Article by Bailey Drury
This one is for all the content creators out there.
Have you ever been on a tight deadline to design an ad creative for a client or whip up the perfect Instagram post, but can’t quite find that creative touch that is going to generate hundreds of likes and drive engagement and sales through the roof?
That was me just a few years ago when I started at PRESS. I suddenly had my hands on several different accounts that required me to define audiences and brainstorm content ideas from a variety of perspectives. Media pitches, Instagram posts, company newsletters, check presenters… you name it.
Hailing from a sports background, I absolutely thrived in the fast-paced work environment of PR and marketing. However, I hadn’t truly tapped into my creative side since college and would occasionally find myself staying late at the office feeling stuck on a direction to take for an ad design.
Over the past few years of binge listening marketing and lifestyle podcasts, soaking in all the advice from my PRESS family and learning from my own experiences of trial-and-error, I have finally found what I like to call my “creative groove”. What has changed? Just a few, simple habits that I have incorporated into my daily routine and I’m here to share them all with YOU.
Each morning within an hour of waking up, I write down five things I am grateful for. This could range from seeing growth opportunities in my mistakes from the day before to being thankful for the green tea and egg whites in front of me. Sounds so simple, right? Because it is.
Science has shown that both creativity and idea generation increase with a more positive mood. Practicing gratitude in the morning can help you start your day with a healthy mindset, force you to pay closer attention to all the good around you and act as a constant reminder to tune into positivity.
GET YOUR HEART RATE UP
Some of my most unique ideas in the past have come to me while I was running without my headphones on Bayshore and this is not by accident. A recent study conducted earlier this year showed that “individuals with a higher amount of regular exercise achieve higher originality probably via the engagement in more spontaneous modes of thinking.”
“Individuals with a higher amount of regular exercise achieve higher originality…”National Library of Medicine (NLM)
So the next time you feel stuck on an idea, try taking a quick five-minute walk or doing a couple burpees beside your chair and then revisit the task at hand.
FIND YOUR CREATIVE SPACE
I’m talking both space and time. Are you most creative in the morning or night? Sitting at your desk in silence or inspired by the hustle and bustle at your local coffee shop?
When I launched my first menu design last month, my intern and I found ourselves with our heels off, on the floor of my office. All of Ceviche’s menu proofs were laid out around us so we could make any final edits and ensure design patterns, spacing and formatting were consistent across the board.
Find the space that inspires you and work within those parameters. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
CREATE BEFORE YOU CONSUME
I literally want to yell this from the top of a mountain (or the top of a boat since we live in Tampa) because I cannot emphasize this enough. If you spend three hours of your morning scrolling on Instagram, when you finally sit down to create your own content, you could find yourself not only overwhelmed and playing the comparison game, but also having a hard time finding your authentic voice. Ever heard the phrase, you are the media you eat?
In a world where content is readily accessible at the touch of a button, content creators need to implement the ⅓ rule. For every hour you are spending consuming content, you should spend three hours producing and sharing your own.
“The riskiest thing you can do is make average stuff for the average person and pitch it to the masses.”– Seth Godin
As entrepreneur and best-selling author Seth Godin would say, “the riskiest thing you can do is make average stuff for the average person and pitch it to the masses.” Your audiences can read when you aren’t being authentic and you don’t want that to come through in you or your client’s work.
Batch creating involves producing a bunch of similar content all at once. When you have found your creative groove, tune into that mindset and keep the content rolling. Write those next three blog posts. Design your graphics for the next two weeks. By focusing on the one task at hand, you will be able to increase your efficiency and streamline content, rather than hopping back and forth between responsibilities. It is all about working smarter, not harder.
KEEP A THOUGHT JOURNAL
Hear something inspiring? Have an ingenious idea? Write it down. You should see the notes section on my phone or the pink post-it notes that cover my desk. They are chock-full of content creation ideas for the present and future that pop into my head throughout the day. You don’t want to look back and think, “What was that great idea again?”
KEEP UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST TRENDS
Creativity is a brand necessity. Due to ever-evolving social media platforms, content creators have more pressure than ever to stay on top of the latest trends. By signing up for daily, weekly or monthly newsletters in your industry, you can accomplish this with ease.
My recent favorite is Later’s weekly newsletter. They focus on Instagram’s latest marketing trends which is a blessing considering Instagram has been releasing quite a few new features. My recent favorite… the gifs in the “create” mode of Instagram stories.
With over 100 million photos uploaded every day to Instagram, keeping your feed fresh is a definite way to stay ahead of the pack.
BOUNCE IDEAS OFF FRIENDS OR COWORKERS
Teamwork makes the dream work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help flushing out an idea. There is nothing I love more than a good brain dump with my PRESS girls. Sometimes, having a fresh perspective on your idea can help you see your design in an entirely new light.