BuzzFeed, you’re definitely missing out. It tends to have less serious content than other sites, but there’s something for everyone here. And that’s what makes it inspiring -- you don’t have to be from a certain industry or space to appreciate this site.
You’re probably checking Facebook for personal reasons on occasion (okay, quite frequently), so why not look for inspiration there? Check out what other companies are posting on their Pages or what your friends are up to on their Profiles -- maybe you can tie that content to something you’re working on.
One line says it all: “Ideas worth spreading.” These talks come from remarkable, inspiring people and you can watch and listen to them for free. TED talks range widely in terms of category, so check out TED conversations or surf their blog.
Not only are the posts on Medium awesome, the creation behind it is cool: Twitter co-founder Evan Williams made Medium so people could share ideas and stories that were longer than 140 characters. The subject matter is vast, but expect nothing less than thought-provoking content.
Google Trends is a newsfeed of the hottest searches in Google at that moment. On first scan, the list of searches may seem to be exactly what you see -- just a list. But to find inspiration here, it’s about why this particular search is hot. Find the ties between the search and your topic and you’ve found a treasure chest of inspiration.
Where and how one gets inspired is different for every single person. It can depend on writing style, topic, and countless other ingredients in the recipe that is inspiration. But hopefully these 15 places above are helpful resources when you've drained your stockpile of usual tactics and you're ready to try something new for some content creation inspiration.
Where do you turn for inspiration when you're looking to create content? Let us know in the comments!
Originally published Oct 21, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017