When you work in a creative content role, chances are a large portion of your work week will consist of brainstorming sessions. And, if you fit into the typical personality traits of a content creator, these brainstorms are likely one of the most fun parts of your day. Some crazy ideas come out when you’re spitballing with coworkers and it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll get off on a few fun tangents.
However, when the creative juices aren’t flowing like usual, these sessions can quickly revert to the most dreaded part of the day.
Let’s face it: some topics are just more dry than others and no matter how good you are at your job, everyone has those days when they’re feeling a little less innovative than usual. These are the brainstorm sessions where you often hear a lot of “um…” and “hm…” while everyone sits around racking their brains for fresh ideas.
Fortunately, when you feel as if you’ve hit a wall, there are many great tools to rescue you in your time of need. These resources should be used not only during the brainstorm but also on a regular basis to keep the creativity flowing.
Check out my personal favorites below and you’ll fall back in love with brainstorms in no time.
If you aren’t already a redditor, you should be. It’s that simple. The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” is teeming with ideas that can be converted into a piece of creative content.
Some of the best subreddits to keep your eyes on include r/dataisbeautiful, r/funny, and r/internetisbeautiful. Search for any topic you’re brainstorming, and you’ll quickly see what real people are actually interested in and talking about.
Although it isn’t a free tool, BuzzSumo gives you the most bang for your buck. For the creative conceptualization phase, specifically, there are several ways to use BuzzSumo.
The first and most simple way to use it is to check the “Trending Now” section to uncover what is receiving the most shares across the internet. You can separate it by topic or simply use the trending now section to keep an eye on what people are talking about.
Another way BuzzSumo can assist in the brainstorming process is by checking what content your competitors have had success with. The “Content Analysis” section allows you to search any domain to see their most successful content. Or, you can do a more general topic or keyword search to uncover the same details.
Use the Trend Feed to find trending content in various categories ranging from fashion to Aerospace, conduct a search of trending content based on keywords, and save trends to review later. TrendSpottr even gives the content a “trending level” ranking. You can also set up alerts to stay ahead of the curve and know when a topic is starting to get a lot of buzz.
4. Google Trends
If you want to get lost down the rabbit hole, Google Trends is the place to go. You can spend hours checking spikes in search patterns, reviewing trending content, and investigating the top charts. In addition to simply finding what the trends are online, you can create entire campaigns based off of the data you’ll find in Google Trends. Notice a funny correlation in search spikes and current events? Create a campaign based on that data. Or, simply show which terms each state is searching for in a given time period.
The options are limitless, and I’m confident your creative mindset can come up with a few content ideas while perusing Google Trends.
While there are other social platforms that are helpful in generating content ideas (Pinterest and Facebook shouldn’t be overlooked), Twitter is probably the easiest social tool to get you on the right track in your brainstorm. Check out the trending hashtags, what is receiving the most likes in Moments, or search for a relevant hashtag to see what content has been popular with Twitter users in the past.
With all of the resources available to content marketers, there’s no need to stress over the ideation process. Become a regular user of the tools above, and you’ll lose the “hate” part of your love-hate relationship with brainstorming.