Before JK Rowling’s first fiction novel ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ was published, she lived on welfare and struggled through her difficult life. She thought of her £600+ million idea in 2007 on a delayed train from Manchester to London. Today she’s United Kingdom’s best-selling author. Inspiration, just like happiness, can be found in the darkest of places – if one only remembers to turn on the light.
Creating quality content is easy if you know where to look for inspiration. A great storyteller is one who can attract people’s attention by surprise. Content producers are also storytellers who work to trigger people’s responses to get the desired results. These results may be an increase in viewership, large number of peer-to-peer sharing of articles, subscriptions to the service, blog or a boost in sales.
Brands relying on inbound marketing to save over $14 dollars for every new customer acquired. And a winning inbound marketing strategy depends on great content. 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing.
Those who have experienced the writer’s block know how hard it gets to overcome it. Those who face a technical error while designing know how frustrating it is to start over. Its at times like these when all a content producer needs is a spark of inspiration to gain immediate control and tap into their creativity.
Here are some places to help you find little nuggets of inspiration to make work much easier and fulfilling;
Pinterest is the world’s most favorite cataloging website. It climbed the third place on most popular social sites in the US just a year after its launch. Both the website and the app version are wonderfully customized for a great experience, and the interface is just beautiful to look at.
Whenever you feel short on new ideas or inspiration, just go to Pinterest and type your keyword in the search bar. Content on Pinterest is pinned by users from around the world who share the same interests. You can find interesting ways to market your content, give a unique perspective to your artwork, or try a new editing tip by following a great pin.
This one may seem obvious, because it is BuzzFeed after all! Any inbound marketer would know that BuzzFeed has devised a unique way of creating and sharing content. It is not just inspirational – but also piques your curiosity. If you aren’t already paying attention to BuzzFeed’s strategy, you may miss out on the current trends in digital media.
Content producers can learn a thing or two from the tricks that BuzzFeed keeps churning up. The newest addition is BuzzFeed quizzes, which combine creativity, psychology and a bit of code to present brilliant visuals that are shared everywhere on the internet. Their content is loved by the average user so you can apply the same strategy to your content production as well.
StumbleUpon is a service that lets you choose topics that interest you, and then receive updates in those fields. StumbleUpon will then notify you with a wide array of news and articles shared about the topics of your choice.
It is a great place to find some quick inspiration from, with a dose of the latest and the hottest. Each time you click the ‘stumble’ button, you will be transported to a new site that matches your interests!
Reddit is a very popular networking website. Here, the active user base will make sure that you get to see only the best of infographics. So head over to Reddit infographics page and find appealing content on a variety of topics. This is something you should bookmark right now, and use whenever you want to see some great infographics. It is not a traditional content creation page, but plenty of good stuff is uploaded here by users.
You can use this genuine information to cross-reference your work and also get some excellent ideas for visuals. Check out this infographic on how Americans commute to work.
Today’s content producer knows the importance of infographics. While Reddit provides you infographics, Easel.ly enables you to make your own. The options for editing are endless. There are custom templates that you can choose to insert your information and edit the infographic according to your need.
LinkedIn’s SlideShare is the best place to visit when you have to build, upload, and edit presentation decks. SlideShare also makes it very easy to share the decks on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, and emails.
Prezi has taken over the presentation-making world by its uniqueness. Gone are the days when people used to fret over MS PowerPoint animations. Prezi can make even an average presentation look very refined and vibrant. You can either browse their presentation templates or upload your own. The best part is that you can either use it for free, or go pro for $5-20 a month.
Having trouble making videos? Head over to Wideo where you can create videos in minutes. Of course, you need to insert footage in there, but Wideo will take care of the rest. Wideo creates professional looking videos that you can share on your website, blog or social media.
The best part about using Wideo is that they have professional video makers onboard in case you need someone to make your video. This service is available for both the free and paid versions.
Need to insert quizzes on your site, but don’t know how? PlayBuzz will help you out. It is a digital publishing platform to help you make and embed quizzes directly on your website. You need to have ideas that trigger responses from people, and then make creative quizzes out of them. PlayBuzz is said to be BuzzFeed’s biggest (quizzing!) competitor so feel free to check out the difference yourself. PlayBuzz allows you to share your content on every social networking platform. The service is free of charge.
Audio & Music
Smartphones and tablets have given a new life to podcasts. Almost 600 million people in the US alone listen to podcasts. The audience has grown 23% between 2015 and 2016. So in case you haven’t already thought about adding podcasts to your work, now it the best time to do so.
For this purpose, use Audacity which is an open source audio network. It will help you record audio, convert tapes, and add your own audio effects to a CD or tape audio.
Stuck on an idea and unable to pull it off? Need some music to lighten up the mood? Use Gnoosic to make the ideal playlist. It is like a virtual friend who has command over great music. Enter three artists that you like, and Gnoosic will suggest you similar musicians you should listen to. The website can also find you great new artists to listen to. The whole experience will help improve your concentration and motivation to get back on track. Here’s how music can improve your productivity.
A creative person knows the importance of vectors in digital content. Vectors make everything look beautiful. If you’re a beginner or stuck in between making your own vector, Vecteezy can help you out. It is a site where you can find free vector art and edit it to fit your creative needs.
Freepik is another site that you should bookmark right now. It is full of vectors and art that you can edit and share on various platforms on the internet. You can also download the vectors and edit them. The downloads are in a zip file and also contain the finished product, if you edit via the site.
There is an editing program that is not as basic as MS Paint and not as tough as Photoshop – it’s called Pixlr. The best thing? It is an in-browser editing app that can help you edit things quickly using only your browser.
PlaceIt is just the thing you need to find immediate inspiration. You and your team must have wondered how the visual you just created would look on a billboard or on a gallery – PlaceIt is the solution to that problem.
The website allows you to upload your image to real-life scenarios to help you understand how it will look and feel, and whether or not it will have the kind of impact you want.
Editing can be done on the website and the dimensions can be altered to fit a phone screen, a tablet screen or a smart watch.
Writers often feel like they are just writing garbage to fill long paragraphs for word count. If you are a writer who feels this way, enter your text into the BlaBlaMeter to know exactly how much garbage is in your text. They call it ‘How much Bullshit is in your text’, so you can adjust your levels of writing and behave like a good writer again.
Even the greatest of writers feel like they need someone to read their text before they send it forward. Hemingway App is that someone. It identifies sentences that are harder to read, synonyms for words, instances for passive voice and adverbs that can be replaced with verbs. You can feel better and more confident about your write-up after checking it through Hemingway App.
Evernote and Skitch
Skitch is a free app by Evernote that lets you deal with visuals the way you like. It helps you mark images, digital assets, PDF files, and other files by using arrows, callout boxes, text and more. You can also use Skitch to screen grab any page on your phone or tablet and then edit the page on the app. It is free to use, but it needs an Evernote account to function.
Evernote is possibly the best answer to your needs in writing and note-taking. You can take notes in audio, video and text. Skitch can comply in editing the visuals. You can manage all the text you have to build in Evernote and then publish it on any platform.
If you want to insert a new and cool font on your website, blogpost, presentation or ebook, head over to Google Fonts. Not everybody knows this but Google has a directory of over 600 fonts, ready for you to download and use.
The procedure is simple: Find and select the font from the directory, click ‘use’ to get an HTML code that you have to copy, then paste it on your site. You can also download the font file to your computer and use it when making new content by clicking ‘add to collection’. Hubspot can guide you step-by-step on how to insert a Google font.
While tools make it easier to work and create great content, you should not forget some offline activities that can help inspiration find its way home. A creative person should consult with their inner self by meditating for at least a couple of minutes daily. Meditation strengthens concentration. When you feel like you have a creativity block, get up and take a stroll, have a small snack and listen to soothing music.
Seth Godin believes that you should always be ready to grab an opportunity and inspiration will find it’s way to you:
The things that change our lives (and the lives of others) are rarely the long-scheduled events, the much-practiced speeches or the annual gala. No, it’s almost certain that the next chance you have to leap will come out of nowhere in particular, and you’ll discover it because you’re ready for it. Someone to inspire, to connect with, to lead. A system to transform. An idea to share. Responsibility is often just lying around, waiting for someone to take it. Go.
Like all good things, it will not happen overnight, but it will happen. Tell your unique story and help people in unique ways. Uniqueness is more attractive than imitation. Digital marketers are succeeding with the help of unique stories that resonate with people, so don’t feel a tad bit shy on being yourself. At the end, here are 51 important quotes from some of the most creative people, on staying relevant.