Even if you love writing there will always be times when inspiration escapes you. But sometimes you just can’t afford to be stuck for words, especially when you work in PR. Whether you’re writing a proposal, need to be meet a tight deadline for a piece of lead generation content or are simply trying to avoid falling foul of your company’s autocratic blogging schedule, there are times when we all need a bit of help to get our creative juices flowing.
Today, I found myself in exactly this position — and turned to Google hoping to find some tips that would ignite a spark of inspiration. According to several websites many people have their greatest ideas when exercising, showering or walking in nature. I’m sorry, what? Who are these people?
While exercising I’m generally too busy trying not to DIE to worry about writing inspiration! And in the shower ‘while letting the water run over you’ — they know that’s not washing, right? I’m far too busy juggling multiple bottles of shampoo and shower gel while simultaneously perching perilously on one leg trying not to cut my other leg with a razor.
So if like me, you need slightly more tangible tips to inspire you and ensure your content is useful and engaging here are three tools that might help.
1. Answer the public: This cool looking site gives you powerful insights into what people are typing into search engines by aggregating auto-suggest results — arguably one of the best but most underused sources of research for content ideas. Type in a keyword and answer the public quickly crunches the data to generate a visually pleasing and simple to read one pager.
2. Google Trends: If you’re struggling to write content that resonates with your audience, adding a topical news hook could help. Google Trends lets you see what people are talking about by showing you the topics that are trending online. You can search for a particular keyword or term, or simply choose a category that’s interesting to you. It also lets you track what’s trending in a particular region or during a particular time period.
3. BloomBerry: Similar to Answer the public, BloomBerry takes it one step further by going beyond the search engine and revealing the topics that people are already talking about on blogs, forums and social media platforms. For example, the term “PR” generated more than 55 thousand questions in 377 topics. These results can then be sorted using a number of filters. Clicking on a particular topic will also let you find out more about it by taking you straight to the website where that topic is being discussed.
Working in PR, we understand that good content, in its purest form, will resonate with your audience, add value and cut through the noise. It’s important to get it right. It doesn’t matter what shiny PR tactics you deploy, if your content is shit it’s a waste of time. In an industry deeply obsessed with proving its value through measurement, perhaps we should stop wandering through nature or hoping inspiration will strike while we’re on the treadmill. Instead we should start using technology to give us insights into what people really want to read.
And so, she finished her blog, and once again avoided the wall of shame, much to the disappointment of her colleagues.